Why was this husband letting his wife solely pay for their shelter, food and child’s school fees? As Nandi pointed out earlier, lazy, coddled mummy’s boys-turned-husbands can so “stress women that they want to commit suicide.”
Liz Beteise (not real names) is married to a ‘mummy’s boy’ who uses his money to party instead of providing the home’s needed finances. And when she tired of paying all the bills, she sought counselling. Her husband, instead of promising to at least pick the electricity bill, told the counsellor and Beteise that some people were born to work and provide. In his opinion, others were born to be provided for, even when their female providers were feeling too strained to do so.
Sarah Ndikuwa, the O/C of the Child and Family Protection Unit at Katwe police station, makes these additions to the list of men that financially neglect their families: the poor, drunkards and men who just like to party. She says they receive three to four complaints on neglect every day. And when it is school fees time, complaints hit the ceiling.
“If you had come during school fees time, you would have seen such long queues here!” Ndikuwa says.
What men say:
What reasons do such men give for their actions?
Gerald Kato, who has friends who fall in this category, says because these men’s wives work, their husbands feel the women should fend for their homes.
“They reason that as long as their children are in school, the woman can do the rest,” Kato says.
The men pay the school fees, but is that enough? The cost of ordinary home needs, which include rent (in some cases), water and electricity bills, clothes, house staff’s salaries and food, usually surpass what is spent on school fees.
“Most of these boys have more than one wife,” says Kato, explaining why some of his friends do the least they can for their families. He adds: “They leave their wives to suffer while they take care of other wives [or girlfriends].”
Some men, however, have noble reasons for failing in their providing role. One man says he uses his money to set up income-generating projects for his family, say poultry farming, and leaves his wife to take care of their home’s needs. Leo Lukenge, an accountant, says women complain too much when they contribute to a home’s finances.