He says he is too smart for one wife. And so, David Zakayo Kalukhana, a man from Teresia Village on the edge of Kakamega County in Kenya, has eight wives and seven concubines with whom he has sired 107 children.The 63-year-old, whose village lies along the expansive Nandi escarpment in Kakamega North sub-county, first got married in 1987 but felt he needed more.“A head like mine cannot be managed by one woman. It is like a big sack of maize which has to be divided into smaller parts for ease of movement. I need many wives so that they can manage the amount of brains and ideas in my head. I am too smart for one wife,” Mr Kalukhana said.
Mr Kalukhana is not a wealthy man. He said he owns a half-acre parcel of land on which he grows some maize to feed his family. He also farms sugarcane.To provide for his large family, Mr Kalukhana does menial jobs, including landscaping activities.In his compound are three semi-permanent houses with iron sheet roofs and mud walls.Despite the struggle he goes through to fend for his kin, Mr Kalukhana stands tall, likening himself to the biblical King Solomon who had 700 wives and 300 concubines.“I have wives in different places, including in the neighbouring Nandi County,” said Mr Kalukhana.Every month, Mr Kalukhana has to buy five bags of maize, which is distributed to his wives to ensure the children do not sleep hungry.“When I’m not farming, I go out to do menial work, including constructing stone fences around people’s homes. The work is well-paying and it has helped me make some money to keep my family going.
They will never sleep hungry as long as I’m alive,” said Mr Kalukhana.The polygamist says nothing stops him from marrying more young wives to be part of his family.But there are unmissable signs of a man living in dire straits even as he stirs excitement in his neighbourhood. He wore plastic shoes and his wives were in rubber sandals as they marched in a line from the first wife’s house, with some carrying young babies in their arms.Chief’s barazaOne could easily mistake the gathering for a community meeting or a chief’s baraza. The wives and children were mingling freely.During breakfast, the family convenes in the open compound as the wives cook.
As the family takes breakfast, they chat and joke with each other.“When I married my first wife Jesca Asembo in 1987, I felt like she was not up to the task. I have added more but I still have the urge to add more,” said Mr Kalukhana.His firstborn daughter, named Naliaka Kalukhana, is married and living away from the family.“
Ms Asembo said she has never felt jealous of the other wives.“I love my husband and that is all that matters. Even if he brings in additional wives, I will not be bothered because I understand him. He is a responsible man and whatever he does is always right because he takes his time to decide on what to do,” said Ms Asembo.Ms Dorine Kalukhana, the seventh wife, said she used to be jealous when she was newly married but later got used to it.“Today, there is no jealousy. We all live in harmony and no woman feels jealous of the other. Our man treats us equally,” she said.Ms Ashley Nechesa, another wife, said their husband is responsible and has always done his best to make his wives and children happy. Praising his bedroom skills, she said he is also responsible.“Nimezaa naye watoto. Anawatunza, anawapeleka shuleni (We have sired children and he takes good care of everyone and educates them),” said Ms Nechesa.