Families are not only breaking up, but incidences of killings among wives and husbands have also been reported. As Grace Mugoya writes, the causes of such horrific actions between people who agreed to live together in all situations portray that some families are experiencing hardships and call for serious intervention.
It takes quite sometime to decide on getting married. However, given the fleet of decorated high class cars that are seen every Saturday on Kigali streets, it is evident that new marriages are coming up every weekend.
However, the only concern remains if partners will keep these marriages to give a chance to their grandchildren see them living a happy life at that old age.
It is in this line that partners stand up to their commitments in making their marriages life time projects.
On a sad note, the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF), confirms marriage break-ups, although no studies have been made to provide statistics.
“We do not have the figures, but the information we have is that families are breaking up due many factors that must be addressed. If young people who are going into marriages have to stay in harmony with their partners,” says Emanuel Nzaramba, the Director of Family Promotion Unit at MIGEPROF.
Nzaramba says that among the major factors that are leading to marriage break-ups is the fact that the current generation does not get the chance to get marriage education before starting families.
“Long time ago, families were peaceful compared to what is taking place now. But this was largely attributed to the education that elders gave to their children mainly about what it means to get into the marriage institution,” he says.
Nzaramba explains that cultural values are lost, another reason that has led to parents not taking care and full responsibility of their families.
The challenges that spouses face should be solved amicably to avoid separation or divorce and, according to officials at the ministry, instead of devising means to solve problems, some spouses resort to separation and sometime to divorce.
“Divorcing to re-marry does not solve the problem because this simply means that the same story might happen even in the next marriage,” Nzaramba says.
Families are not only breaking up, but incidences of killings among wives and husbands have also been reported.
The causes of such horrific actions between people who agreed to live together in all situations portrays that some families are experiencing hardships and calls for serious intervention.
“There is need for the youth who are about to marry to seek guidance from the elders. This will give them the foundation on which their families will base,” says Johnson Rutaysire, a father of three.
Rutaysire say for the last fifteen years he has been married, he has learnt a lot about marriage. He says that the most important thing to note is that married people should always be ready to ask for forgiveness and able to forgive.
He also advises that challenges families face should be solved indoors without necessarily involving other parties.
“A real man should be able to solve the problems in his house although it may sometimes call for a third party who in this case may be a parent,” he says.
Briefly, he sheds light on the need for partners to be honest and have respect for each other, saying this would enables easy solving of the differences that may come up.
Although Rutaysire’s advice is key to stability in families, some people The Sunday Times interviewed expressed mixed feeling.
“Yes, I agree that there must be forgiveness due to the fact that there is no one who is actually perfect. However, it is also a fact that some men or partners do not learn from their mistakes,” says Ritah Nyiramabindo, a second year Business student at the School of Finance and Banking (SFB).
She argues that there is no single person who goes in for marriage with future plans to divorce, but that it is something that just happens after partners realize the marriage is not working out.
“I do not support or believe that there should be any family that breaks apart especially after partners have committed themselves, but they should have respect for each other and not engage in actions against the other with assurance of being forgiven,” she avers.
Reports from the National Commission for Children (NCC) indicate that findings from various surveys show that poverty is one of the key factors that have also contributed to parents avoiding their responsibilities. This has eventually led to children abandonment and family break-ups.
The Government therefore switched to empowering women so that they can engage in income generating activities so as to contribute to the wellbeing of the family and fight against poverty.
However, some men believe that although the idea is paying off, its negative side seriously affects families.
“When women earn more than their husbands, it is another problem and it is seriously affecting us as men,” says one man.
Mary Mononela, a South African delegate who participated in the recent regional consultative meeting organised by the African Development Bank, says that women empowerment has nothing to do with family break-ups.
“Those men who believe that families will break-up when their women start earning or even earn more than them are the kinds who do not want women to have a voice. It has been realized that being totally dependant to men is one of the key causes of women rights violation and gender based violence,” she argues.
The conference that attracted participants from over ten African countries aimed at getting views on which ADB will base on in its 2013-2017 strategic plan which will intensify the fight against gender inequality. Among others this will be through empowering women economically.
As government response, last year the Ministry of Gender came up with the annual Family Campaign to encourage parents to take on their responsibilities as well as strengthen family values. Of recent, the ministry also came up with more progarmmes that include educating spouses to amicably solve issues that have been leading to family break-ups.
All the above programmes came shortly after the Ministry of Local Government came up with a strategy for families to sign performance contracts through which they (couples) come up with what they intend to achieve annually. This is also aimed at encouraging partners to work hard for the development of the family and fight against poverty.