Polygamy In Eritrea: Men To Marry At Least Two Wives Or Face Jail

A document revealing government’s support for polygamy in Eritrea has surfaced. The document shows that the country’s government is asking men to marry at least two wives or face jail. The government cites profound lack of men brought about by casualties during the civil war with Ethiopia as the reason for this ground-breaking decision. 

According to the country’s government, the casualty figures climbed significantly after the civil war between the country and Ethiopia so there is need to make polygamy a mandatory practice in Eritrea. For the record, Eritrea lost over 150,000 Eritrean soldiers  to the secession war from Ethiopia between 1998 and 2000. At the time Eritrea had only about four million people.

However, some Activists took to social media to share the memo reportedly by the Government of Eritrea asking men to marry at least two wives since the number of men in it are no longer enough for the number of women in the country.  The memo, whose authenticity BuzzKenya could not independently, dishes a life sentence to anybody who fails to abide by it.

The scanned document, written in Arabic, promises of government support to the polygamous marriages.

The activists translate it thus,

Based on the law of God in polygamy, and given the circumstances in which the country is experiencing in terms of men shortage, the Eritrean department of Religious Affairs has decided on the following .

First that every man shall marry at least two women and the man who refuses to do so shall be subjected to life imprisonment with hard labour.

The woman who tries to prevent her husband from marrying another wife shall be punished to life imprisonment.




It isn’t clear why the statement was not written in the other two national languages, Tigrinya and Tigre.

According to Washington Post , the UN describes Eritrea as a country of “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations.” The country ranks at worst (189 out of 189) on the World Bank’s ease-of-doing-business index and is said to be among Africa’s most authoritarian societies.

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While many might find this horrific and oppressive, Kenyans saw it differently. There was a frenzy of excitement among Kenyan men when the news came. Some asked whether they could change their citizenship right away and take advantage of the new laws in the country.

A Kenyan Facebook User wrote

At this rate, I can see the Eritrea Government spreading new embassy outlets in Kakamega, Embu, Siaya and Busia counties to help hasten visa processing.

The other one said:

He is so so considerate of women! That’s good of him.

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