The law is intended to bring civil law, where a man is only allowed one wife, into line with customary law, where some cultures allow multiple partners.

But male MPs voted to amend the new marriage bill to allow men to take as many wives as they like without consulting existing spouses.

Traditionally, first wives are supposed to give prior approval.

MP Samuel Chepkong’a, who proposed the amendment, said that when a woman got married under customary law, she understood that the marriage was open to polygamy, so no consultation was necessary, Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper reports.

Mohammed Junet, an MP representing a constituency from the western Nyanza province, agreed.

“When you marry an African woman, she must know the second one is on the way and a third wife… this is Africa,” Kenya’s Capital News website quotes him as saying.

[source BBC Africa]