Today, a group of young men staged a peaceful demonstration at Maansoor, Hargeisa, that was the first of its kind ever seen within the boundaries of the Republic of Somaliland.
The young men wished to put forward, as was articulated by one of them, two fundamental points: (a) that they were young, single, eligible and ready to tie the marriage knot in accordance with the Somaliland faith and traditions, and (b) to protest against the spiralling costs of marriage in Somaliland these days.
To get married in Somaliland, a young man has to have a hefty sum in hand. Estimates range from US$10000 t0 $15000. This, experts say, has contributed to a fall in marriage statistics, pushing further and further the age in which young Somalilanders get formally hitched.
It was only a few months back that religious clerics in Somaliland set the betrothal (meher) price at $500, calling on marrying couples and their families to keep down the cost of marriage and to clip the long process leading to the establishment of a ‘married’ household.
Islam does not condone high dowry prices and/or extravagant marriage ceremonies.
Today’s demonstration makes a valid point that needs to be seriously attended to. It remains to be seen whether the government comes up with the requisite support for a healthy family not fettered by a myriad of avoidable, unnecessary handicaps twoof which are high betrothal costs and rampant unemployment among youth.