Is there a way to stop my husband legally getting a second wife?

Dear Harold,

We dated for three years before mutually agreeing to get married under the Kamba customary law. However, that decision has now started haunting me as my husband has lately been hinting at marrying a second wife. Besides upsetting the lives of the children, we have invested in building our matrimonial home and some rental houses in Machakos town. I don’t want to lose my property. Can I effectively stop him from legally marrying another wife?

Ndunge, Kitui

 Dear Ndunge,                                                         

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Your husband can legally marry a second wife without seeking your permission unless your marriage is converted from a potentially polygamous to a monogamous marriage. According to Section 8 of the new Marriage Act, a marriage may be converted from being a potentially polygamous marriage to a monogamous marriage if each spouse voluntarily declares their intent to convert. A polygamous marriage may not be converted to a monogamous marriage unless at the time of the conversion the husband has only one wife. A declaration to convert must be made in the presence of a marriage officer, written and signed in person by each spouse. The marriage officer shall then transmit a copy of the declaration to the registrar before he/she takes the original certificate that registered the potentially polygamous marriage and issues another after registering the marriage as monogamous.

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