Kenyan wife told to pay back bride price

divorce

The estranged wife of a Kenyan schoolteacher has lost her bid to overturn a ruling that she must refund her bride price.

The latter is a sum of money or goods of an agreed value paid to the woman’s family on marriage in some societies. By contrast, dowries are paid to the family of the groom in certain areas.

Judges in the Court of Appeal of Kenya upheld an earlier ruling by the Kisii High Court in the southwest of the country. This had granted the teacher a divorce and ruled that the woman must pay back the funds, along with additional money he had given her to pay her teacher’s training college fees between 2002 and 2004. The total sum, with interest, amounts to 205,000 Kenyan shillings (£1,592).

Appeal Court Judges said the wife’s appeal had no merit.

The teacher, from Nyamira County close to Kisii, welcomed the ruling, saying:

“I am happy that there is justice for the oppressed.”

He is now determined to focus, he said, on regaining care of the couple’s two children,aged 11 and 13, the Daily Nation reports.

“She took our children and I would want to legally have them back because I know they are suffering.”

The couple separated in 2009 he explained, when she unexpectedly left the matrimonial home, taking the children with her.

The stance of the Kenyan courts contrasts with that in neighbouring Uganda where bride price refunds have been declared a breach of the country’s constitution.

Image by William Warby via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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