Chief urges Govt to force cohabiting couples to marry
A concerned chief from Ngamiland, Kgosi Ebineng Potsoeng has called on the House of Chiefs to urge government to force cohabiting couples to marry.
In his deliberations at the ongoing House of Chiefs meeting this week, Potsoeneg argued that the current trend whereby only one in four Motswana woman was married while two in four lived in visiting cohabitation (small house) and another one fourth in stable cohabitation called for drastic intervention measures by government.
He was was responding to a presentation by Reanyalana Society, a non-profit making organisation that helps the less privileged with finances to get married.
Reanyalana Society based in Mochudi provides wedding rings and organises mass wedding ceremonies for those who can not afford.
“We all know that in our country, there are more men than women, so men want to enjoy sex with as many women as they can. So the one they impregnate should become their wife,” Potsoeng said
During his presentation, Reanyalana’s Secretary General, David Morwaagole had briefed the house about how many Batswana do not enjoy cohabitation but were forced by lack of money for rings and ceremonies to do so.
“Statistically we have sponsored 32 couples. On 29 September 2011, 11 marriages were solemnized at Bokaa Kgotla. On November 25th 2011, 17 were solemnized at Artesia Kgotla and four were solemnized at the District Commissioners office on December 12, 2011,” explained Morwaagole.
Plans for Reanyalana to roll out the wedding sponsorship to the rest of the country were in the pipeline,the House of Chiefs heard.
Meanwhile Government’s spokesperson, Dr Jeff Ramsay has said in an interview that although everyone is entitled to their own opinion, government will always respect the rule of law and principles of human rights.
“Although there are countries in the world that force people into customary marriages, Botswana’s constitution allows for freedom of association and therefore it would be a serious challenge for government to even consider the idea of forced marriages.” Ramsay explained.
Reanyalana Society is a non-profit making organization based in Mochudi village in the Kgatleng District.
The organisation’s main aim is to arrange marriages for the less privileged cohabiting couples by providing wedding rings and mass wedding ceremonies.
The Society has a working group of ten people and administratively it depends on the goodwill of the team who commits their personal resources to run the project.
The team functions by requesting for donations for ceremonies from local companies and so far Reanyalana has been sponsored by Mr Veg, Trade World, Sefalana Cash and Carry and Mondariz Mineral Water among others.
The organisation’s Chairperson, George Thwane says Reanyalana aims at fighting some social ills through arranged marriages.
“Unfortunate outcome of cohabitation is that women, especially those of lower income groups, often end up in a precarious situation when the spouse dies without a will. Issues of right to inheritance of property arise. Children lose when their surname does not correspond with that of the deceased. Some verdicts may deny children right to property. Cohabitation contributes immensely to the spread of HIV and AIDS,” Thwane explained in a brief interview on Tuesday afternoon.
He said the society has formed partnership with some government Ministries including that of Labour and Home affairs, Local Government and the Kgatleng District Council