THE MINISTER For Internal Security, who is also the President of the Idealist Democratic Party (PDI), Fazil Harerimana has said that polygamy should be legalised in Rwanda
and that his party supports the move. This would mean amending the constitution and the law on marriage regimes to pave way for a man to legally marry more than one woman.Article 26 of the 2003 Rwandan constitution provides for one-man one-woman in marriage. It states; “Only monogamous marriages shall be recognised within the conditions and forms prescribed by law.” The above provision also cemented the law on marriage regimes of 1999 which stipulates that marriage is a union between a single man and a women with both having equal rights in marriage.
In an exclusive interview with The Chronicles on November 2, 2011, the president of PDI, formerly the Islamic Democratic Party said; “Our party proposed to parliamentarians to vote for a law legalising polygamy, but our idea was not supported. We believe however, that time will come when the law will be voted on Rwandans demand”.
According to Harerimana, “the world changes constantly and people accept an idea which had earlier been rejected through discussion”. Without supporting it, the example he gave to validate his party’s strategy to patiently wait for a time when their view would eventually be accepted is homosexual marriages which he said had been discussed in many [mainly European] countries and rejected but later accepted. Minister Harerimana’s view, which he shares with his party, is that “polygamy would be legalised one day as it was in ancient times where having only one woman was not dictated by law.” Islam, his religion also accepts polygamy.
Despite his optimism however, Harerimana’s quest for polygamy is likely to remain a wish in the largely Christian and overpopulated Rwanda in the age of gender equality. Other important issues raised by Hon Harerimana include rejecting the claim that RPF controls PDI and other parties made by some organisations as contempt of their parties. He also rejected claims made by a former US ambassador to Rwanda in a cable published by whistleblower website Wiki-leaks as uninformed and reading from the old history of Rwandan leadership.