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Generous man lands a 'bonus' wife

By | October 25th 2010

By Joseph Ondiek

A man in Kogelo village, Migori County recently got more than he bargained for when he went to pay bride price and was awarded a bonus wife by his in-laws.

The Awendo farmer had received an unusually large payment for his sugarcane and planned to put up a permanent house and settle the outstanding dowry.

His wife had been limiting his conjugal rights for failing to pay bride price even though they had cohabited for long. On receiving the cheque, he dispatched her to her parents’ home to prepare for his visit.

For four days the man and elders in his village planned how to make an impression during the visit.

Meanwhile, all preparations were complete at his wife’s home. Since he planned to visit with only a couple of elders, only three chickens were slaughtered.

However, the first indication that this wasn’t going to be an ordinary occasion was when three immaculately dressed men arrived driving ten cows ahead of them. A woman announced that the visitors had arrived but it turned out that these were just the vanguard sent ahead to bring the cows.

The excitement reached fever pitch in the evening when three sleek cars the man had hired swept into the compound. The whole village, it seemed, gathered to marvel at the proceedings.

Some were heard whispering that the local MP had blessed the homestead with a visit.

The visitors were ushered into a hut where refreshments were served. Outside, villagers whistled in amazement at the sight of the shiny cars parked outside grass-thatched, mud-walled huts.


The dilemma was how to feed the large number of villagers that had gate-crashed into the homestead since only a modest ceremony had been budgeted for. The woman’s uncle came to the rescue by offering a goat to be slaughtered.

The dowry negotiation did not provide the anticipated drama for there was virtually no negotiation.

When the man was told that, apart from the ten ‘miserable’ cows he had brought, he still had a balance of Sh50,000, he fished out from his pocket an envelope containing Sh80,000 that he handed over to his hypnotised mother-in-law.

Other demands such as money for aunts, uncles, siblings, children and cooks were met without the usual haggling associated with such occasions.

Man of honour

As the night wore on, the host party requested for time to consult. When they returned, their chief negotiator, a grizzled old man, informed the visiting delegation that he had something to say.

He first thanked the visitors for the honour they had bestowed on the homestead. Facing the man, he said that since he had proved to be a man of honour, they were willing to give him his wife’s younger sister since it was not an assault on custom to “eat the wings and the legs (of a chicken) from the same pot”.

The mother-in-law begged him to accept the offer, explaining that the girl had dropped out of school in Form Three due to lack of fees. It would be good if he helped his ‘new wife’ finish her education by paying her school fees, she added.

The girl was brought and it turned out that she was the spitting image of her elder sister. The man’s delegation went out to consult and when they came back, he informed the hosts that he would take the offer.

The wife did not object and the man has since started building another house for his incidental wife.

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