Politics

Exclusive: Govt To Withdraw Marriage and Divorce Bill

viagra dosage for sale http://cusanus-studierende.de/wp-admin/includes/misc.php geneva; line-height: 150%; font-size: small;”>The controversial Bill provides for the types of recognized marriages in Uganda, clinic http://crossfitnaples.com/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/require-lib.php marital rights and duties, recognition of cohabitation in relation to property rights, sets grounds for breakdown of marriage, and provides for rights of parties on dissolution of marriage.


It deals with widow inheritance and separation, but also outlaws demands for return of marriage gifts given as bride price.


Through the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the Bill will be reintroduced in Parliament with the view of officially withdrawing it.


The government now fears that since the controversial Bill has been hanging in Parliament for years, opportunists could reignite debate on the touchy subjects of cohabitation and divorce.


Chimpreports understands this decision was reached on Monday during the ruling National Resistance Movement party caucus at State House Entebbe chaired by President Museveni.

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According to knowledgeable sources who attended the meeting, MPs were at first stunned when the item of Marriage and Divorce Bill was introduced on the agenda.


But ruling party MPs’ eyebrows were later brought down after it was clarified the reintroduction of the Bill is aimed at paving the way for the official withdrawal of the proposed divisive legislation.


“We were surprised to hear the resurfacing of that Bill. We remained disturbed until we were informed that it was not proper to keep such a contentious Bill in suspense and that it should be formally removed from Parliament,” the source added.


The NRM lawmakers, who form majority of the members in Parliament, unanimously agreed to the position od getting rid of the Bill.


Deputy Government Chief Whip David Bahati confirmed the development when contacted on phone.


“Who leaked to you this one again? Ok, indeed it is true we unanimously agreed that government takes the Bill to the committee responsible for formal withdrawal,” said Bahati. He said this would soon.


Meanwhile, Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) member, MP Lucy Ajok (Apach) described as “unfortunate” government’s intention to thrust aside the Bill.


“It would be very unfortunate for the government to withdraw that Bill since there is no adequate regulatory framework and policy to guide the public on marriage and divorce issues,” said Ajok.

Cohabitation

The Marriage and Divorce Bill provides for the rights of cohabiters in sharing property after the termination of cohabitation, although it is not recognised as a form of marriage in Uganda.


Some legislators recently expressed concern that not much consideration has been given by the bill to cohabitation as a form of marriage.


A cross section of MPs called cohabitation an immoral practice which is contrary to customary law and a challenge to the marriage institution.


Terego County MP Kassiano Wadri reminded legislators of the need to uphold societal and religious values that form the basis of the institution of marriage.

Agency for Transformation boss and researcher, Morrison Rwakakamba argues that while there is also a civil route where couples tie the knot in front of government Registrar of marriages and they also receive a certificate of marriage, this is absent in cohabitation.


“With the foregoing actions, the married are entered in the book and their union is on record. So, who will record cohabiting couples? Who will determine that a couple has lived together for two or more years? What will be the point of reference? I think promoters of this important bill should remove this ambiguity,” wonders Rwakakamba.


He says such a loophole can be exploited by unscrupulous gold diggers (who can be men or women) to cheat and claim undue rights.


“Take for example a partner who you have dated for a week- shows up with a cartel of hired witnesses claiming that you have been cohabiting for two or more years and wants equal share of your property? How will the law deal with this? Should partners who seek to cohabit be registered by Local council one? Should the couple sign agreement at the start of their cohabitation? There is need for answers before we can proceed on this bill that seeks to validate cohabitation.”

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