Friday, 13 November 2009

The 'Other' Woman

General Kazini died in the early hours of Tuesday this week. More like, he was killed by a 28-year old woman, purported to be his mistress of 5 years. That has been the hot item in the press most of this week. Lydiah Dralu Atim claimed that she hit him with an iron bar in self defence. I hope that everyone gets justice. M7 attended the mass yesterday and was looking visibly upset on TV, saying that a lot of former soldiers die from 'wreckless living'. I felt rather sad for Phoebe Kazini, the general’s official wife, and their most adorable daughters. I mean, it’s difficult enough to deal with the loss, but the manner in which they lost him doesn’t make things easier.

Incidentally, this week I discovered Esther Passari’s website via someone I stalk on twitter, probably on Tuesday evening. On her relationships page, she talks about dropping the bombshell during the International Women’s Day about having been the hidden wife. She makes reference to living a lie, the fact that there are many 'other woman' out there and we shouldn't ignore that. The fact that kids have to live the consequences of their parents’ lifestyle made me think several times over.

The ‘living a lie’ line and General Kazini’s death got me thinking; maybe it's time to accept that these 'things' are here and will probably take a while to go away completely. For some women,and I think most men, it is a lifestyle of choice. Some women just happen to be the other woman by accident, but IMO, a lot of women actually know that a man has an wife, probably even has a document lying at Switswiller (??thanks again twitter) Amos Wako’s office, meaning that unless he gets the last D in DIVORCED done, if he is planning to, that is, he isn’t likely to marry the other woman. I’ve had men I know to be married hit on me, and once gone on a blind date, only for the guy to show up with a wedding ring on, and pics of his kidos on the phone screen. I am wrong in assuming most women know that some man is married and has no intention of leaving his official wife?

In that light, I'm kinda tired of women acting the victims most of the time. Let’s face it, women. In Kenya and Uganda, there are more heterosexual men and women than gay. Chances are if he is cheating, he is cheating with a woman. And if he is cheating with you, chances are he will cheat on you with some other woman. We can’t really call men dogs without calling a lot of women, urm, female dogs. The only victim I see here is the official wife, and, having never been married, I am not in a position to accuse them or defend them for choosing to stay, sometimes in the full knowledge that the man has a roving eye, and other organ. Thinking about it, I have no idea how I would react. When I was younger....let’s just pray and hope it doesn’t happen if I ever get married!

Aside: I was once watching Oprah and a woman was confessing to having been the 'other' woman for several years. Our culture and theirs are a bit different but it still surprised me that they found where 'she went wrong' when growing up concluding that she didn't always feel loved, and could always settle for second place. I think it's more of a personal choice than a psychological state of mind.

In other matters sexual, it would appear like we have more issues to deal with in the heterosexual community than in the gay community. Uganda may be passing what someone called the Homophobia Bill that will make it legal for someone to be jailed if they are assisting a gay person. Kenya is passing another one that will let a man marry more than 1 wife (outside Muslim and traditional marriages, where they do, currently) legally in a civil marriage on one condition: he tells the first wife before he marries her. IMO, that’s a practical take on the reality of sexuality in Kenya. I hope that they will require some hard evidence like signed documents should the first wife want a divorce citing infidelity. Because if it’s his word against hers, many a man will say they had said so. Currently, if a woman marries a man under the customary law she can’t divorce him on that basis of marital infidelity. And it’s illegal for her to remarry, remember Kamangu and the other man?

Now, let’s go ahead and make it legal to be gay and make marriage inclusive of gay people.


Anonymous said...

What I dont understand is why the "other woman" feels some urge to be "the woman"! She's normally well kept, sometimes better kept than the "the woman". Men hardly make these women "secret". All his friends will know about her! These "other women" just dont realize that if they move up the ladder, they create a vacuum which is shortly and swiftly filled!

odegle said...

PKW, I don't want to sound funny, but is it true that women get more attracted to attached men (married or in a relationship) than to free ones? is there something psychological about it?

PKW said...

raymondchepkwony: After some time, you get attached to the man and want commitment. And that comes in form of a document known as a marriage certificate aka being what you call 'the woman'

odegle: I've heard some of married men claim as much. Not sure if Oyunga Pala is a psychologist but he once wrote that women get attracted to 'taken' men because they have already exhibited some level of commitment, can take care of a family, etc meaning they can take care of the (soon to be other) woman as well.

