Kenyan marries off underage daughter to afford new wife

Government authorities have rescued a 13-year-old Kenyan girl whose father married her off so he could raise funds for his own second wife, the Star newspaper reported on Thursday.
In Kenya, parents receive a bride price when their daughter gets married. Traditionally, this is regarded as a way of compensating parents for the money they have invested in raising their child.
But poor families often marry off young girls – who are otherwise regarded as an economic burden – as a way of generating wealth.
The girl’s parents turned up at her boarding school in drought-stricken Turkana, demanding to take her away, according to the report.
“The father claimed that he had used the bride price to marry another wife and the girl must accept to stop learning and become a wife because he could not return the bride price,” Wilson Korombori, a local education officer, told the newspaper.
The payment is usually in the form of livestock, which is highly valued by pastoralist communities in Kenya’s arid northern lands.
Kenyan girls as young as 10 are often married to men five times their age, rights activist Stella Kanuri told the paper. In Kenya, the legal age of marriage is 18.

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