DRC: at least 2% of the population illegally practice polygamy

DRC: at least 2% of the population illegally practice polygamy  Polygamy is illegal in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, it is still practiced by 2% of the population. In the church of pastor Zagabe Chiruza, located in the city of Bukavu in the east of the country, polygamy is erected to the rank of indisputable truth.  In the neighboring province of South Kivu, the life of Chirhuza Zagabe, 60, pastor of " the primitive Church of the Lord ", one of the many churches and religious sects present in Congo, is very real.  In 2012, he married three women at the same time in his church. He later repudiated one for " bad behavior ", he said, but through other marriages Mr Zagabe still has four wives. The oldest is 48, the youngest 26. Three live with him under the same roof in Bukavu, the fourth in Bujumbura, Burundi, where some children study.  " I can still get married, the ideal is to have seven wives ", according to the pastor, also manager of the provincial branch of an oil company.  Traditional culture In total, he says he has 16 children and, every Sunday in the new premises of his church still under construction, in an isolated district of Bukavu , he explains the origins of polygamy, the merits of which he praises. A few dozen faithful drink in his words, the women on one side of the central aisle, the men on the other.  In the “ beginning ” were “ one male and many females ,” the preaching message assures. " Instead of living in adultery and debauchery ", explains the pastor, " God authorizes the man to have several wives ".  Asked in his parish of Saint-Claver de Nguba , in another district of the city, the Catholic priest Raymond Kongolo rectifies: " Polygamy is a human institution that goes back a long way in our traditional African and Congolese culture ", he specifies. . But “ it is not a divine institution ”.  It is not a legal institution either, underlines Joseph Yav, lawyer and professor of law in Lubumbashi (south-east). The Constitution and the family code are clear, he declares: " marriage in the DRC is monogamous ", polygamy is an offence. But, notes the jurist, " it is nevertheless present and practiced in Congolese traditions, notwithstanding the formal prohibition of the law ". Examples are not uncommon of Congolese boasting of having a "2nd office" known to all, including their "1st office" .  "Not possible" With his two wives and eight children, Kalungu Kalebe, 40, who attended Pastor Zagabe's sermon, does not consider himself outlawed but " blessed by God ". "I have to follow in the footsteps of David, Abraham and Solomon, who married multiple wives," he says.  " I'm ready to marry a man who has several wives, it doesn't bother me at all ", also says Nathanaëlle, 15, present in the audience.  Rakel, one of the pastor's wives, is happy to have "three children with him ", while considering the offspring of the other wives as her own children. Yaëlle also claims to live in harmony with her co-wives. But she finds that the neighbors who visited her when she was the only woman in the household have stopped coming. " They ran away from us ," she says.  " This story of polygamy is a deviation from our society, it's inconceivable! " Gets carried away by Nicolas Lubala, a 42-year-old Catholic, accusing the primitive Church, which has existed since 1983 and whose headquarters is in Kinshasa, of " contribute to the depravity of morals ".  According to the American research center Pew Research Center , approximately 2% of the world's population lives in polygamous households and it is in Africa that the practice is most widespread (11%). In the DRC, the proportion would be 2%.

Polygamy is illegal in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, it is still practiced by 2% of the population. In the church of pastor Zagabe Chiruza, located in the city of Bukavu in the east of the country, polygamy is erected to the rank of indisputable truth.

In the neighboring province of South Kivu, the life of Chirhuza Zagabe, 60, pastor of " the primitive Church of the Lord ", one of the many churches and religious sects present in Congo, is very real.

In 2012, he married three women at the same time in his church. He later repudiated one for " bad behavior ", he said, but through other marriages Mr Zagabe still has four wives. The oldest is 48, the youngest 26. Three live with him under the same roof in Bukavu, the fourth in Bujumbura, Burundi, where some children study.

" I can still get married, the ideal is to have seven wives ", according to the pastor, also manager of the provincial branch of an oil company.

Traditional culture
In total, he says he has 16 children and, every Sunday in the new premises of his church still under construction, in an isolated district of Bukavu , he explains the origins of polygamy, the merits of which he praises. A few dozen faithful drink in his words, the women on one side of the central aisle, the men on the other.

In the “ beginning ” were “ one male and many females ,” the preaching message assures. " Instead of living in adultery and debauchery ", explains the pastor, " God authorizes the man to have several wives ".

Asked in his parish of Saint-Claver de Nguba , in another district of the city, the Catholic priest Raymond Kongolo rectifies: " Polygamy is a human institution that goes back a long way in our traditional African and Congolese culture ", he specifies. . But “ it is not a divine institution ”.

It is not a legal institution either, underlines Joseph Yav, lawyer and professor of law in Lubumbashi (south-east). The Constitution and the family code are clear, he declares: " marriage in the DRC is monogamous ", polygamy is an offence. But, notes the jurist, " it is nevertheless present and practiced in Congolese traditions, notwithstanding the formal prohibition of the law ". Examples are not uncommon of Congolese boasting of having a "2nd office" known to all, including their "1st office" .

"Not possible"
With his two wives and eight children, Kalungu Kalebe, 40, who attended Pastor Zagabe's sermon, does not consider himself outlawed but " blessed by God ". "I have to follow in the footsteps of David, Abraham and Solomon, who married multiple wives," he says.

" I'm ready to marry a man who has several wives, it doesn't bother me at all ", also says Nathanaëlle, 15, present in the audience.

Rakel, one of the pastor's wives, is happy to have "three children with him ", while considering the offspring of the other wives as her own children. Yaëlle also claims to live in harmony with her co-wives. But she finds that the neighbors who visited her when she was the only woman in the household have stopped coming. " They ran away from us ," she says.

" This story of polygamy is a deviation from our society, it's inconceivable! " Gets carried away by Nicolas Lubala, a 42-year-old Catholic, accusing the primitive Church, which has existed since 1983 and whose headquarters is in Kinshasa, of " contribute to the depravity of morals ".

According to the American research center Pew Research Center , approximately 2% of the world's population lives in polygamous households and it is in Africa that the practice is most widespread (11%). In the DRC, the proportion would be 2%.
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