MARRIAGE as a MERGER rather than an ACQUISITION-A Kenyan Law perspective- Alphonce Odhiambo

The main difference between a merger and an acquisition is the intention. A merger involves negotiations between two independent and operational companies with the intention of creating a new company.

On the other hand, acquisitions involve no negotiations as one company buys and owns another company. While mergers are (A+B=C), acquisitions are (A+B=A).

In Kenya, the truth is that marriages are seen and treated as acquisitions. A man married a woman and owns her. That is why even where dowry is not needed, they are compelled to pay it. Dowry is only an ingredient required in customary marriage but even those who marry in Church still take dowry to the girls parents.

All those marriages are complete in themselves. After performing all the rites in a customary marriage, it is complete in itself. The same applies to Christian, Hindu, Islamic marriages and Civil marriages. Paying dowry after contracting a Christian marriage is unnecessary.

Marriage as a per the laws in Kenya is a merger not an acquisition.

  1. A marriage is a voluntary union between a man and a woman.
  2. Marriage is for person above 18 years who know their interests
  3. Section 3 of the Marriage Act states that parties to a marriage have equal rights and obligations at the time of marriage, during the marriage and at the time of dissolution of marriage.
  4. Should they be blessed with children, Article 53 of the Constitution states that they have equal parental responsibility for the child.

So, according to the law, a marriage is a merger not an acquisition. It’s a merger of the interests and intentions of a woman who is whole and independent with a man who is also whole and independent. I think most marriages fail because they were acquisitions from the beginning. The man was the only one with interests and plans and the woman only married him to help him achieve it but at some point got tired helping.

That is why you will hear such women call her children her husband’s children and her house her husband’s house. The time for coming to help someone live his or her life while you waste away are gone. Home arrangements not withstanding, a marriage should be a merger of two independent persons with intention of making a union in their interest.

Ephesians 5:31 says that a man shall leave his mother and father and be joined with his wife to form one union. It does not say that a man shall go and buy a woman or bring a woman or acquire a woman; it says that both of them will leave their parents’ homes to form a single union together. The Constitution, Marriage Act and Bible all require a marriage to be a merger rather than an acquisition

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