three wedding rings
Sylvester Mwendwa and Elijah Kimani entered into an agreement with a woman who had been having an affair with both of them. (ox.ac.uk)

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Two men in Kenya have signed a contract to “marry” the same woman, the BBC reports.

The news comes a week after the broadcaster aired a radio program that said multipartner relationships could become the norm in the United Kingdom.

A BBC Focus on Africa program reported that Kenyan men Sylvester Mwendwa and Elijah Kimani entered into an agreement with a woman who had been having an affair with both of them.

The contract sets out a rota for Mwendwa and Kimani to stay in her house and says they will help look after any children she has with them.

For this “marriage” to be legally recognized, it would have to be proved that the practice of a woman having more than one husband is part of the custom of these people, according to a Kenyan family lawyer.

But David Okwembah, a BBC correspondent in Kenya, says it is not practiced in any community in the country.

He adds that local people are shocked at the “marriage,” saying it is not in their culture, religion or law.

The woman, who did not want to be named and is a widow with two children, apparently said she did not want to choose between the two men.

And local news reports say a community policing officer came up with the arrangement after he saw Mwendwa and Kimani fighting over the woman.

Mwendwa told Focus on Africa that he wanted to end his rivalry with Kimani.

He said, “It could have been very dangerous if the other man would have come to her house and caught me.”

He said the contract helps keep the peace.

Last week, BBC Radio 4 aired a documentary called Monogamy and the Rules of Love, which featured a number of interviews with people in multipartner relationships.

And a writer recently commented that in the wake of same-sex marriage, introducing polygamy might not be such a bad idea.

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