Burundi orders all unmarried couples to wed in two months
All unmarried couples in Burundi now have less than two months to wed, failure to which they will face punishment that includes jail term.
This is in line with a controversial law signed by President Pierre Nkurunziza in May 2017 which is pegged on creating a “more moral Burundian society”.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Burundi’s Minister for Human Rights Martin Nivyabandi warned that couples who will not have married by the end of 2017 will be charged in court.
“After December punishment will be carried out towards those families who will not be legally married…If they don’t respect the law some of them will be taken to court and jailed,” said Nivyabandi.
In May 2017, President Nkurunziza launched a campaign “to moralise society” where he urged Burundians to show their love for each other and their country by getting married.
Since then, the government of Burundi has been pressuring unwed couples across the country to tie the knot.
The Burundian government insists that having a legal marriage protects women and their children, especially when it comes to issues of inheritance.
However, the muslim community in the East African country says the law infringes on their religious beliefs, customs and practices which allow men to marry as many as four wives.
“It will be unfair if the law forces the man to register only one wife, what happens to the other wives?” posed Amisa Hakisimana.
Others argue they cannot afford to marry as it is an expensive affair that entails paying a bribe price and organising a wedding ceremony.
Nonetheless, some couples in Burundi support the new law saying it is necessary to have a legally recognized marriage.
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