Defining polyamory in Kenya
For the past two months, I have been randomly asking my peers about their opinion on polyamory in Kenya. I mostly got blank stares and questioning glances. Only a tiny fraction had heard of, let alone knew polyamory.
A Google search of polyamory in Kenya reveals an interesting coincidence. There is Kenya Stevens . Kenya Stevens and her husband both practice polyamory.
Polyamory is a relationship with more than two consenting partners. Here, all people involved know each other and are cool with it. The most common form is a triad consisting of three parties. Commonly, it is an open relationship with defined lines.
It challenges the widely known and practised polygamy and polyandry. Knowledge and practise of these two is seen in various societies. In Kenya, polygamy is enshrined in religion and tradition. However, polyandry is unheard of in this strongly patriarchal corner.
Polyamory in Kenya: Law and Religion
In the eye of the Kenyan law, polyamory is a grey area. As a result, any poly-amorous unions are void. They are only held up by the agreement between the parties. In essence, polyamory in Kenya is a gentleman’s agreement. Unless it can be veiled within the legally recognized polygamy.
An advocate opined that its just a relationship among single people and should not be a problem, with consent. However, if there are married people involved, it is not recognized as a marriage under the Marriage Act. Secondly, it could be a ground for divorce.
Christianity, Islam and Traditionalism are the main forms of religion in Kenya. Therefore, their opinion on polyamory is very influential. They all frown upon non-monogamy unless it is polygamy. This is to the exception of modern day Christianity. Notably, majority of factions across these religions are conservative. It is therefore unsurprising that polyamory finds no friend in religion
The book of Genesis. Sarah, Abraham and Hagar. I believe this was polyamory 1O1. All of them knew about the arrangement to get a baby for the childless couple through the maid Hagar. My point? Polyamory as we define it today has existed throughout the history of mankind.
Religion and the law aside, relationships are fundamentally about consent. This must be the basis of any conversation on polyamory. Did adults agree? If so, respect for their choices is paramount.
ALSO READ: BLOOD DONOR DAY IN KENYA
Thoughts on the ground
A common prejudiced view of polyamory is that it is an avenue for sexual immorality. What a far fetched theory! Like any other forms of relationships, it transcends sexual and physical gratification. As a matter of fact, the dynamics of polyamory are similar to normal relationships. Lovers love. Lovers fight. Jealousy makes her routine visits. Lovers work through their issues. Same dynamics,just more people.
An overzealous critic of polyamory described it as an excuse to participate in group intimacy. Sanctioned cheating, he added. This seems like a very emotive issue.
It is evident that polyamory thrives in liberal spaces. Shattering the religious and patriarchal barriers that hold up polygamy, It calls for the freedom of any adult regardless of gender to have multiple consenting partners. This should ruffle some conservative feathers.
Personally, I have interacted with couples and individuals interested in polyamory. Some are experimenting while others know what they want. And no, they are not looking for an object or a third wheel (think the front wheel of a tuktuk). They are all about expanding their intimate space and keeping an open mind.
Heterosexuals, same sex couples and bisexual. Members of every sexual demographic space have an opinion on polyamory in Kenya. Some are open to embrace it. Others belong to the school of thought of serial monogamy. Visibly, everyone has a right to their own opinions and choice.
On polyamory, I am pro-choice and pro-consent.
Lukos Enigma Maximus out.