– ‘It’s a hoax, polygamy is illegal in Eritrea’
The Eritrean government has denied the viral report that it mandated its men to marry at least two wives or risk going to jail, calling it a ‘hoax’.
The story was first reported by an unnamed “Eritrean activist” who posted a scanned memo on Facebook purportedly from the Eritrean parliament ordering its male nationals to marry at least two wives or spend the rest of their lives in jail because there was a shortage of men.
The report didn’t gain much prominence until a Kenyan newspaper relayed it, driving social media nuts, with the country trending in Kenya, Zimbabwe, and far as Nigeria and Ghana.
However, it has turned out it was all false as the government has come out to debunk it. In its words, “This is false. This report is a hoax. Eritrea’s Penal Code does not permit polygamy.”
Meanwhile, Eritrea does not have a shortage of men as the hoax report alluded to. Encomium.ng checks reveals that the ratio of males to females in the country mirrors that of many other countries.
The World Fact Book shows that the population of 15 to 24 year olds in the country (making up 20.43 percent of the total population) stands at 1,333,409 with 665,900 males and 667,509 females. While that of 25 to 54 year olds (making up 31.86 percent of the total population) is 2,079,694 with 1,031,391 males and 1,048,303 females.
Also, the Eritrea’s Penal Code clearly outlaws polygamy and bigamy, and anyone found guilty of either is liable to “a definite term of imprisonment of not less than 6 months and not more than 12 months, or a fine of 20,001 – 50,000 Nafkas to be set in intervals of 2,500 Nafkas”.