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Clerics eye affordable weddings

By Abdimalik Hajir | November 26th 2019 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Aden Duale has called on Imams to ensure wedding did not impoverish those involved. [File, Standard]

Religious leaders and elders have initiated a campaign to reduce the cost of wedding among communities in Garissa County. 

This is after it emerged that couples spent their savings on weddings and later struggled to take care of their families. In some cases, the new marriages have collapsed.

Already, religious leaders and elders in Masalani and Ifo’s Dadaab refugee camp have passed a resolution that will see the cost of wedding significantly brought down.

They have started meeting residents to convince them to abide by their resolutions.

One of the public barazas was held within Masalani Town with the rallying call being: “Make weddings affordable.”

A Somali wedding is a lavish affair with at least Sh100,000 bride price. The groom must also get expensive bedding and provide a fleet of vehicles for the bride and bridal team on the wedding day.

A “simple” wedding among Somalis costs between Sh500,000 and Sh1 million.

“High divorce rates here have been attributed to the cost of weddings. It has since been established that many couples struggle to survive after spending up to Sh1 million on a wedding. Quarrels erupt and in some cases, the marriage breaks,” said Salat Osman, a religious leader.

He added: “That is why we have resolved to bring down the bride price to Sh30,000. Grooms will also give four cows only as per our traditions. The number of vehicles used by the bride on the wedding day will also be reduced to just two.”

Sheikh Ahmed Maalim said they decided to step in after concerns over the cost of weddings. “We are not doing this in bad faith. It’s just that we have realised young people are avoiding weddings because of the expenses,” Sheikh Maalim said.

Aden Duale, who is Leader of Majority in the National Assembly, recently called on Imams to ensure wedding did not impoverish those involved.

Outrageous demands

He was concerned young men were meeting outrageous demands, including buying gold for their brides. “Youths are asking us to support them due to the new culture of expensive weddings.”

However, some residents have opposed the new campaign saying it is making women look cheap. 

Garissa Deputy County Secretary Abdirashid Mohamed said the religious leaders should have consulted other stakeholders, including local leaders, before making such resolutions. “Bride price is predetermined, by the bride, and not any other person. Also, what a groom buys for the bride is one’s choice.

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