By Abdihakim Mohamed
Youth and unmarried men in Haregeisa yesterday took to the streets over the skyrocketing cost of landing their loved ones as bride prices and dowry payments go beyond their reach by the day.
Waving placards and posters inscribed with ‘STILL I AM SINGLE’ depicting their lonely status, the youth converged at Hotel Mansuur in Hargeisa saying their move was aimed at creating awareness on the effects of rising prices of setting up a family.
“Girls refuse to marry us because we can not raise their huge demands in dowry and pride prices. They prefer men from abroad whom we cannot match financially. As a result, most of us remain unmarried to an extent some of us are growing older without families” said one of the protesters.
Dowry in Somaliland ranges from $10,000 to $100,000 making it one of the most expensive if not the most expensive in the World over.
Most of those who participated in the demos said although they had jobs that could sustain them and their families, the initial cost of setting up one wards them off as they cannot raise the huge costs involved.
They threatened to remain single in protest if the situation does not change.
Although the hiked dowry prices craze is associated with Somaliland, Somalis the World over seem to be grappling with the problem and many have until now been complaining in hushed voices.
The demos by the Hargeisa men went viral on social media with many joining them in solidarity calling for an end to the craze.
In North Eastern Kenya, where I hail from, Dowry used to be paid in the form of cattle with girls asking for as little as one or two calves. However, we also caught this virus and nowadays girls will even ask for dollars in settlements where a dollar has never found its way.
Given the fact that the region has recently seen the conclusion of famous trek from Garissa to Mandera dubbed the ‘walkofhope’, I believe we also need to stage a similar sit in.