Governor joho during his niece's wedding
Governor Joho during his niece's wedding

Many were astonished to read Sh250 was paid as dowry for Abubakar Joho’s daughter, Kulthum.

‘Abu’, as he is popularly known, is Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho’s elder brother. Besides the cash, the super-rich businessman got a Quran, which also cost Sh250.

Haikal Onsongo wedded Kulthum last Friday. The Nikah took place at Musjid Ummu-Kulthum in Kizingo, a mosque Abu constructed.

A source said Kulthum is the one who settled on a Quran and Sh250. According to Islamic teachings, a bride has the biggest say on what is to be paid as dowry.

Kulthum, the source said, did not want to be perceived as enriching herself through her husband, and settled on the modest dowry.

Onsongo also comes from a fairly wealthy family. Kulthum informed her father about the dowry and he agreed.

Chief Kadhi Ahmed Mohdhar says dowry is a symbol of commitment, not the price of the bride.

“Customs and traditions majorly impact on the amount to be paid,” he said.

Mohdhar said Islam recommends the dowry to be reasonable and affordable. He said Islamic teachings do not make issuing of a Quran mandatory.

“It only happens if a bridegroom wants to enlighten the bride about the teachings,” he said, adding that parents have a small window of negotiating a dowry.

Kenya is awash with cultures and long-standing traditions that encourage the issuing of thousands of shillings, if not millions, in bride price. It can be cash, cattle or material things.

Some bridegrooms, at their own volition, splashed on cars and polished apartment for the bride’s family. And brides, in some instances, have demanded these classy materials.

This was not the case when Kulthum wedded Onsongo.

On Sunday, a private party was held at Joho’s residence in Kizingo to celebrate the union of the two, who have dated for over two years.

Close friends and family attended and were entertained by artistes Ali Kiba, Ommy Dimpoz and Otile Brown.