Feature Article of Friday, 18 May 2012
Columnist: The Citizen Newspaper
By Stanley Asangalisah
Grandma used to say “Blame no body, even when you find them blamable, for everybody has a backside that may not be so clean, and the more you stoop to see more of your neighbour’s backside, the more you open your own unclean backside!”
Polygamy is the practice of having multiple spouses at the same time. The situation whereby a woman has more than one husband at the same time is called polyandry. This practice is outmoded and, indeed, prohibited by law in most countries. But it is not completely non-existent, e.g. the Nair people in southwestern India.
The more common practice whereby a man is simultaneously married to multiple wives is, strictly, polygyny. This, which is the subject matter of the present article, is an accepted custom in nearly all tribes in Ghana, and, indeed, most other African countries.
The institution of marriage has customary, religious and legal dimensions. In Ghana, we have 3 different laws governing marriage. The Customary Marriage and Divorce Registration Law, 1985 (PNDCL 112) amended by PNDCL 263; the Marriage Ordinance, 1884 (Cap 127); and the Marriage of Mohammedan’s Ordinance, 1884 (Cap 129).
Under PNDCL 112, a man, in principle, can have as many wives as he can reasonably take care of them that will willingly marry him! But under the Marriage Ordinance, whether in church or in court, it’s strictly one man one wife!! And it is common knowledge that Islam allows up to a ceiling of 4 wives, and so does the Mohammedan’s Ordinance.
Different men have several wives for different reasons. And I bet the wives know the reasons better than the husbands! The back breaking drudgery of our indigenous agriculture often compels the hard working farmer to desire more helping hands on the farm in the form of more wives and children. And true to their natural instincts, women usually prefer the more successful farmers.
Some men marry more wives as a status symbol! And others may marry the second wife because they have been working hard for babies, or children of a particular sex, without much luck with the first wife. Yet others may marry more wives purely out of the desire to have variety. After all, “Variety is the spice of life” I guess they would argue.
Securing my Christian lenses in my pocket and putting on very heavy secular lenses, I can see these are all very good reasons. To be fair, we have to discuss the possible, expressed or subtle, reasons why women get involved in polygamy.
By nature’s design, woman is the weaker sex and so needs to come under the physical and material protection of man. Another fact of nature is that women are numerically more than men on earth! And if we were to go strictly by the one-man-one-woman formula, then there will always be very many women completely “manless” for life!
The numerical strength of women over men stems from two (2) facts of nature. Firstly, women tend to live longer because they get less involved in the riskiest things—war and fighting; mining; adventure; and sheer overindulgence, including excessive drinking, heavy smoking, and ‘billy-goatic’ womanizing!
The second and more sobering fact is that there is naturally a slightly higher chance of getting a baby girl than a baby boy! Scientists have stumbled upon the revelation that God designed the female chromosome (the X-chromosome) bearing spermatozoon slightly different from the Y-chromosome bearing spermatozoon.
The ‘girls-making’ sperms of a man bear 23 X-chromosomes, and are cute, slim and very swift. The ‘boys-making’ sperms carry 23 Y-chromosomes, have big heads, and are generally slower. So there is always a better chance of the ‘girls’ beating the ‘boys’ to the target—the mother’s ‘egg’ called the ovum, released from the ovaries and travelling gracefully down the fallopian tube into the womb—for a head-on collision that results in fertilization, implantation, and subsequent growth and development into a beautiful baby girl.
Girls or boys, children are a blessing from God. But in case you are contemplating going polygamous simply because you cannot get the boys or the girls you have been longing for, you may want to try the following as the last effort. When you are about to deposit your treasure, for an enhanced chance of getting a boy, dive deeper down to the full reach of your measure, but be careful not to over stretch the longitudinal volumetric elasticity of your woman, because cervix pounding can hurt pretty badly.
The farther in you place them, the better the chances of the boys making it to the target at the same time as the girls. Besides, the fluids secreted deeper down the reproductive canal are said to be friendlier to the ‘boy-sperms’ than those secreted closer to the surface, which tend to favour the girls more. So if you are looking to get a girl mine closer to the surface, that’s where you are most likely going to get those precious stones!
Remember that there’s no point in continuing to thrust after depositing your gametes where you planned to. Such action could be counterproductive as it might interfere unduly with the race to the uterus and beyond. There is also generally no point in straining to fire a second round today. You’re better-off keeping that ammunition locked up in your arsenals for another round of firing the next day or two!
Now that you know, don’t rush into marrying a second wife, because you have been getting only boys or only girls. Whether they are boys or girls is purely the man’s business, determined largely by the health quality, the timing, and positioning of the male reproductive cell gametes (the sperms). The woman’s contribution to procreation is sex neutral, so to speak.
With my heavy secular lenses still on, I want to go back to the headline question. Polygamy—who’s to blame? Who really has the power to stop polygamy? Is it the man who proposes to marry a second wife or the woman who accepts to become a second wife? “Man proposes, God Disposes” they say. In this matter, woman clearly plays God!
Two undisputable points are pertinent here. Firstly, the woman coming in as a second wife is usually fully aware that the man is already married, or, in any case, can easily find that out. Secondly, women are keenly aware that men have a soft spot for them, and usually will not hesitate to exploit that weakness.
When an attractive woman looks directly into the eye balls of a man, with those dancing little flames in her own eyes, and gives him a broad smile, the poor man starts to get into all kinds of trouble. At the purposeful smile of a beautiful woman, the brains of many a man will liquefy and flow like water, leaving him momentarily off balance and pleasantly confused.
And woe betides man if ever that horizontal smile eventfully metamorphoses and eventually develops into a vertical smile! At the opportunity and benefit of a vertical smile, the most powerful of men have panicked, fumbled, and approvingly nodded their way into a cataleptic trance.
Woman is weak and powerful, and they know how to use both with distinctive phonemic and movement dexterity! That’s how come frail young women have locked out the world’s finest security operatives, and ‘punished’ the big boss into ecstatic surrender in the most unthinkable places! Some of such happenings have been quite scandalous in both ancient and contemporary history.
Against the backdrop of the foregoing, please don’t waste your time, energy, and money trying to get men to stop polygyny. Rather, get women educated and convinced about the undesirable effects of the practice, for they are the engine—the driving force—behind the practice. Men are just but the inert body carrying the engine!
“Don’t mind the body, mind the engine” was a popular saying among lorry drivers while I was growing up in the rocky ‘city’ of Chuchuliga, between Navrongo and Sandema. So you can see that I am talking about polygamy not as an outsider, but as a first-hand observer from very close range!
Woman holds the key to the nutritional and romantic wellbeing of man. The woman that knows how to play that key well rules her world. But the woman who knows not how to play the key goes around waging wars they cannot win. See, for all his strength, power and wealth, all that man desires really is good food, good sex, some respect, and a bit of love.
Source: The Citizen Newspaper ([email protected]) +233 27 731 4655