Further, in as much as Parliament proposes to make marital rape illegal, it fails in the process to recognise a number of deep rooted traditional practices.
Therefore, whilst the spirit with which the Marriage and Divorce Bill was proposed is a good one, several contentious clauses may not have been well thought out, as one cannot legislate on all areas where emotions have the upper-hand and where a case has to be based on its own merit.
For example, the clause where the spouse shall have conjugal rights in a marriage, in the form of marital rape.
As a concerned Ugandan as well as the spokesperson of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC), an institution that is a member of the Inter Religious Council of Uganda, I have been closely following the debate on the Marriage and Divorce Bill and I have noted a number of lapses, which all stakeholders should explore a little more before pronouncing their positions about it.
My first concern is about the distribution of properties between husband and wife during divorce. By emphasising the division of family property between the couple at the time of divorce, the Bill seems to undermine the importance of stable marriages and families in nation building. It sends a wrong message to wives that the shortcut to get rich quick is divorce.
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“The Bill was there in the previous Parliament, but because we had not caucused on it, we postponed it. Now, it is being discussed in Parliament without a caucus scrutinising it first,” he said.
The President was addressing thousands of people, who turned up for the International Women’s Day celebrations at Wabinyonyi Sports Grounds in Nakasongola district yesterday.
During the ceremony, over 100 people, mostly women, were recognised with the 50th Uganda Independence Medal for their “outstanding service and loyalty to the nation”
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Kadaga then called out the constitutional affairs minister, Kahinda Otafiire, to introduce the Bill to the House.
However, a hesitant Otafiire delegated the task to Deputy Attorney General Fred Ruhindi, who introduced the Bill to the House that was packed to capacity.
Chairs had to be improvised on the floor of the chamber to accommodate the large number of MPs that turned up.
MPs, mainly Muslims, tried to oppose the introduction of the Bill, saying it was against the Muslim faith, which allows the marrying of more than one wife.
“The minister should first tell us what happened to the Muslim Law, which was addressed to the Government by the Muslim community,” said Latif Ssebagala, the parliamentary Imam.
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