Archive for September, 2010


September 6, 2010


SA man’s mass wedding ‘saved money’

By Pumza Fihlani
BBC News, Durban

South African businessman Milton Mbele broke all the traditional rules of a polygamous wedding when he recently married four women on the same day.

The four brides dressed in flowing white gowns walked down the aisle together, before saying “We do” to the 44-year-old groom.

Mr Mbele says he didn’t marry them purely for the spectacle but also because it made financial sense.

“I don’t know how much four different weddings would have cost me but I know doing it all at once saved money,” he explains.

“For example I only needed one tent, I needed to hire one caterer and one photographer for the entire ceremony.”

If I feel like taking another wife this is something that will be in the open

Milton Mbele
“I began putting money aside for the event towards the end of 2007 and started collecting quotes for things like the tent and catering costs early last year.”

He says he loves all his wives – Thobile Vilakazi, Zanele Langa, Baqinisile Mdlolo and Smangele Cele – equally and also treats them that way.

Mr Mbele himself wears four rings on his finger – he says this is a sign of his commitment to all his wives.

The wives say they were shocked by the news that Mr Mbele wanted to marry them at once but add that they agreed because they love him.

Some two weeks after their much publicised two-day ceremony, Mr Mbele says he is overwhelmed by all the attention his wedding has attracted.

I met Mr Mbele and Smangele, at 23 the youngest Mrs Mbele, at a hotel in Durban – the pair were set to do a radio interview with a national radio station the next day.

‘Our culture’

In their hotel room the pair sat comfortably on the bed while taking questions about their big day.

Mr Mbele, a Zulu businessman and municipal manager, says polygamy is still very much part of Zulu tradition.

Milton Mbele has four wedding rings
“This is a proud part of our culture. It has been practised for generations before us.”

“My grandfather himself had three wives,” says Mr Mbele, quickly adding that he isn’t blindly following in his grandfather’s footsteps.

“I prefer polygamy to having many girlfriends which is what some married men do,” he says.

“If I love more than one woman, I would rather make it known to the other women in my life and make it official.

“If I feel like taking another wife this is something that will be in the open and my wives would know,” he says.

President Jacob Zuma, also a Zulu, has three wives.

But the practice has been met with criticism.

Inside polygamy

Some point out that it does not afford equal rights to men and women.

Women are not allowed to wed more than one husband, while a man can have as many wives as he wishes.

There are seven days in a week and I have four wives. I will take turns visiting them and use the remaining three days to rest

Milton Mbele
In a polygamous marriage only the first wife is legally recognised, which could pose some difficulties in dividing the husband’s estate when he dies.

South Africa has the highest number of HIV-positive people in the world – some five million.

Since having more than one sexual partner increases the chances of contracting the virus, it is understandable that Smangele’s family had reservations about her entering into a polygamous marriage.

“My family was not pleased at first but they came around eventually,” she says.

They are taking the necessary precautions, which include regular HIV tests.

“I had my last test a few months ago when I was pregnant. We are all disciplined about staying healthy,” she says.

The arrangements seem to have been carefully thought out down to the last detail, including how Mr Mbele will alternate between his four wives, who all live in different parts of northern KwaZulu-Natal province.

“There are seven days in a week and I have four wives. I will take turns visiting them and use the remaining three days to rest,” he says.

At this point Smangele, who has been quiet with her head bowed until now, looks up and smiles at her husband.

The second day of the wedding was a traditional Zulu wedding ceremony
When asked how she feels about Mr Mbele’s visitation plan she quickly responds.

“I believe it will work. I am used to living on my own and having him visit me on certain days so this won’t be anything new to us,” she says, reaching for her husband’s hand.

In fact, Mr Mbele has already been in relationships with his new wives for several years.

He has three children with “first wife” Thobile, two with “wife-number-two” Zanele, one child with Baqinisile, referred to as “wife-number-three” and two children with “youngest wife” Smangele.

