The plan by Tanzania to stop married men from preying on unsuspecting single women has elicited approval and criticism in equal measure.
The development comes hot on the heels of another plan by a Kenyan MP to compel men to declare all their children in and out of wedlock.
The neighbouring country is considering publishing the names of all married men on a website to be run by a state agency. Some Kenyans praised the move as the way to go in barring men from making promises they don’t intend to fulfil.
For others on social media, however, it is a non-issue. They questioned how one would be able to prove that a man promised to marry a woman.
“There are better things to pursue like infrastructure, security, agriculture and trade. For relationships, there are professionals who should be called in when they are needed,” one Hussein Ali said.
Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Paul Makonda said such a course of action will stop deceitful married men from sexually preying on unsuspecting single women.
He expressed confidence the action will save many young women from heartbreaks and humiliations.
“Many women have been deceived by married men. The men have been promising to marry them, then later ditch them. This is something that is humiliating,” Makonda said.
“If you look at the laws that we have in the country, there is a clause that protects women who were promised marriages, only to be used and dumped. We want to use that clause to bring sanity in relationships.”
Married men will have their information in a database, which can be accessed by women being promised marriages. All the marriages, including Christian, customary, Muslim, and those filed at the registrar of marriages, will be registered.
In Kenya, Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo will be sponsoring an amendment to the Marriage Act so men can declare the number of all their biological children while alive.
Odhiambo observed that cases of women and children claiming recognition after a man’s demise were on the rise
“I am bringing an amendment to the Marriage Act to compel all men to publicly declare their children in and out of wedlock while alive and in case they don’t, the mothers should declare. Mourning with shocks and counter-shocks can cause another funeral,” the legislator said.
In the most recent prominent case, a Nairobi court stopped the burial or cremation of former Kibra MP Ken Okoth until a paternity case was heard and determined. She claimed to have a five-year-old son with Okoth.
Anne Thumbi, a nominated Nairobi MCA, demanded recognition by Okoth’s family. She also wanted her son listed as one of the deceased’s beneficiaries.
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Okoth was cremated after the court adopted a consent signed by Thumbi and his widow, Monica. The pair agreed a DNA test be undertaken to confirm the paternity of Jayden Baraka, the alleged son.