Polygamy is another South Sudan National Social Problem

"Our Transitional Constitution is pathetically silence about polygamous practice, the very practice in which people abuse our daughters in the name of ‘our culture’".

By Isaiha Abraham

The Republic of South Sudan (RSS), like any other traditional African or Middle East country, is troubled by men going for more than one wife. We have people (men) in some parts of our country marrying up to 100 wives and this in a way is socially acceptable particularly at the rural settings. So long as the man could afford paying for bride price for his wives, everything is deemed normal. The practice is largely a norm among Nilotic tribes. The tragedy is that it has rolled up to urban centres or towns. 

As we begin a journey of picking up pieces of our lives in our land South Sudan, we got to start with facts about life, things we can do without and things we can’t throw away at any cost.

Cultures generally aren’t bad, as they are only the way we view our world around us or the way we do things. As they say, there is no bad culture or tradition. We are taught earlier in our elementary classes to respect what others value.

A taboo in one society is a celebratory one in another, it is said.  No one has any monopoly to lord one culture over another person. But not all traditions and cultures are acceptable to everybody.

The new world order however has become very critical or discriminatory to some traditions or cultures. They called them outdated and in reality there are traditions that are not any longer sustainable therefore unfashionable.

Polygamy is one that outdated practice we must run away from it if we want to develop quickly. Of course it has been there, our great fathers and our own fathers were there (polygamous), the practice has gone down to our generation and even our children are looking up for a barrage of ladies around them.

Few years in the sixties and seventies it was thought to be the territory of the rich and wealthy people, but that has fairly changed. Everyone think rich and would love to act rich. We have senior government officials going to churches with teenagers (say brides) for wedding leaving a fleet of others (wives) behind. People who are too old are still eyeing the age of their daughters for reasons not procreation. I don’t know whether their ‘batteries’ are still chargeable.

But the economic side of it all is too tricky, especially to urban dwellers. Take for example this situation of a government official earning 2,000 South Sudan Pound a month, he has four wives with a minimum of twelve children, how will the budget of this man going to look like? Assume further that he has two children in college and three in high school and the rest in primary school, what do you think this man will do to pay for school fees, their medications and the food or cloths? This polygamous will surely go for anything or short cut to be a ‘man’ in that house. Corruption thrive through such situations when a man is desperate to make a living for his demanding, hungry and naked family.

If on the other hand, we have another official who married one wife, has ‘planned’ his family well, to at least produce two or three children, the house of this man (man with one wife) will always have peace even if he earns 500 South Sudan Pounds a month. He is certainly not going to break a bank or forge receipts at the borders to bring food or cloths to his family. This man can even save a bit, something our people (particularly politicians) don’t bother doing these days, and when they are retired or fired they become very rude and miserable.

Polygamous society is a bitter one. A polygamous man comes to work carrying loads of issues from home. If he had picked a quarrel with one and two more join against him, he will come to the Office with a long face only to shout at other colleagues with a mere ‘sabah kheer’.  This society shall daily be on a foul mood, reactive and unproductive.

This is what is happening in Upper Nile when leaders take ladies like nothing. That Region will ever be a bitter or rebellious against every system. In anarchy, they are able to find loots and excuse for their families. You even find someone in Upper Nile who wants to become the President with more than one wife. What a joke!
Our Transitional Constitution is pathetically silence about polygamous practice, the very practice in which people abuse our daughters in the name of ‘our culture’.  Even if we are obliged to abide by our local practices or tradition, some of them are very destructive to our human development.

The practice isn’t anymore the practice in East and West Africa. If we want to join these people, we must begin to educate our children to stop polygamous living. Even in the rural areas, our fathers were careful to marry, settle their wives before making another move for others. 

Our ladies in this respect should help here. They got to be themselves and only themselves. They must learn to say no even to their parents on this practice of polygamy. It deprives them of everything even sex itself. A lady that enters into polygamous life will never be faithful there. Temptation after temptation, problems after problems until her kids gets older!

But in our situation the president shouldn't appoint ministers who are polygamous!

Isaiah Abraham lives in Juba.


Posted in: Opinions
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02/08/2011, 2:47 PM
 - Posted by Willi Nyirata
Great article but no mention of HIV/AIDS risk in multiple partner situation!
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