Female MPs defend Ugandan Marriage and Divorce Bill

Female MPs in Uganda have been defending clauses in the Marriage and Divorce Bill, relating to divorce and the sharing of marital property.

During a recent press conference, MPs in the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) backed a clause that allows divorce if a marriage has irretrievably broken down.

These female legislators also defended a clause related to the sharing of marital property. MPs Connie Nakayenze, Ronnah Ninsiima and UWOPA chairperson Betty Amongi said that in Uganda couples have been separating but women have had to walk away with nothing, despite having accumulated wealth with their husbands.

The Bill was recently brought before the Ugandan parliament and has met stiff opposition from male legislators, as well as religious leaders.

A number of male MPs spoke out during parliamentary sessions, according to the All Africa news website. Terego MP Kassiano Wadri commented on the clause that would allow women an equal share of marital property:

“We are going to have a problem with fleecing women”, he said. This concern was echoed by other male MPs.

The Bishop of Kasana-Luweero Diocese, Paul Ssemwogerere, also criticised the Bill. He called it anti-Christian and called on MPs to scrap sections that he felt promoted divorce and cohabitation.

The proposed law provides grounds for divorce in cases of adultery, sexual perversion, cruelty, and desertion of one’s spouse for at least two years, change of religion, incest, bestiality, sodomy, homosexuality or pornography.

With regard to shared property, only matrimonial property such as the matrimonial home, household items acquired before or during the marriage are to be equally shared on dissolution of the relationship.

A vote on the Bill is planned for this week.

 

Photo by sweggs via Flickr under a creative commons license

Marilyn Stowe

The senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA.

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11 comments

simachew kerebih - March 11, 2013 at 9:26am

Denying property sharing after divorce is violating equality of women which is totally unacceptable and illogical.
We are in 21st century and we shouldn’t think back to the darkest, illiteracy, ……..age!

Emmanuel - March 11, 2013 at 11:04am

I feel what this female MPs have been trying imply, that is, let us treat each other fair and make this world a better place without regard to which gender you belong. I believe husband or wife should share equal rights to the law. I’m not pro or anti to divorce. I’m a Christian but I am not saying that divorce is a sin just like some other Christians think. Yet, I believe divorce is not the end solution for what seems to be a dreadful life with your husband or wife. Many couple after divorce experienced heavier burden like lack of support system in raising children and broken family crisis. We dont want that to happen as much as possible. We must sort out ways to save our marriage and seek professional advise. Recently, i read a review of a well praise book about saving marriages (http://www.savemarriagecentral.org/). You might as well discover things what you dont get from regular marriage counseling.

Sperm - March 11, 2013 at 10:52pm

The Ugandans have obviously seen how barbaric and third-world things are for males in Europe and North America.

Let’s all be hypocrites and tell the Ugandans that they are in the dark ages, when in fact our cultures have demonstrated for the last half century that nothing should be shared after divorce, and that children and assets become automatic property of one parent after divorce.

That said, it would be nice if there was a model nation somewhere that actually did know the meaning of sharing.

NAKAYE ANNET - March 12, 2013 at 7:40am

the bill is wonderful ,it’s going to fulfil jesus’s dream of promoting equality ,praise be to God.equality be4 God to equality be4 human congulations ladies

Karl Rosenqvist - March 12, 2013 at 10:52am

If I understand current Ugandan legislation then today a man might marry a woman with a lot of land and money and then “fleece” her and she has no rights to this property. Seems only fair to allow women the same chance.

nassuna shamim - March 13, 2013 at 8:18am

this bill is unfair , underminding and draining our cultures as the Baganda. let the parliament get other bills tabled before them. this issue is even understood by a a young kind. so mps save this country and discuss other better issues for the development of this country.

nakitto zam - March 13, 2013 at 9:15am

That is wonderful but lets just pray because it is going to commercialize marriage

MUSINGUZI KENNETH - March 14, 2013 at 6:52pm

The bill wouldn’t be bad but something lacking. i advocate for the respect of each others efforts towards the construction of ahome. I therefore suggest that,whatever is shared, should be between spouses that contributed towards that very property. I wouldn’t see any reason as to why anewly married woman would take share of the previous woman’s property. This will enhance hard work in that,every woman will work knowing that,she will only take share of what she has worked for and not assuming what another woman worked for.

One - March 18, 2013 at 11:59am

Men in Uganda very often leave their wives they have spent many years with for younger love. This bill serves to protect such women. Its only fair that property is shared to cater for the time lost. Not that i support divorce, but if it gets to this, let property be shared, why do men have to get away with every thing. May God protect the Marriages in uganda and the women in particular.

caleb - March 30, 2013 at 7:56pm

i agree that Uganda women have been unfairly treated in most divorces in the past. i also acknowledge the need for fair settlement and thus commend the effort of female activists in trying to achieve this.
my concern is this obvious outcry to punish men using this new marriage bill. please MPs u can do better. let us not rob Peter to pay Paul. there is no answer but more chaos with the passing of this bill, probably more violence and negative attitude towards women. we all want the best for our country. let us not wage war btn husbands and wives. all the best.

kamusiime innocent - April 3, 2013 at 2:14pm

real that bill will not promote stability in families and then wedding should be abolished. I actually dont support that bill but why is that corrupt finance department giving MPs money. you mean MPs arenot paid for transport to go back to their constituencies. IS THIS REAL UGANDA ? where resources are channelled to un productive stuff. FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY.

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