For a while now, Emurrua Dikirr MP Johanna Ng’eno has been a source of constant ridicule, especially from his political rivals and elders. They can’t wrap their minds around the fact that even as the legislator turns 45-year-old, he is yet to get married.
Narok Governor Samuel Ole Tunai is one of the critics who have publicly raised their concerns over the MP’s marital status. The county chief is on record as having told the vocal legislator to his face: “First find a wife before you can criticise both county and national governments”.
Ng’eno’s mother, too, has always been on his case like white rice. She was quoted in the press a while back urging him to marry. “I have been urging him to marry and start a family. I am eager to see my grandchildren,” she was quoted as saying.
Things got tough a while back when elders and leaders from Narok County warned Ng’eno to marry if he wants to be re-elected, even as he insisted: “Marriage is important but currently it’s not my priority, compared to serving my people. I will, however, marry when I want”.
Alexander Kosgei, the Trans Mara Sub-County Kipsigis Council of Elders Chairman, recently decried dereliction and attrition of culture by the MP in an area where polygamy was at some point a requirement for any man who wanted to be a political leader.
“Our culture is clear: A leader must have a wife, to ensure continuity of the family,” he said, adding that the basis of good leadership is a family. “Back in the day, it was necessary to be polygamous to be considered for leadership position,” he said.
The defiant MP further dismissed his critics, telling them that marriage was a non-issue and asked them not to try and turn it into a campaign issue.
The going, however, got so tough last year that Ng’eno bowed to pressure, promising to marry before the 2017 General Election. But the good legislator, despite announcing that he now has a girlfriend whom he plans to settle down with, is yet to get married and he has less than two months to do so.
Besides the MP, there are many popular and little-known bachelors and bachelorettes who, despite having valid reasons as to why they have refused to get married, continue to feel the heat from society, demanding they settle down and start bearing children.
Understandably, getting married is arguably the desire and wish of many. Having that colour-themed, or invite-only garden wedding, followed by a vacation in some exotic location for honeymoon, is a fantasy that any potential wife or husband nurses at the back of their mind.
While some lucky men and women get married just when it’s appropriate, others have to contend with kissing many frogs first. Unfortunately, when that right marriage partner becomes elusive or for one reason or another one decides to take their sweet time, problems set in.
Families, friends and society in particular have some expectations concerning marriage. Any parent would wish to see their children get hitched when they come of age. But differently viewed external factors and personal circumstances do come into play, and that is when marriage temporarily takes the back seat.