He also has three children from a previous relationship.

Mr Mbele is the breadwinner in all his homes – none of his wives is employed. They say they are happy to be provided for by their husband.

He owns 100 cows and 250 goats and has a good job, so he is relatively wealthy, at least by traditional standards.

‘Why we love him’

Earlier in the day, I spoke to Baqinisile, who lives in a large home which she says was a gift from her husband.

The yard has three separate houses; the main house is made from orange bricks – it is the biggest and only one of its kind in the small village.

The Mbeles have postponed going on honeymoon to save money
She welcomes me into her home and ushers me to sit down on luxurious cream leather couches.

In an area where employment and the luxuries it affords are difficult to come by, Baqinisile is living a life some young women in the area would envy.

Baqinisile describes her husband, who she met in 2006, as a fair man.

“He respects us and treats us all the same way,”

“When he buys us clothes, he buys us similar things. Also when he gives us money.

“I admire this about him because it shows me that he loves us the same way,” she says, adjusting her ring.

Both Baqinisile and Smangele admit they were against polygamy when they were growing up but have now changed their minds.

“When I saw what a loving man he is and how he much he values all of us, I knew that I would be able to share my life with him and everyone else,” says Smangele.

Although Mr Mbele says he minimised costs by having a mass wedding, he is still paying for it, so there will be no honeymoon for a couple of years.

But the entire Mbele family will not be going away together – he will take each wife separately in order of their hierarchy.


September 3, 2010


Women protest naked in C’River over LG election
By Mike Odiegwu, Calabar  
Wednesday, 1 Sep 2010  
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Aged women from Erei, Biase Local Government Area of Cross River State on Monday stormed Calabar half-naked to protest what they called ‘disenfranchisement and illegal arrest of their sons’ during the local government election held in the state on Saturday.

The women, whose ages ranged between 50 and 80, arrived the state capital shortly after the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission announced the results of the election, in which the Peoples Democratic Party won all the 18 chairmanship seats.

Announcing the results, the chairman of CROISEC, Mr. Patrick Otu, said his commission derived its powers to conduct the election and release the results from section 10 of the state’s electoral laws.

Seven parties that contested against the PDP did not present candidates in 75 councillorship wards and nine chairmanship positions. Thus, CROSIEC declared that most PDP candidates won unopposed.

CROSIEC also declared that the PDP won in all the wards, apart from three wards which were each won by Labour Party, Action Congress of Nigeria and All Nigeria Peoples Party.

But the aggrieved women, who were said to have travelled over 10 hours to get to the state capital at 6pm, complained that there was no election in their area.

The angry mothers arrived the state capital in three 14-seater buses, lamenting that the election in their area was marred by violence, intimidation and indiscriminate arrest of youths.

The Erei women, who were led by Mrs. Glory Owali, took their complaint to the headquarters of CROSIEC, the Governor’s Office and the headquarters of the state police command in Calabar.

The women, in a thumb-printed statement, made available to our correspondent, appealed to the police to release 18 of their children, whom they alleged were framed up and arrested for trying to protect their votes.

They insisted that the youths were simply escorting electoral materials to polling units when 37 soldiers in pick-up vans arrested them.

They alleged that the incident took place because the youths had vowed not to support a PDP candidate sponsored by a top politician in their area.

The Chief Security Adviser to Imoke, Mr. Bassey Okim, who received the women, appealed to them to return home.

He promised that the state government would look into their complaints. The women, who broke down in tears on reaching the headquarters of the state police command, demanded to see the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Ahmed, and their detained sons.

They were, however, addressed by Inspector Yohanna, who told them that the commissioner had closed for the day. But he promised to convey their demands to Ahmed.

