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Gov’t Insists Women Should Legalize Adopting Husbands’ Names, Parliament Opposes

Parliament has rejected Government’s insistence that women using their husbands should only be nominated after fulfilling a laborious and costly legal process of changing names.

The Deputy Attorney General, Jackson Kafuuzi in a statement on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, in the presence of his senior William Byaruhanga, said that women adopting their husbands names tantamounts to change of names and therefore requires a deed poll (legal document).

“The law (the Registration of Persons Act, 2015) requires any adult person who wishes to change his or her name to do so by a deed poll. A deed poll is a legal document for changing name(s) or adopting a name by publishing the intention for change of or adopting a name,” Kafuuzi said.

“The deed poll is required to be published in the Gazette. Subsequently, the change of name is registered with the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) register. This applies to all adult persons in Uganda,” he said.

Publishing of a deed poll in the gazette costs the applicant Shs 300,000 and registering the new name with NIRA is Shs 50,000. The process takes over a month and now has a significant bearing on the nomination of Members of Parliament which is starting on October 12, 2020.

Members of Parliament uniformly rejected the move saying the lengthy deed poll and Gazette processes amounts to subjecting women to unnecessary difficulties and potentially going to constrain many from participating in the coming elections.

Dokolo Woman Member of Parliament, Cecilia Ogwal said that women taking on the name of their husbands is embedded in African culture and subjecting them to a legal process is irrelevant.

“We proudly take the names of our husbands and it has been there in Africa since time immemorial,” said Mrs. Ogwal.

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Parliament, steered by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, gave the Attorney General one day to consult with the Electoral Commission to extend the parliamentary nomination date to allow the Executive and the Legislature find a common ground on the matter.

 

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