• The celebrated music teacher Ian Mbugua noted that the conference was meant to create a platform for men to articulate issues affecting them.

• Lawyer Omari talked about polygamy and what Kenyan Law says about a men marrying more than one wife.

Men's Conference.
Image: Willy Nyangaresi

The first ever real Men’s Conference in Kenya was held at the Carnivore Simba Saloon on Tuesday afternoon on Valentine's Day.

The event organised by self-proclaimed chairman of Men’s Conference Stephen Letoo commenced at 2 pm and went up till later in the evening.

Topics discussed included mental health, polygamy, relationships, finances, religion, family laws, baby mamas, divorce and parenthood.

Celebrated music teacher and thespian Ian Mbugua dismissed the notion that Men’s Conference is meant to hijack Valentine’s Day.

Mbugua noted that the conference was meant to create a platform for men to articulate issues affecting them.

“Men’s Conference is just about men coming together and discussing matters relating to them. That is all it is. It has nothing to do with Valentine's. Just men coming together to share their experiences and ask questions,” he said.

Panelists  Mbugua, city lawyer Danstan Omari, Dr Frank Njenga, Kileleshwa MCA Robert Alai, Pastor Simon Mbevi and event organiser Chris Kirwa, among other things noted that masculinity among men in modern society is slowly fading away.

“Men used to provide. Today I will not shy to say, men have been womanised. They are waiting to be provided for." Omari asked.

"We are dealing with men who want to be provided for. How do we deal with it?”

Speaking on mental health, Mbugua encouraged men to seek help whenever they encounter psychological issues.

He asked men not to shy off looking for a professional or someone they trust and open up to about their problems.

“It’s up to them (men) to decide. They should ask themselves, do I need help or not? And if I need help, where can I get it from?" Mbugua posed.

"They are people who are trained to do this. There are counselors and psychologists who are trained for this. That is their job. Look for one and seek help,” he said.

Men were also advised to take up responsibilities when it comes to raising the children they sired.

Mbugua told men to ensure that they take care of their children regardless of the state of their relationship with the baby mamas.

“You made your bed, lie on it. You have to support that child because that is your child. Don’t think about the baby mama, worry about the child. That child should not suffer because of your sins,” he said.

Pastor Mbevi concurred with Mbugua’s sentiments and added that men should not wait for the court to force them to take responsibility for their children.

Dr Frank Njenga advised men to consider women who have cool tempers when the thought of having children hits them to avoid baby mama drama in future.

Lawyer Omari talked about polygamy and what Kenyan Law says about a men marrying more than one wife.

The attorney noted that polygamy is allowed under African Customary Laws but there are certain obligations attached to it.

“You are allowed to marry as many wives as you can. But under the Marriage Act 2014, you must get certificates for all of them,” he said.

Mbevi who is also a counselor in matters regarding mental health noted that there are challenges that come with polygamous marriages.

Mbugua further advised men against cheating noting that it becomes expensive when it becomes a habit.

“Stay with your one wife and sort her out,” he said.

Omari, however, explained that there is no offence called cheating in the Kenyan Constitution.

He pointed out that cheating is grounds for divorce but can even attract tough penalties for the offender.

Men of different age groups from various parts of the country attended the event whose Master of Ceremony was popular comedian cum TV presenter Dr Ofweneke alongside media personality Shaffie Weru.

Other guests included Citizen TV News Anchor Swaleh Mdoe, and Nairobi county minority leader Anthony Kiragu Karanja among others.

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