Comments :  

  • Women protest naked and all they came is a small appeal to go home by the authorities! Disgusting and great abomination!
    Posted by: Pwaveno H. Bamaiyi , on Wednesday, September 01, 2010 

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  • when women protest naked, it is not disrespectful, this is Africa. it only tell u the seriousness of the issues
    Posted by: osifo lee , on Wednesday, September 01, 2010 

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  • The Erei people have been living like slaves in thire own country. Not because government is not willing to help them, but because those who should represent them in government are only they for their own interest. The major road that links the poor farmers to the outside world is the AfikpoOhafia Road. Several contracts have been awarded on it yet nothing is done. I want government to please intervain in the plit of the people, especially as it regards road.
    Posted by: Emmanuel Ukam , on Wednesday, September 01, 2010 

    Naked women protest soldiers’ brutality in Calabar

    IT was a pathetic sight when a group of women under the aegis of Women of Erei in Biase council took to the streets in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
    The women were protesting the alleged use of armed soldiers by a member of the House of Representatives from the area to intimidate and rig the council polls.
    In a letter to Governor Liyel Imoke entitled: “A Case of Electoral Rights Violation and Continuous Intimidation of Erei People,” the protesting women alleged that Mr Alex Ukam, who represents Akamkpa/Biase in the House of Representatives, drafted a military contingent to Erei, “to harass, brutalise and rig elections and to detain opposition party members who were appointed party agents.”
    The election for the position of chairman in the area was contested by the incumbent, Dr Emil Inyang of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Bishop Frank Owali of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), but Inyang emerged winner. APGA also lost all the wards in the area.
    According to the women, the soldiers in three Operation MESA pick-up vans brought in by Ukam and Inyang were used, in addition to many other mobile policemen, to escort election materials to Erei North and South wards only.
    The statement reads in part: “We are equally embarrassed that our son, Alex Ukam, an indigene of Erei who we have thought should attract development to Erei community, has since 2003 turned the entire Biase council and Erei in particular to a war zone. It has been war, war, war.
    “Our children have suffered so much, in his efforts to conquer politically. We do not want to witness another war. We suffered the Nigerian Civil War, we have suffered the excesses of our Igbo neighbours, particularly the Okon Ohafia people.
    “We have accepted the untold and unfathomable marginalisation of Erei people from both the state and federal governments; we do not want to involve any unconstitutional means to resolve these contradictions, and we do not want to be compelled to.”
    But when our reporter got in touch with Ukam, he said, “They had to bring in Operation MESA as a result of petitions from the clans of Erei community alleging threat to public peace.”
    According to him, they got the information that APGA in collaboration with some PDP stalwarts who lost out at the party primaries hired their war enemies from Okorn community in Abia State to come and unleash mayhem on the community and disrupt the local government elections.
    “Based on that I had to act as the representative of my community. That is why they (Operation MESA) were brought. About 16 of the boys were arrested and they have been charged to court and remanded in custody. The hiring of the women is a disgrace to the culture of the Erei community. It is a pity that an aspirant who wants to rule the people should resort to this kind of behaviour,” he said.
    By Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

    Nigeria: Naked Women Protest Cross River LG Elections

    Edem Edem
    2 September 2010

    Calabar — About 100 women and 10 men age 60 years and above from Erei South and Erei North in Biase local government area and members of Labour Party walked round major streets in Calabar, the Cross River State capital protesting the conduct of the Saturday August 28th local government elections in the state.
    The election was conducted by the state Independence Electoral Commission (CROSIEC).

    The protesting women who appeared nude exposing their breasts carried walking sticks of the same sizes and refused to talk to people. The women carried placards with various inscriptions walking round streets leading to CROSIEC office at Bishop Monia Avenue, Governors’ office and Commissioner of Police office at Diamond Hill, Calabar.
    Government functionaries received the demonstrators and adviced them to go back to their villages as their grievances would be looked into. Speaking with our correspondent, the APGA Chairmanship candidate for Biase local government council, Bishop Frank Owali lamented the level of atrocities carried out by 68 fully armed military men and Mobile Police drafted to the Erei South and Erei North in the local government by Hon. Alex Ukam.

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