Lamu women abandon “broke” husbands after logging ban

People walking on cabro pavements along a beach in Lamu. PHOTO: NATASHA NEMA.

Lamu, KENYA: Marriages in Lamu are in Limbo following the recently imposed 90-day logging ban.

Many marriages in the county are said to have already broken down after money stopped flowing and many more are in the process of following suit.

Thousands of men who depended on mangrove logging for survival are now left jobless and without the usual amount of money to keep their wives happy and their families intact.

Residents who spoke in Lamu on Thursday said many men have been left by their wives after the lucrative business was banned weeks ago.

Yusuf Mohamed, a marriage counselor based in Pate island said many women cannot withstand a life without money and as such couldn’t stand by their men now that mangrove logging, which employs thousands in the county, had been banned.

Mohamed said he had received reports where women had become rude and disrespectful to their men upon discovering that they could no longer provide their comfort as usual.

He said there was also an increase in extramarital affairs ever since the logging ban came into effect and wondered why some couples take marriage vows in the first place.

Mohamed said the number of couples coming to his office seeking to be divorced as a result of the ban is quite alarming.

“Many men are having a rough time.Those who are lucky are still with their wives but even then, they are being disrespected since they are now thought to be incapable as providers.Others aren’t as lucky since their wives have since fled in this brief period that the ban has been in place.It’s an unexpected but its happening.The situation can’t go on like this.Marriages here are in serious trouble,” said Mohamed.

Women who also spoke said it was hard to live with and bear with a man who couldn’t provide adequately for his family.

Biti Abushir, a woman logger in Lamu said she was aware that some marriages were breaking due to the fact that the logging ban had made it impossible for men to provide for their families.

“Men can no longer pay fees for their kids.In some households, men can no longer afford meals for their families.Women can’t stand to see their kids suffering and that’s why many opt to walk out.The logging ban is destroying marriages here.Something must be done,” said Abushir.

Husna Lali, another woman logger in Lamu said the ban on logging was meant to dim and frustrate the efforts of women who had found a means to empower themselves in mangrove logging.

“A lot of women here had embarked on the mangrove logging business instead of having to sit around waiting for the men to bring home the bacon.Banning such a venture is similar to putting out the light for the women here,” said Husna.

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