One of the poorest countries in the world, Burundi, has put pressure on cohabiting couples with an announcement in late May 2017 which will force couples to get married or face legal consequences.
President Pierre Nkurunziza launched a campaign to “moralize society” and produced the Government order on any cohabiting couples to be married before 2018. Many couples in the African country say that they don’t marry because they can’t afford to do so.
One story emerged of a farmer stating that he couldn’t afford to marry because the price that his partner’s family had put on his bride was too much for him. He, named only as Pierre, said that he and his partner had already been threatened with fines by Government officials.
It was also reported that any child that was born out of wedlock would no longer be eligible for free education or medical treatment.
The Government’s reasoning behind the new order is to combat a population explosion in the country and they are in search of their form of order. The Burundi Government, has been in crisis since Nkurunziza announced in 2015 that he would run for a third term. Burundi has seen hundreds of deaths in the country since he launched his controversial bid for a third term in office.
Mr Nkurunziza who is a born again Christian plans to combat the rise in pregnancies among schoolgirls as well as women being taken advantage of by cohabiting with several men simultaneously.
Interior ministry spokesman Terence Ntahiraja stated that church and state-sanctioned weddings were the solution to the country’s population explosion and that it would be their patriotic duty to enter wedlock.
“We want Burundians to understand that everyone is responsible for his life, we want order in this country,” he said.
“All this is done within the framework of the patriotic training programme,” he said, referring to an initiative launched by President Nkurunziza.
No details were released about what consequences would be issued to those remaining out of wedlock and in “informal” relationships.