Polygamy in DRC: Illegal, but not uncommon

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Pastor Zagabe Chiruza and family   -  

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GUERCHOM NDEBO/AFP or licensors

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Polygamy is illegal in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Yet, it is still practised by two percent of the population, like in the church of Pastor Zagabe Chiruza, in the eastern city of Bukavu. In 2012, he married three women at the same time in his church.

Pastor Zagabe Chiruza, leader of the "Primitive Church of the Lord" is convinced that Polygamy is a divine institution.

"This is the message of the end time. The others who hunt us down, that's their business, but we must go to the end and show the people of God the truth, which is the teaching of polygamy. Meaning a man can marry more than one woman although society is against it, others don't care" he said.

Three live with him under the same roof in Bukavu, the fourth in Bujumbura, Burundi, where some of his children are studying.

Yaëlle, one of the wives says she lives in harmony with her co-wives but the situation is different with her neighbours.

"When I was still alone at home, I had a good relationship with all the neighbours. But when my husband got married to other women, all the neighbours cut contact with me, they all ran away. Nowadays, we only greet each other on the way, but they don't visit us anymore, that's how it is."

In an interview with Catholic priest Raymond Kongolo, he corrected that "Polygamy is a human institution that goes back a long way in our African and traditional Congolese culture," he says. But "it is not a divine institution"

According to the American research centre Pew Research Center, about 2% of the world's population lives in polygamous households and it is in Africa that the practice is most widespread (11%).

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