No way will my tax shillings pay dowry!

  • PublishedJuly 29, 2011

I am miffed. I am in a rage. My hands are trembling and if I lay them on a certain man, I will make him think long and hard. I can imagine getting myself out of many tricky situations but extricating myself from the one a certain Coast MP is suggesting may be difficult because I would have lost a very important part of what makes me a man.

The situation I cannot imagine myself getting out of is what I consider the ultimate insult to manhood; a suggestion by the MP that the government uses funds from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to pay dowry for ‘disadvantaged’ youth.

Perhaps with his eye being on the next polls, the MP, Ramadhan Seif Kajembe of Changamwe, seems to think that our tax money should be used to buy brides for idle youth in his constituency. You and I submit to taxation – whenever we have employment or generate income from business that is – and have no way of ensuring that our money is used well and effectively to develop schools, hospitals and roads, although it is through these that our posterity can be assured of catching up with South Korea, which we were way ahead of when Jomo the Lion reigned three decades ago.

The MP also thinks that due to the high prices of food, some married folk are not doing to each other what they should and the way they should because they are spending too much time thinking about the cost of living. But that is where he probably removes his thinking cap and adorns his politician’s hat. You see, in Kenya, politicians have verbiage licence, the equivalent of that held by people like Yours Truly who live by the pen – the poetic licence. The only difference is that while Yours Truly may be held accountable for his writings, the species to which Kajembe belongs does not have to be responsible for their utterances, unless they upset one Mzalendo Kibunja.

That is why Kajembe went on an utterance spree last month and declared that he planned to move a motion in parliament to allow CDF managers allocate a portion of the funds meant for development projects to youths who want to pay for brides. That means that to Kajembe, this is a priority development and is sure to keep the people of Changamwe and other constituencies well fed and happy. It also means that he does not have any development projects to finance with that money.

I am only sure of one thing though; if such a move passes, Kajembe would win votes from all the lads admiring beautiful lasses from afar. What I am not sure of is if the lads and lasses consequently coupled would have anything on their tables to give their broods, which they would inevitably have as they would be excited and eager to procreate.

Where I come from, no man paid a fellow man’s dowry unless it was his son’s. Even where a father paid his son’s dowry, the son would still be required to prove his mettle later in life, as he would be required to pay dowry for a second bride, or for his sons. That dowry is what he would have won from his forays into the neighbouring tribe’s kraals. Today there are other means to prove our mettle. We study hard, work hard and earn hard to be able to provide our bride-wealth or dowry, whichever suits you.

Legislation is not enough to solve our problems. Leaders and government must move beyond words to action; to provide the people with the sort of empowerment that will improve their lot, not to continue to subject them to manipulation by the political elite, which Kajembe’s declaration, although empty, by all means, is.


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