East Africa

Pass marriage Bill immediately, Matembe says

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Former Ethics Minister and women rights activist Miria Matembe has urged Parliament to pass the Marriage and Divorce Bill without further delay.

The Bill, Ms Matembe insists, gives guidance on how couples should marry and how they should “get out” in case the marriage fails.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga sent Parliament into recess last week to allow them enough time to consult constituents about the Bill.
They return on April 2 for final debate on the Bill.
President Museveni while meeting female MPs and the NRM Caucus on Thursday and Friday last week respectively, indicated that the Bill should not be rushed to allow further consultations.

Law matters
“No body is rushing the law. The Obote government in 1963 instituted the Kalema Commission which came up with the Kalema Report, whose findings have never been implemented,” Ms Matembe said yesterday, adding that “Museveni’s government instituted the Uganda Law Reform Commission which traversed the country and came up with the Bill which has been frustrated by the government over the years. Aren’t people divorcing and aren’t they cohabiting? Let’s have the Bill passed into law immediately”.

Whereas President Museveni supported the Bill, he made proposals for amendments to some of the controversial clauses.

Among the controversial clauses is the non-refund of bride price, criminalising forced conjugal rights, property sharing and cohabitation. According to Ms Betty Amongi, the chairperson of Uganda Women Parliamentary Association, Mr Museveni agreed that cohabitation be left out of the Bill.

Mr Museveni reportedly supported the clause on marital rape, arguing that some men force women into sex shortly after they have given birth.

mnalugo@ug.nationmedia.com

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