Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
ZIMBABWEANS have received the “news” of a hoax story alleging mandatory polygamy by men in Eritrea with excitement with many men taking to social media to express their eagerness to travel to that country.
This is after an alleged copy of a scanned decision of the Grand Mufti (Eritrean Parliament) surfaced on a Kenyan newspaper website claiming that the State of Eritrea was calling on all men in their country to marry at least two wives.
The Grand Mufti went on to state that the Eritrean government had assured its people that it would pay for the marriage ceremonies and accommodate the newlyweds.
The document, which could not be independently verified, says any man or woman who opposes the decision “will face a life sentence”.
As a result, Zimbabweans have been thrilled by the purported decision with some claiming that they are relocating to Eritrea in order to ‘buy one and get one free’.
All the attention on Idols SA judge – Gareth Cliff, has since been shifted to Eritrea with people posting pictures of visa application forms and fake flight itineraries on various social media networks – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp.
Pictures of beautiful light skinned women who were said to be Eritrean were also posted to further entice the many men who seem interested in relocating.
Other pictures showed hordes of men reportedly in a long queue at the Eritrean Embassy in Zimbabwe, jostling to get a visa to that country, while others posted pictures of consulates in other countries – visibly overwhelmed by multitudes of men.
According to Google maps navigator, it takes three days and nine hours to travel the 6011KM journey from Harare to the capital city of Eritrea, Asmara by road. By aeroplane, the journey should take 19 hours 30 minutes.
Known polygamists – South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma and Swaziland’s King Mswati III, have not been spared from this craze as memes of them making the great trek to Eritrea emerged on social media. Captioned on the memes were messages such as King Mswati telling his royal wives that he was off to Eritrea and President Zuma supposedly arriving in Eritrea.
The King of selfies, Zifa boss Phillip Chiyangwa, has not been spared as he was captioned in one of the memes saying he had forgotten something in Eritrea.
Local women have also joined in on the fun as they are posting their best photos captioned: “Did you know I’m from Eritrea?” in efforts to show Zimbabwean men that locals are as good as women from Eritrea.
This bit of publicity has made Eritrea an overnight tourist destination with some researching more on the country, looking for the cheapest flight and accommodation there. Eritrea, which is nestled on the horn of Africa, is surrounded by Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
It has, however, turned out that the whole story on the Eritrean government urging men to marry at least two wives was a hoax.