English, Fake News

Polygamy is not legal in Eritrea; this story is a hoax


A post on social media claims that every man in the African country Eritrea must marry two women. Otherwise, they will go to jail. Let’s fact-check the claims.

Claim: Men in Eritrea should marry two women, else, they will go to jail.

Fact: This is a hoax that started in 2016 by a gossip website. Back then, the Eritrean government, in response, said that the story was fabricated. Polygamy is illegal in Eritrea according to the country’s penal code. Hence the claims made in the post are FALSE.

We searched the internet with relevant keywords, that led us to a few media reports on this story from 2016. As per a report by BBC, this hoax story was first published by a Kenyan satirical column named Crazy Monday. The story went on to trend on social media for several days. Few other media reports on this story can be read here, here and here.

Response of the Eritrean Government

Responding to this in 2016, Eritrea’s Information Minister Yemane G. Meskel tweeted, ‘Media frenzy to parrot this ludicrous, fabricated & trite story of the Mufti’s presumed religious decree on mandatory polygamy is appalling.’ Another Eritrean official told the BBC that ‘”Even a madman in [the Eritrean capital]Asmara would know that this story was not true.”

According to the penal code of Eritrea, Polygamy is illegal. From this evidence, we can conclude that this is an old hoax which has resurfaced now, and the claims made in the post are false.

To summarise, polygamy has not been legalised in Eritrea; this is a hoax.


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