Bride-price : Should A Limit Be Fixed?

Debate has been raging on with regards to the modification of items and amounts demanded for bride-price in many communities in Cameroon.

Marriage is considered contracted in most Cameroonian and African cultures and traditions only when the bride-price has been paid. Indeed, traditional marriage following the customs is the precondition for the solemnisation of the marriage first of all with the civil status officer and finally the blessing in church for Christians.
There are many types of bride-prices as there are ethnic groups and cultures in Cameroon. Each ethnic group has a series of items the would-be sons-in-law must provide for the traditional marriage rites to be performed. In some ethnic groups and cultures, only symbolic items and amount of money are demanded for the marriage to take place, while in others the would-be sons-in-law have to spend millions of Francs CFA for the bride-price items and the liquid cash given to the   in –laws.
With the different items and amounts of money spent as bride-price, there has been persistent worries with many people calling on government to intervene and impose some sort of harmonisation. The excessive bride-prices demanded in some cultures have resulted in many girls from such communities remaining spinsters as even men from the same cultural backgrounds would prefer to get their wives from communities where the bride-price is easily affordable even to average and low-income men.  
The government on its part is aware of the cacophony with regard to bride-prices demanded in different parts of the country. Without fixing limits to the bride-price demanded, government has enacted some provisions regarding bride-price in the Penal Code. In Law No. 2016/007 of 12 July 2016 relating to the Penal Code, Section 357 (1d) concerning the abuse of bride-price provides that, “Whoever demands the whole or any part of an excessive bride-price for the marriage of  a girl under the age of 21 years of age or of a widow or divorced woman &nb...



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