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{UAH} Parliament Resurrects Controversial Marriage & Divorce Bill

Uganda's Parliament has resurrected the controversial Marriage and Divorce Bill debate, with the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga vowing to pass it as soon as possible.

While opening the Second session of the 10th Parliament, Kadaga told lawmakers that the contentious Bill should be given priority by the August House.

Parliament is set to start receiving views on the Bill and later debate on it immediately.

However, the renewed debate on the Bill attracted mixed reactions from Lawmakers, with female MPs in positive support while male booed on as the Speaker informed MPs of the unfinished business.


"… The Divorce Act is part of our law. I think it is important we debate and take a decision instead of saying the Bill disappeared," Kadaga said.

The passing of the Bill collapsed when the report on the Marriage and Divorce Bill that had been tabled by the Parliament Committee on Gender was rejected.

Parliament was forced to shelve the Bill yet MPs in the 9th Parliament had been given Shs5m each for consultations on the Bill.


The bill is aimed at reforming and consolidating the law relating to marriage, separation and divorce; to provide for marital rights and duties.

Some of the contentious clauses include; Clause 14 that seeks to eradicate marriage gifts. It makes it an offence to demand the return of those gifts and a person who contravenes this law faces a one-year jail sentence.

Also, Clause 114 gives a right to any partner to deny the other sex on grounds of poor health, surgery, childbirth or fear of injury or harm, including fear of disease.

And if contravened, the spouse who forcefully has sex with their partner, despite denying sex on the above grounds, will have be imprisoned for a period not exceeding five years.

Section 140 of the bill also bars a spouse from petitioning for divorce before the expiry of two years from the date of marriage and a spouse must prove that he or she is suffering exceptional hardships in marriage.

Further, Clause 147 empowers courts of law to decide whether or not a marriage has irretrievably broken down.

Such grounds are adultery, sexual perversion on the part of the respondent, cruelty whether mental or physical, desertion of the petitioner for a continuous period of at least two years, incest, change of religion, among others.

Clauses 115 and 116 also spells out that the property acquired before marriage will not be shared upon dissolution of marriage unless it becomes matrimonial property.

However, those opposed to the Bill say it seeks to promote immorality since it aims at recognizing cohabiting as a form of marriage.

One f the high profile divorce cases in Uganda is that of Deputy Speaker. Last year, the High Court Family Division dissolved the marriage of Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah and his estranged wife Winnie Amoo Oulanyah.


Allaah gives the best to those who leave the choice to Him."And if Allah touches you with harm, none can remove it but He, and if He touches you with good, then He is Able to do all things." (6:17)

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