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Marriage rights and privileges:Luo leviratic union revisited

Ogutu E M Gilbert, University of Nairobi

It is the argument of this paper that to equitably address the problems of investment in human development, there is dire need to probe and understand family creation processes, gender relations and household dynamics. This entails closer look at the processes of cohabitation, marriage and remarriage as practiced by various communities in Africa. Because it would be naïve to generalize for the whole continent of Africa, given the diversity of norms and values governing the family, gender and household dynamics, we have singled out the Luo community of Kenya as paradigm for analysis and reflection. It is our contention in this paper that a close look at the family, rampant gender issues and culturally diverse relations within the household should enable us appreciate population dynamics, growth or decline and then detect consequences often made manifest in high levels of poverty, poor education, low economic growth, environmental degradation and food insecurity.

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Presented in Session 50: Cohabitation, marriage and remarriage patterns