The Meru Council of Elders, Njuri Ncheke has announced their move to regulate the high dowry demand from in-laws.
They have expressed alarm at the high amounts of money being demanded from men seeking hand-in-marriage of Meru women, with the brideprice being set as high as Ksh 1 million.
Josephat Murangiri, the Njuri Ncheke Secretary General in charge of operations said that bride price should not be a barrier to marriages.
“Bride price should never be the basis to prevent young men and women from getting lifetime partners”, he said.
Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi, [Second Right] with Njuri Ncheke elders after the meeting on sexual and gender based violence.Photo, Standard Digital]
The elders have said that they will formulate a policy to return the lost sanctity of dowry payment among the Meru. They were speaking during a meeting to discuss the implementation of a county policy on Sexual and Gender based violence.
The policy will clearly stipulate what the traditional dowry rates translate to in modern terms. Mr Murangiri gave an example of the traditional dowry; cows.That when a girl’s family says that she is worth 10 cows, the council will stipulate how much one cow is worth instead of leaving it to the parties in the marriage.
This comes even with the National Crime Centre’ s ranking that Meru is one of the counties with the highest incidences of sexual and Gender based violence. The data indicates that seven in every 10 women in the region reported having experienced violence in the last 12 months.
Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi applauded the elders’ efforts. He said that the the sexual and gender-based violence statistics is “alarming.” He added that the high teenage pregnancies in some parts of Meru was wasting away many girls’ futures.