Burundi has come up with a crazy new directive that will compel all unmarried couples to get married. That is: all unmarried couples in Burundi now have less than two months to wed, failure to which they will face punishment that includes a 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 said:
“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.”
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. The Muslim community in the East African country are up in arms because their religion allows men to marry as many as four wives. Amisa Hakisimana said:
“It will be unfair if the law forces the man to register only one wife, what happens to the other wives?”
Other people have insisted that they cannot afford to marry as it is an expensive affair that entails paying a bride(bribe?) price and also organising a wedding ceremony. This is a dangerous path that the Burundian government has embarked on. Peoples’ bedrooms should not be policed by any government. They already control too much over our lives as is. But what do I know anyway?