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Acholi Leaders Revise Marriage Prices

In the revised requirements, one is tasked to pay 5 million Shillingsbas dowry, 6 head of cattle, 6 goats, 1 spear, chicken, 1 goat each for the mother and father-in-law, materials for the suit and gomesi for father and mother-in-law respectively and 100,000 each for tailoring, among other stipulated requirements.

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The Acholi cultural institution, Ker Kwaro Acholi, has revised requirements and prices in traditional marriages for its subjects.

 

In the revised requirements, one is tasked to pay 5 million as dowry, 6 heads of cattle, 6 goats, 1 spear, chicken, 1 goat each for the mother and father-in-law, materials for the suit and gomesi for father and mother-in-law and 100,000 each respectively for tailring.

  

Others requirements are washing and bathing soap, paraffin and a lamp, a saucepan and father-in-law`s chair among others. One is also given up to two years to complete the submission of the requirements before the marriage ceremony is done.

The items that have been scrapped are the "Obal Kwan" which is usually paid when the girl was engaged or eloped while still at school saying it was affecting the educational future of the victims; "Ocoyo toyo and oyenya" which is usually paid to the brothers of the girl who go looking for her at her marital home. These costs have been ranging from 1 million to 10 million shillings.

Rwot Collins Muttu Atiko II of Patiko clan says the changes which are now effective come when marriage in Acholi has been heavily commercialized and infiltrated by traditions from other tribes.

According to Atiko, currently dowry ranges from between to 10-15 million shillings and animals ranging from 15 and no upper limits, which he says has led to divorce in  many families in the region.   

He says that as a result of high marriage prices, most men have resorted to bearing children to (m)any women.

  

//Cue in: “Kodi lutino ma   

Cue out …. Winyo lok”//

 

He hopes that if followed, cases of domestic violence in the Acholi region will be curbed  and peaceful co-existence promoted.  

//Cue in: “Nyom en aye   

Cue out …. Pien nyom pe”//

Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo describes the current trend in marriage as modernized human trafficking. He says marriage which used to be an appreciation and a unifying factor for two families and clans has turned out to be a money-making venture which he says is degrading the cultural values of Acholi. 

  

//Cue in: “man dong kumbedi  

Cue out …. work to do”//.  

Solomon Oyat Oketta, the Prime Minister of Koch chiefdom says that for the new resolution to have impact, Acholi as a community must begin to respect the cultural institution. He says people must also learn that marriage is not selling or buying human beings but rather an appreciation for the persons who want to marry. 

  

But Susan Atim, a resident of Kal in Pabo Town council in Amuru district says that there is need for the cultural institution to popularize the resolution so that people know about it if it is to make any impact. 

Atim wonders if parents of especially girls would accept for the cultural institution to determine the marriage price for their daughter for them given the numerous challenges they went through bringing up the child. 

  

From 2019 to last year, Ker Kwaro Acholi moved across the sub region to consult with the subjects on their opinion about the high marriage prices before reaching the resolution to slice down the prices and requirements. The cultural institution is currently printing revised marriage booklet to be distributed to subjects for its effectiveness.

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