We are reliably informed that the law in force related to Marriage is of 1904. Unfortunately, many of us are ignorant that those practicing law are seeing daily encounters on issues to do with marriage. Parliament has therefore the obligation of coming up with a law that is reflective of the problems in the institution. The Speaker of Parliament deferring the Bill for three months makes a lot of sense as long as we get the input of the people who are informed. One of the contentious issues is that of Marital Rape. This bit can be got out of the law so that it is dealt with by Courts of law as the issues arise. 2ndly, it is true that Religious organizations are coming in time and again; however, the fact of the matter is that these institutions are not involved in sorting marital issues, in which case, the state has to finally handle this matter. 3rd, we are informed that the cohabitation is increasing because the bride price is an issue. It is easy for men from tribes which require high bride price to marry women from areas where the bride price is almost negligible. It is incumbent upon the Government of Uganda to make legislation in light with circumstances. It is wrong to say that the cohabitation is contrary to the religious requirements, when in most instances those who cohabit have it as a short run issue, which eventually gets them to have children, etc. It will be wrong on the part of Government to leave out cohabitation, when to date, majority of the ‘marriages’ are cohabiting type.
The Bill ought to consider people who get property in their name(s) but when the actual owner of the property is disguised. This is a ‘normal’ practice today more so among those corrupt members of Uganda society who use others to disguise the assets they own.
The position therefore is to get facts, let us have those in legal practice including Uganda Human Rights Commission to compile the facts and basing on the final findings make those the basis for the law which can not be put in the waste basket, though some aspects within the Bill can be deferred including marital rape, which can be subject to abuse or even the burden of proof in court.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
Rebecca Kadaga (Hon) Speaker of Parliament
The marriage and divorce bill has been deferred for three months.
The speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga deferred the debate to allow MPs
time to carry out further consultations.
This is after the author of the bill Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Maj Gen. Kahinda Otafiire said that MPs needed more time to explain the contents and implication of the legislation to the population.
Otafiire said that when he went for consultations he discovered that some people were totally ignorant about the bill while others had been misinformed.
The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has granted the request and agreed that even some MPs needed more sensitization on bill.
The Marriage and Divorce Bill 2009 seeks to regulate issues of marriage and divorce with marital rape and property rights being some of the controversial clauses.