State halts listing of marriage services over Covid-19 fears

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020 22:26 |
Married couple. Photo/Courtesy

Roy Lumbe

A move by the Office of the Attorney General to temporarily suspend marriage services at Sheria House in Nairobi has handed a huge blow to couples seeking to tie the knot. 

The announcement comes just days after the AG’s office resumed a partial re-opening of selected marriage services. 

Registrar-General Mary Njuya in a statement said the move was necessary to allow the department develop a strategy on handling the high number of clients who throng the building.  

Njuya said in compliance with the Ministry of Health guidelines on preventing the spread of Covid-19, the overwhelming number of clients poses a risk of further spreading the virus. 

“Following the partial re-opening of selected marriage services on Monday, it was observed that the number of clients who visited Sheria House seeking the same was overwhelming and went against the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health in curbing the spread of Covid-19,” read part of the statement. 

However, according to James Kimani a marriage counsellor, the government should work on ways to ensure the services resume as soon as possible, saying a lot of youths had opted to tie the knot at this moment as a way to minimise expenditures. 

He observed that with the pandemic affecting most operations in the country, some couples had opted to conduct weddings without the physical presence of relatives in private events or at the registrar’s offices. 

Kimani said the influx of applications at the registrar’s office was expected, adding that the government’s ban on public gatherings was a relief to many who had fears of digging deep to entertain huge crowds who come to witness weddings. 

“I have handled more than 30 sessions via Zoom in the last two weeks on couples seeking to wed and the majority of them are youths.

After coronavirus pandemic, you will be surprised on the number of people who would have married,” said Kimani. 

Kimani at the same time called on prospective couples to be patient with the process, noting that with the current pandemic there was need to observe the set guidelines by the Ministry of Health. 

A Nakuru-based advocate Kipkoech Ng’etich, said proper mechanisms should have been put in place to ensure all guidelines are observed and each party is served without violation of the same. 

Ng’etich said the surge in the numbers of people visiting the offices was not surprising as people will be taking advantage of the hard economic times to solemnise marriages without involving many people. 

“As long as people observe the set guidelines, they should be allowed to marry and the government should provide the necessary support they deserve,” said Ng’etich. 

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