Former Prime Minister and presidential contestant, Amama Mbabazi has observed that the practice of parents demanding for dowry in exchange for their daughters dehumanises women.
While meeting relatives of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa who had accompanied their son Andile to deliver a marriage proposal to Jacqueline Mbabazi’s niece on Saturday, Mr Mbabazi said the resources parents inject in raising children are so invaluable that they cannot be equated to animals.
“Even the so called giveaway ceremony is distorted. We are not giving away our daughter. She is still our own, so whatever you’re going to give us, we are giving it to the young family so that they can multiply it to raise their family,” Mr Mbabazi who raised Ms Bridget Birungi Rwakairu (bride to be) told the relatives.
It had been reported that Mr Ramaphosa was expected to pay 100 heads of cattle among other gifts, in a hyped dowry ceremony for his son Andile.
Mr Mbabazi further observed that as one of the framers of the constitution, they made sure that they include a clause which addresses gender inequality challenges and bride wealth is one of them.
He said bride wealth dehumanises women in addition to causing instability in families as it makes women appear like property.
“This is prehistoric form of injustice which we must address. We should instead be cementing the bond between the two families and growing the roots of the family trees. We are not giving away our daughter because she is still one of us,” he said.
His remarks came after Mr Charles Mbire, who was acting as the spokesperson of Ramaphosa’s delegation said they were ready to pay the bride wealth in exchange for Ms Rwakairu.
Mr Mbazi’s sentiments are shared by the current Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda who was also part of Rwakairu’s delegation. “We do not want to hear the word dowry or bride wealth in this meeting, because we are not selling our daughter.
You may find another word. Maybe gifts to thank us the parents for raising our daughter,” Dr Rugunda.
Mr Mbabazi’s family and the 12-man delegation from South Africa led by Ms Hope Ramaphosa, the mother to the groom agreed on five cows and five goats. The cows were given to Andile Ramaphosa and his wife to be.
The five Boer goats will be given to the aunties and uncles of Rwakairu as a token of appreciation for raising her up.
However, Rwakairu’s relatives fined Andile one goat as a form of atonement for fathering a child with their daughter out of wedlock. Dowry as it is known in most cultures is an indirect kind of barter trade where a man intending to marry a woman, gives them animals and other material possessions in exchange for her.
In some cultures, the woman becomes property of the man.
Today, some men convene meetings to borrow money towards this exercise. Many marriages start off in debt which has led to separation as men cannot sustain the marriages.
While his younger brother Tumelo has caught more of the headlines since their father took the hottest seat in South Africa, Andile has remained relatively quiet.
He studied at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and currently works as Blue Crane Capital’s managing director, having previously worked for the Standard Bank Group, according to africanews.com.
The 37-year-old was born to the late Shadrack Rwakairu of Kabale and Ms Peace Ruhindi. Mr Mbabazi took over the raising of Rwakairu after her father’s death in 1983.
She holds a post-graduate degree in Business Administration from Beijing University of Science and Technology. She also holds a BSc, Environmental Engineering from Beijing Jiatong University.
Andile and Rwakairu reportedly met in China during his varsity days and are set to tie the knot later this year.