CITY GIRL: I speak for the loathed Wife Number Two
Last week, we lost Senator Otieno Kajwang’ and as expected with any ‘great’ African man, such a man’s wake is never complete without a tinge of high drama.
It wasn’t any different for the Mapambano crusader whose second wife showed up to view her husband’s body only to pambana with the first one.
I am sure you know the story by now, but for the sake of those who have been living under a rock, I will re-tell the story. Her name is Faith. She is Kajwang’s second wife and as any widow would, she went to view her husband’s body.
The first wife and her crew would have none of it. Poor Faith was barred from viewing her late husband’s body and humiliated in public, in the full glare of media cameras.
Watching Faith being treated like a mongrel and an outcast disgusted me for several reasons. I mean, it was so wrong on so many levels; I am confused on where to begin.
Now, here’s the deal. Many times in this column, I have pointed out the painful, obvious truth. Men are and will always be polygamous.
Only two weeks ago, I pointed out the fact that we live in a skewed, lopsided world where a man is celebrated for having many women and women are condemned for desiring another man besides her husband. It is painful, but it is true.
My good male friend (married) told me a glaring truth the other day: “It is difficult for any man to survive his entire life with one woman.” He said ‘difficult’, not ‘impossible’.
TREAT HER WITH RESPECT
So imagine my shock when I saw how Mrs Kajwang’ the Second, was treated by Mrs Kajwang’ the First, as if Mrs Kajwang’ the First did not know about Mrs Kajwang’ the Second.
I will not dwell on the two widows at this trying time in their lives, but I think first wives need to treat second wives with a little more respect than the scenario we saw play out the other day.
I can only imagine the sting that comes with realising that your husband has a number two. But acting like she doesn’t exist and treating the other woman with disrespect in public does not justify your pain.
By the way, acting like she doesn’t exist, ignoring her and barring her from burying that man she equally loved does not make her go away. It only makes you a coward who is not able to face certain challenges in life.
Ignoring the second wife or ‘that woman’ as you probably call her is like having a boil on your forehead and walking around town, acting like it is not there. It is foolish to treat her and her children disrespectfully, especially if she has been around for as long as 19 years.
After all, if anyone is to blame and answer the hard questions, it is that man who choose to have a second wife.
It is not like she dragged your husband out of your marital home, kicking and screaming, forcing him to marry her.
He went out of his way to have a second wife, for a reason you probably know but won’t admit just yet.
Let’s face it. Polygamy did not come fifty years ago. Neither did it come a hundred years ago. Polygamy has been around for as long as God has been God. (Can I hear an Amen!).
And just because you do not want to admit that your man is polygamous does not mean that polygamy will go away.
I can assure you that as sure as the sun rises from the East, the average married man will have a second woman out there that either you know of, don’t know of, or know of but won’t admit.
Polygamy was there before you were born, and will exist a hundred years after you die.
ACCEPT AND MOVE ON
Pastors and bishops are paying for their girlfriend’s abortions to cover-up scandals; married churchmen are paying rent for another woman elsewhere behind their wives’ backs while married legislators are being shamed on national media for failing to pay child support.
Polygamy, as painful, disgusting and betraying as it may sound, is a reality that we should accept, because it will be there for as long as the institution of marriage remains.
Call me misogynistic, disillusioned, naïve or a greenhorn, but feminism has nothing to do with covering the truth under the veil of ignorance. After all, feminism is about facing such issues head on. Tell that to those Kilimani activists.
I think people should leave second wives alone. They know what they got themselves into and let’s face it, some second wives are treated better than first wives.
Painful, but true. Sure enough, they had children with married men. You wonder why they are happy playing second fiddle and think they are cheap women who won’t look for their own men. But these second wives have been castigated for so long. Somebody has to speak out for them.
You can hate, dislike, loathe and abominate them all you want, but it won’t mean that they won’t continue to carry your husband’s babies and comfort them when you are away.
And yes, I am not married, probably will someday, and I will be an insecure first wife; or second wife. God knows. But that doesn’t stop me from saying things as they are.
Polygamy is the ugly sister who will always be part of our family. My advice, kubali yaishe (accept and move on)!