Tanzania: The Ties that Bind

In tin-roofed village halls throughout Tanzania, angry members of the National Women's Organization stamped their feet and raised their voices in a rhythmic chant: "One man, one wife, is the proper way of life." Petitions poured in to the government, including one that warned in Swahili: "To admit a second wife is to bring poison into the home." A letter to a Dar es Salaam newspaper cautioned simply: "Polygamy will give men big heads."

The subject of this distaff dissent is a controversial marriage-reform bill proposed by the Tanzanian government. Among the East...

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