Residents of Tangakona and Khwilare villages in Nambale sub county Busia county have been perplexed after a pastor paid dowry for his son and took it back a day after. Pastor Maurice Omoding’ of Chrisco church Tangakona, in the company of twelve other people including his wife, took the dowry to his in-laws at Khwilare village on Saturday but went back Sunday morning demanding back the dowry which included four cattle, two goats and twenty thousand shillings cash money.
It’s alleged that the pastor initially signed an agreement on dowry payment where his son was to pay a total of ten cows and four hundred thousand shillings but later changed his mind after the girl’s parents insisted she gets married after finishing college in July, “The parents of the girl want their daughter to finish school first before marrying her off but the pastor is insisting that his son must marry immediately and wed the girl in April,” explained one of the people who were involved in taking the dowry.
The girl’s parents who worship at the pastor’s church and who requested not to be named said they thank God for what happened and have hope that their daughter will get another suitable man to marry her, “We are not happy with what our pastor did to us. We were shocked to learn that for the past one year he has been arranging for the wedding between his son and our daughter without our knowledge. He even went up to the Bishop to request for a wedding date. We just requested that our daughter weds in August after finishing her teaching course in July but the pastor was adamant that the wedding takes place in April.”
They further explained how the pastor came back to demand his dowry, “On Saturday the pastor came with his wife and eleven other people including some women which is not proper because women are not supposed to be part of those who go to pay dowry, even the father-in-law is not supposed to be part of them. We received them well, discussed for long and agreed on the dowry. After that, we entertained them until three the following morning when they left. At six in the morning, we were shocked to see the pastor come back with three other people demanding back his dowry. We gave back the four cows, twos goats and twenty thousand shillings. We thank God because this shows us that maybe our daughter was entering a marriage that could have made her life miserable. The father-in-law despite being a pastor, want to dictate everything and everyone around.”
Locals from Khwilare and Tangakona led by Steve Arachi and Judith Ekaroni expressed their shock saying they have never witnessed such an incident since they were born, “This is a man of God who should by example. He took the dowry himself to his in-laws and we don’t understand how he gained the courage to go back and demand that it be refunded. What will he tell worshipers in his church when he stands to preach?”
Dismas Makana, an elder from the clan the pastor come from also joined those condemning him, adding that he totally went against the Iteso traditions, “In our traditions, you can pay dowry then finish some months before taking the girl. And in the current marriage arrangements, after paying the dowry you allow the girl’s family some days and give them opportunity to decide when to give away their daughter. It’s not you to decide or dictate them.”
On his side, the pastor said he was forced to go back and recover the dowry after his son disagreed to the terms of the dowry, “My in-laws insisted that we pay the entire dowry which is four hundred thousand shillings and ten cows before the wedding takes place in April. My son saw it impossible and we decided to bring back the dowry we had taken there. We didn’t want to enter into a lot of issues that could be complicated in future.”