In a bid to boost the male population in the country, Eritrea has directed its men to marry more than one wife or risk life imprisonment.
This is contained in a statement in Arabic by the Grand Mufti (the highest official of religious law in the country), which scanned copy found its way to social media sites last Thursday.
Eritrea, located in the area known as the “Horn of Africa”, has seen more than 150,000 of its troops killed during the secession war from Ethiopia between 1998 and 2000. At the time, the country’s population was estimated at four million.
In the statement, Eritrea called for all men in the country to marry at least two wives with the assurance that the government would pay for the marriage ceremonies and houses.
According to the government, the order is because there is an acute shortage of men occasioned by causalities during the civil war with Ethiopia.
Although the statement could not be independently verified and there has been no official statement by the Eritrean Government confirming or debunking the directive, Afkinsider.com said the document warned that any man or woman who opposes the decision “will face a life sentence”.
The document in Arabic says, “Based on the law of God in polygamy, and given the circumstances which the country is experiencing in terms of men shortage, the Eritrean department of Religious Affairs has decided on the following:
“First that every man shall marry at least two women and the man who refuses to do so shall be subjected to life imprisonment with hard labour.
“The woman who tries to prevent her husband from marrying another wife shall be punished to life imprisonment”.