Marriage and Divorce Bill Infringes On Our Bedroom Matters

3036 Views Mbale, Eastern Region, Uganda

In short
Mbale residents reacted passionately in discussions about the marriage and divorce bill. Some accused the government of trying to interfere with what goes on in their bedrooms.

A section of residents in Mbale have described those pushing for the endorsement of the marriage and divorce bill as failures in marriage.
During a consultative meeting organized on Monday by Michael Wehirike, the Bunghoko South County MP in Mbale, residents wondered why government would want to come up with a law on their private lives.
Some of them argued that those pushing for the bill have issues in their marriage and want the bill to prop-up their failure.
Jacob Opolot, the Elgon Regional Police Commander, says government should stay away from the matter concerning people’s bedroom affairs. Opolot, who expressed his personal view on the matter, asked the public to reject the Bill in totality and continue to respect what their culture says about the issues of marriage.
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Umukuka Wilson Wamimbi, the Bugisu cultural leader, says such a law is not unnecessary. He says there is no wisdom in the Bill to be turned into a law. He says that having stayed in marriage for more than 40 years he sees no basis for such a law.
Umukuka Wamimbi says in the event that government pushes for it, there should be an amendment in some clauses especially on property sharing. He says government should consider the period of time a woman has stayed in that marriage to qualify her to get a share of the matrimonial property in case of divorce.
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Margaret Namukasa, a resident of Busoba village, says most people are ignorant about the contents and intentions of the bill. She says some people are opposing it ignorantly and asked government to give members of parliament ample time to sensitize people on the Bill.
Namukasa argues that government cannot pass the law without alterations in the property sharing clause. She believes the duration a person has been married should be considered in case of property sharing.
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Most women opposed Clause 14 which says bride price gifts are not a condition for marriage and once given they cannot be reclaimed by the man.
Elizabeth Wekoyera, a mother of four from Busiu Sub County, says such gifts should be returned to men once they are divorced. She argues that this would encourage women to stick to their marriage and do all that they can to guard against divorce.
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Sarah Nambuya, a mother of three from Busoba cell disagrees who supported clause 14 says that there is no need to reclaim the marriage gift after divorce because of the time wasted.
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Most women in attendance demanded changes to clause 114 on the conjugal rights and marital rape.
Connie Nakiyenze Galiwango, the Mbale District woman MP, says that only a woman who has just given birth and the sick can be excused, but the women must not deny their husbands sex.
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Members of Parliament are currently traversing their constituencies under the directive of Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to consult on the controversial marriage and Divorce Bill. 


About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.