The sports category has moved to a new website.

How Duale managed to marry a former KDF general's daughter with only 4 cows as dowry

How CS Aden Duale, despite his humble background managed to snatch up the daughter of a former KDF Chief

Defence CS Aden Duale during an Iftar dinner in Nairobi on March 182024

Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale’s journey from being a bachelor to a married man is a tale that intertwines Somali culture, familial traditions, and youthful romance.

According to CS Duale’s memoirs titled, 'For the Record: The Inside Story of the Power of Politics, Lawmaking, and Leadership in Kenya’, he was fortunate to marry the daughter of former KDF boss General (Rtd) Mohamoud Mohamed.

General (Rtd) Mohamed is remembered to have led an operation that crushed the 1982 coup attempt. At the time he was the Deputy Army Commander.

Mohamed led a team of majors who recaptured the Voice of Kenya, the national broadcaster at the time from rebel soldiers, helping restore order.


He started his career as a private in the infantry battalion; the army’s lowest rank, and rose through the ranks to head the military as the Chief of General Staff (1986-1996).

As Duale wrote in his book, it was his parents who took the proactive role of matchmakers upon recognizing his eligibility as a bachelor.

With a keen eye on finding him a suitable bride from the neighbourhood, they approached the family of General (Rtd) Mohamed.


Little did Duale know, his fate was being charted by his family, a common occurrence in Somali culture where marriages are often steered by the elders.

"Sometimes, even the son doesn't know that the family has gone on that mission," he said.

Reflecting on this traditional approach, Duale explained the intricate vetting process undertaken by the prospective bride's family.

The vetting criteria involved his religious commitment, upbringing, and the family's capacity to care for their daughter were meticulously examined, with Duale himself oblivious to this behind-the-scenes scrutiny.


"The young man and woman are usually not in the picture. The deal will be reported to them once they are ready," he wrote.

Once the vetting was complete and deemed satisfactory, the onus fell upon Duale to charm the young woman and dispel any doubts about their compatibility.

Despite already having crossed paths with his future wife a few times, Duale embarked on the task of wooing her while still immersed in his studies at Moi University.

Duale also recounted instances where General Mohamed's family had assisted him, from facilitating him to join Moi Forces Academy to the KDF boss’ brother hosting him during teaching practice.

These acts of mutual aid and familiarity helped pave the path towards acceptance within the esteemed household.


However, Duale acknowledges the scepticism that often accompanies traditional Somali marriages, particularly from those unfamiliar with the culture and customs.

He emphasized the communal nature of such unions, where families play a pivotal role not only in the wedding, but also in supporting the newlyweds through advice, financial assistance, and guidance as they transition into married life.

In a past interview with Standard Media Group, Duale admitted that he paid four cows as dowry.

He explained that in his community, dowry is not exorbitant.


The wedding itself, characterized by opulence and delectable feasts, marked the culmination of their journey from engagement to marriage.

Despite societal curiosity regarding the union of a boy from humble beginnings with a bride hailing from a revered family , Duale attributes the harmony of their relationship to the foundation laid by Somali culture and Muslim tradition.

"Every time I introduce my wife, or whenever people see me with General Mohamud Mohamed, the question that lingers in their minds is how a boy from a nameless, destitute background managed to marry a beautiful woman from the general's household, which really, royalty in our hood," he wrote in the book.

Reminiscing on their early courtship, Duale fondly recalled the simplicity of young love, characterized by handwritten letters and secret meet-ups.


"If there's anything that kept our relationship stable, then it is the post office - I used to send her dozens of letters expressing my undying love, saying how much I missed her.

She also wrote to me. Her letters are sprayed with exotic scents, drip with adolescent romance, and have the urban finesse of a beautiful girl in love with a hardworking and intelligent village hustler," he said.

As they embarked on the journey of marriage, Duale and his wife embarked on the joys and challenges of parenthood, raising five sons.

Despite their illustrious pedigrees, Duale emphasizes the importance of allowing their children the freedom to chart their own paths, independent of familial expectations.


Unblock notifications in browser settings.

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: