Why Kenyans have embraced 'come-we-stay' marriages

A couple moving in together. (Courtesy/iStock Images)

Hate it or love it, ‘come-we-stay arrangements’ are here to stay. This informal arrangement of couples cohabiting without dowry payment, starring a bunch of weather-beaten wazees sporting moth-eaten suits, is more popular than going out for nyam-chom and lager.

Come-we-stay usually starts after an extended weekend of fornication, spiced by the chick spinning chapos (after buying the pan and rolling pin without the dude’s knowledge) and washing his jeans, which were last laundered during the last General Election!

This Mke Nyumbani arrangement really pumps up the jamaa’s ego, which is normally the size of a small Pacific island. Before the man can says ‘teargas’ or ‘IEBC,’ his mama would have sneaked in some two blouses, besides mouthing about better curtains she saw at Toi market. Shortly, and after sessions of breaking a certain commandment, our heroine gets pregnant with obvious consequences.

Here are 10 reasons Kenyans love come-we-stay marriages:

  1. Chief chef

The ka-woman automatically becomes the chef and well-cooked home food is guaranteed instead of the thin chapos and surwa mandondo (beans and soup) that the kajamaa was used to buying from mama wa kibanda or mutura with thufu from roadside butcheries.

  1. Dowry is costly

Kenyan men hate weddings. Come-we-stay saves them the trauma of dealing with hectic dowry negotiations and dubious wedding planners. No need for harambees and goat-eating parties to raise cash for a wedding. The two things a man loses in this arrangement is his wardrobe space and choice of what can be cooked. But hey, doesn’t a woman always know best?

  1. Lungula ya kilo

Quality sex is always served as and when needed, and which sane Kenyan man can resist this? After a long day hustling, this jamaa knows he will be served lungula without complaints about headaches or teargas if she walked through ‘Machozi Monday’ in the city centre!

  1. In-house dobi

It is time to bid mama nguo goodbye when a woman becomes a regular bedmate with her 10 suitcases in tow, making the God-fearing mama nguo jobless, just like that. There is no going to the dobi either, unless it’s for the sake of the fake Gucci suit that would resemble something spat out by a cow if it doesn’t get dry-cleaned!

  1. No kelele FM

The bachelor dictates that a come- we-stay wife will not raise hell when he comes home at 3am after watching football at his local joint. She is also not allowed to question whom he was hanging out with!

  1. ‘Ball’ bila stress

No morning-after pills are allowed in the house. How else will the guy acquire bragging rights when he is his boys if he can’t knock up his woman? ‘Ball’ will be proof enough that the guy not only works hard in the boardroom, but also in the bedroom, huh!

  1. Nyorosha mtu wangu

The temporary nature of this arrangement is what appeals most to couples. It has an exit latch: If it doesn’t work out, we just split without heartburn! No drama, no video, no lawyers and a mean judge!

  1. Jobless corner

A jobless chick treats the guy’s crib as a sort of ‘jobless corner’ as she does the tarmacking in-between forsaking manicure to fua jeans and kukanda chapo. Well, she only does this for a short while before she gets a sponsor and moves to a two-bedroom servant’s quarters in Kilimani.

  1. Tethering a dude down

After dating a guy for three years and he still shows no signs of proposing, the kawoman usually moves in, stops using the daily pill and voila! she misses her periods. This is truly where a man’s character is tested. Sadly, most of them fail and she joins the already crowded ‘Single Mothers Club.’

  1. Our kind of polygamy

Men have a leeway of enjoying wifey services at home and at the same time dating other women since come-we-stay affairs lock them in bachelor mindsets.



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