On a cold morning while Leah (not her real name) meditated through how long she would have to stay in her father’s house until her marriage date, an announcement was made of the arrival of her fiance in her home.
“You have to pay the remaining as quick as possible”, said the visitor to Leah.
Leah, 25, had already ceded 90,000.00 Rwf, an equivalent of $94.23 to secure her the slot of a wife in the life of her dream man.
“The total we had agreed was 200,000Rwf, ($210.53). I was supposed to pay in instalments. I paid 50,000 francs at first, I later added 40,000 francs to him”.
This was how much her wedding would cost according to her suitor and with the desire of being called a bride, it was worth the hustle hence requested for grace period but the reply from her “man” was not worth fot the ears.
“What you gave me is nothing”, he told her.
Leah, a resident of western Rwanda thought she was heading to the aile in just a few days when she bidded 200,000.00 for Simon (not his real name) but the price tag of her dream man was 500,000Rwf, exactly (210.53) in US dollars and any woman who could cede that amount was heading down the aile with him.
Her disappointment knew no limits when her bossom friend won the bid and “stole” the slot of a wife.
This is the striking truth of girls of marriage ages in western Rwanda close to the Democratic Republic of Congo in their quest to be married.
These agreements are common among young couples in the Rwanda.
Simon speaking to ZAMI Reports admited receiving the said amount of money from his expected bride Leah but says he is willing to refund.
“I admit I received the money, and I am willing to pay back as soon as possible because if I don’t pay back to Leah, I will forever live with a burden on my heart,”.
Some parents confirmed the practice but said it is a worrying trend.
“Look, your daughter comes and tells you, mum I need this amount of money to support me in my marriage, I have gotten a man. After a couple of months, she tells you the man went with another girl who paid huge sums”.
“The same thing will happen, and she will say I need more money to look for another man” a parent wo pleaded anonymity revealed.
Betty Mukashyaka, a resident of western Rwanda who has observed this trend revealed the increase in such incidents. She thinks sensitization is required to curb the situation.
“This trend violates cultural values; there isn’t love, leaders have to set measures as soon as they can”.
Jean, a mother has vowed not to support her twenty years old daughter though she keeps demanding for money to pay her suitor.
“If they think it is girls having money than boys, then let the girls build houses, the furniture and all other needed things for marriage. If it needs a vote let it be done than paying money and later see your daughter coming back home crying, I won’t pay a single coin,” Jean stressed.
An Nkungu sector civil rights activist Habyarimana Deogratias said, death is possible in such cases.
“In fact, though not in this sector, deaths are resulting from such cases. A boy decided to kill a girl rather than paying her money back, it happened.”
The Rwanda Civil Law stipulates for a legal marriage to take place, the groom must pay the dowry to the father-in-law and parents of the bride.
The newly wedded couple has to choose one from of the three marriage contracts including the community of property, the limited population of acquest or separation of property.