Njuri Ncheke elders to standardize bride price for all Meru girls
Njuri Ncheke elders have vowed to make laws that will standardize bride price to be paid by Meru and Tharaka Nithi residents.
This was agreed during a meeting with Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi in Meru on Wednesday.
The council of elders say parents have been exaggerating dowry prices making them too high for the young men marrying their daughters.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting with Murungi and Education County Executive Committee (CEC) member Linnet Nkirote, Njuri Ncheke Secretary General Josphat Murangiri lamented that parents have, out of greed, commercialized dowry payment.
Murangiri said that, traditionally, dowry was paid in form of one she-goat or a bundle of miraa (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.
However, the Njuri Ncheke official said bridegroom wedded the girl once the ‘she goat’ or ‘a miraa bundle’ was settled. The rest could be paid in instalments after the couple settled.
The Njuri Secretary General cited a case where a young man was asked to pay Sh1 million shillings as dowry.
“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 unfavourable to orphaned young men and those from poor families,” explained Murangiri.
The Njuri Ncheke elder added that parents have been asking for clothes such as expensive suits and shoes contrary to the Meru culture.
“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 said they will convert the traditional dowry requirements to monetary standard value that should not be exceeded.
Governor Murungi called on Njuri Ncheke to draft laws that will foresee uniform and balanced payment of bride price noting that huge bride price has been hindering young people in Meru from marrying.
The governor said some parents have been asking for outrageous bride prices, adding that regulating bride price will favour young people who are financially unstable as they head into marriages.