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Why Kenyan men go for the second wife

My Man

True story here. A youthful son once asked his father why he was going for a second wife, a move that will betray and in deed crash his mother after many years of marriage. The father calmly told the son, 'I will not answer you now, marry and then we will have this discussion'.

A few years after the son married, he didn't go back to the father for the discussion. In deed when we are younger as men, some of these things are beyond our ken. Personally, I was a card-carrying supporter of monogamy. I used to think it was sexual greed that drove men towards second wives, concubines and mistresses. But I know now it is less about his sexual greed and more about the attitude of the first woman.

Now that I'm older and on the verge of stealing someone's daughter, it is dawning on me why beer is so popular among married men. In fact, the first man who ever brewed beer was a frustrated husband. Few husbands know peace at home. That is why a bottle of strong whiskey is the only sensible gift you can give a man on his inauspicious wedding day.

Despite the proven pain, marriage like politics, is a necessary and indispensable evil of humanity. No matter what the pastor tells you or those rosy weddings on TV, marriage is less glamorous. I have come to conclude that the grander the wedding, the more miserable the marriage is likely to be (and often very short-lived).

I can now guess a few reasons why men always go for that second wife. While Kenyan women are notoriously opposed to polygamy, many are willing to take exception in the event the man is a politician, a rich drug baron, a famous musician or a scam of man with tattooed arms claiming to be an artist of God-knows-what. Little wonder that polygamy and serial monogamy are becoming popular with young men in their 30s and 40s. I have no figures to back this up but I know many men in dysfunctional marriages who have sired a child or two with their mistress or a secret wife. And increasingly gravitating towards the other woman as the first wife is fuming in court corridors.

It is simple, Kenyan women are probably the most tough-headed and brainwashed in the continent. In East Africa, they rank fifth in manners. Ask a Ugandan or a Tanzanian what they think of Kenyan women. Now ask a Kenyan man what he thinks of women in neighbouring countries especially Rwanda.

Our women are selfish, they want everything on their terms. While marriage is pegged on sacrifice and compromise, Kenyan women are pathologically allergic to these very idea that have sustained marriage from time immemorial.

She cannot forsake her job or Masters if asked by the man, so that she can take care of children as the man provides given no woman can provide for both the man and children. It is only naturally. Also Kenyan women have the habit of marrying the church, their job (and attendant promotions), their academic aspirations, chama and anything that permanently distracts them from their marriage. And very few Kenyan women nowadays can respect a man's hard work without nagging and belittling his efforts. To most Kenyan women, a man's best is never is never good enough.

Little wonder, we opt to look for the few remaining women who will respect, appreciate and value our efforts that the first wives take for granted. Men always value a woman who give them space, acknowledges their hustle and respects them. In the absence of these, they will find a replacement, even if temporarily, secretly or as it happens lately, permanently.


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