Maya said...


Sad about Kazini.

If there is one thing that really puts me off it is the 'other woman' bringing in the main wife into the blame game and that is what Esther has done in her article which isn't exactly an honourable thing to do on top of kumuingilia.

odegle said...

I have actually read pasaris article and faq with interest. She is IMHO in the same paradoxical situation most women find themselves. They want a rich man (it takes time to be truly rich, meaning rich people will most likely be married with kids) and they also dont want to be mpango wa kando!

Talk of having your cake and eating it.

Anonymous said...

Esther does not take responsibility for what she did, nor does she seem to hold herself accountable for starting off her children on the wrong footing. I've seen betrayal and pain from marital infidelity in the eyes two women close to 70 years old, and it still gives me nightmares. It is a painful thing to see.

Mrembo said...

me what I want to know and which is something that never seems to be addressed is why men have the need to have a wife and the woman on the side.

Let the men stand up and talk about that first, then I think we can have an intelligent discussion.

As in why the need for the woman on the side??

Another question then enters the equation, are men simply incapable of being monogamous? If so, is it not ridiculous that most women want to be in a monogomous relationship so if nature intended monogamy, isn't it all a bunch of crap to sit and promote monogamy when the argument is that men are incapable of it.

I strongly believe that if a married man wants another woman and he is discusses it with his wife and they are in agreement, no probs. It's the lying to, cheating on and humiliation of the wife /official that totally pisses me off.

And why the double standards, why aren't women "allowed" by society to have a "mpango" and as Raymond says, the woman's mpango will not be a secret.

The whole issue disgusts me because the married woman is always the victim and is not allowed the same liberties as the man.

PKW said...

Maya: I think the other woman should ideally leave the official wife alone, but practically, when the other woman gets involved with the man, the official wife has been affected.

odegle: It's complicated.I think Esther indicated that she would still wish to get married to a rich man, even at 45. Don't forget there are rich divorcees and widowers out there and she hasn't ruled out age. I've to say I admire people who have such strong resolves, but personally, sometimes good enough is good enough.

anonymous: I'm not going to comment on her taking responsibility or not, but I think it's a choice she made and she seems to have accepted the consequences.

Mrembo: some things are societal. In my interactions in and outside my wider family (not so 'wider', as a matter of fact), I have observed the same: if a woman has a mpango wa kando, she is given the most obscene labels. In my observations, some women, though few, do have the 'other' man, but they tend to be more secretive about it because the consequences are dire. I'm not sure about where you are, but in some western countries, people divorce and remarry a lot more, so sometimes I think their version of 'polygamy' is serial monogamy. Of course there's no double standards in that case because women do remarry. Societies change but IMO, for health and economic reasons, monogamy is a more practical union to be in.

Cee said...

Nice discussion. SO men complain women are stress then they go get themselves
Sometimes it just so happens the main dish and the side dish are both sooo well kept they never realize that they are sharing. I know of a guy who has 2 wives, all his friends and family know apart from the 2 wives, I don't even know how he was able to pull it thro for more than 20yrs then a few yrs back during christmas, he took the 2 families to his parents place. Of all the gall, he had no intention of telling them still, until when they kids started arguing and 2 stated they were going to tell their father, lo and behold when they found out the 2kids had the same father and different mothers....haiya fire in the compound. Evidently it was his way or the highway, coz he explained the situation and the wives stayed, to make life easier he bought both of them houses in the same estate now he doesn't have to hide much.
Polygamy in Kenya is there even if we try to hide it, kwani u guys forgot about your own President, Baba Jimmy???? Pia yeye ana mpango wa Kando, wewe je?

PKW said...

Cee, kwani what kind of friends did those two women have,oh!I imagine ka wewe ni beshte yangu, utanishow mimi ni mpango wa kando ama mzee ako nayo.

Baba Jimmy is the funniest. Jamaa keeps denying, yet Wambui has VIP security, anajiita Wambui wa Munene (the big man) etc. As they say in Uganda, Banange!

itchbay said...

Interesting topic. I was actually the other woman at some point... I usually tell people that if your husband has a mpango was kando, something is wrong in the marriage emotionally. So many people are in denial. The dude's wife refused to acknowledge their problems and insisted I was the problem. I finaly left him but guess what, he has another mpango wa kando and she's stuck with a cheating husband and now a kid...

Love your blog btw...