Nairobi News


Infidelity, in-laws major causes of divorce in Kenya

By NJOKI CHEGE February 10th, 2018 2 min read

Unfaithfulness, interference by in-laws and poverty are the major causes of divorce in Kenya, according to a study by a private university.

The study by Daystar University also revealed majority of divorced couples seek to go their separate ways before their 10th wedding anniversary.

The survey sampled 1,200 Kenyans spread across the different marital status, including those who are married, divorced and separated. It focussed on 46 counties with the exception of Garissa.

“A key finding was that 42 per cent of divorced couples had divorced by their fifth anniversary, while 77 per cent had divorced by their 10 anniversary.

Only 23 per cent divorced after the tenth anniversary,” said one of the researchers, Prof Abraham Waithima.

The survey also established a ten per cent divorce rate across the country.

These statistics then serve to answer the question many have asking; at what point should we try to salvage a marriage? According to the numbers, the right time is early in the marital journey where divorce rates are highest.


Another critical reason why Kenyans get divorced, besides marital unfaithfulness — ranked at 97 per cent of the respondents — was interference by in-laws. Upon digging further, the researchers found that the specific person blamed for the broken marriage was the mother-in-law.

According to this study, Kenyan wives felt that their mothers-in-law were the greatest threat to the success of their marriages.

“When we asked who they blamed for the divorce, majority blamed “spouse”. This was followed closely by 40 per cent who blamed divorce on the mother-in-law,” says Prof Waithima. Respondents appeared to blame the mothers of their spouses rather than their own.

What was more interesting was that 90 per cent of those sampled said they had not gone through pre-marital counselling.

This is in agreement with what experts have been saying that one of the core reasons why marriages are likely to break down is that young couples are not adequately prepared for the marriage journey.

“If it was possible for the church and other institutions to organise pre-marital counselling, our research found that you could reduce divorce rates by 42 per cent,” said Prof Waithima.