Friday, October 4, 2019 – The Meru Council of Elders popularly known as Njuri Ncheke are in the process of setting up a fixed pride price to be paid by Meru and Tharaka Nithi residents.
The elders say some parents have been fleecing young men marrying their daughters by exaggerating the pride price.
Some young men are finding it impossible to meet the parents’ demands and have called upon the Council of Elders to intervene.
Speaking after the meeting which was attended by Meru Governor, Kiraitu Murungi, Njuri Ncheke Secretary General, Josphat Murangiri, admitted that some greedy parents commercialized dowry payment and needed to be tamed.
“I got a case where a young man was asked to pay a million shillings for him to be allowed to wed.”
“Such huge prices are unfavorable to orphaned young men and those from poor families,” explained Murangiri.
The elders explained that traditionally, dowry was paid in form of one she-goat or a bundle of (khat), a drum of honey, a heifer, a bull, a ram and a blanket for the girl’s mother and a coat for the girl’s father.
The bridegroom was allowed to go ahead with the wedding once the ‘she goat’ or ‘a miraa bundle’ was settled and the rest could be paid in instalments after the couple settled.
“Our tradition demanded a blanket for the mother and a coat for the father.”
“Nowadays people are asking for suits, shoes and other expensive things which is against our customary laws,” said Murangiri.
The elder said such exaggerated bride prices scare young men from legally marrying.
The elders stated that they are in the process of converting the traditional dowry requirements to monetary standard value that should not be exceeded.
On his part, Governor Kiraitu Murungi welcomed the move saying that regulating bride price will stop greedy parents from fleecing young people who are financially unstable as they head into marriages.
The Kenyan DAILY POST