Domestic Relations Bill to be passed soon, says Sekandi

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In short
Women MPs are pushing for the debate on the Domestic Relations Bill after it has been on the shelves for years. The bill was split into two to cater for Christian marriages. Muslims will have theirs fomulated.

The Speaker of Parliament Edward Kiwanuka Sekandi has promised that the 8th Parliament will handle the Domestic Relations Bill before its term expires in less than two month's time. 

Sekandi told MPs that the bill has failed to be passed due to poor packaging and marketing because its proponents portrayed it as a law meant to benefit only the women nd punish men.

The speaker said several men and male MPs shunned the bill on grounds that it was intended to disempower them. He was, however, quick to add that with recent amendments made by the Uganda Law Reform Commission, the bill is now appropriate and fit for passing into law.

Sekandi said if passed the bill would be a big bonus for the 8thParliament, a feat that eluded previous parliaments. ,

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The speaker's revelation was prompted by cncerns by Jane Alisemera, the Bundibugyo District Woman MP, who pleaded with parliament to pronounce itself on the Domestic Relations Bill. 

Alisemera, who doubles as the leader of Uganda Women Parliamentary Association, said it was high time the parliament left lasting legacy on the bill that has continued to gather dust on pralimentary shelves.

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The bill provides for, among others, the punishment of perpetrators of domestic violence and sets out procedures and guidelines for the protection and compensation of victims of domestic violence. Others are the jurisdiction of courts including protection and enforcement of orders.

The bill also provides for the empowerment of family and children’s courts to handle cases of domestic violence. Cases of domestic violence are proposed to be handled by the local council courts, the family and children’s court and the magistrate’s court.

The bill has been split into two to cater for Christian and Muslim marriages.

The proposed law, which has been in the works for over a decade now, is still with the legal affairs committee of Parliament.