The Cross Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU) has appealed to the 10th Parliament to consider Retabling and passing of the Marriage Bill, 2017 as a gift to the marriage institutions in Uganda before their term comes to an end.
The call was made during the launch and dissemination of the research report on the nexus between culture and the Marriage Bill, 2017 presided over by the Minister of Gender, Peace Mutuuzo.
In 2019, CCFU commenced research to examine cultural resources in Acholi, Lango, Teso, Buganda, Alur, Busoga, Karamoja and Tooro that may complement or contradict the provisions in the Marriage bill.
According to the report, there were a number of contentious clauses within the bill which were thought to contradict with culture but this has been found not to be true.
“All these cultural communities share common values and principles that support provisions in the Bill such as the protection of women and girls, social safety nets within the family and clan settings, women’s authorities and responsibilities, the need for consent for additional wives in polygamous marriages and in case of widow inheritance as well as issues of marital rape,” Said CCFU Executive Director, Barbra Babweteera.
Babweteera said that, the bill doesn’t recognize cohabiting as a form of marriage adding that there is no single cultural community that upholds it as a form of marriage.
Babweteera said that the bill also speaks against the issues of widow inheritance unless the widow has consented as well, looking at the cultural practises and norms, of some of the cultural institution, equally one doesn’t forcefully inherit a widow but allow the woman make a choice.
“What is now left of us is to continue sensitizing the public and particularly men to diminisfy what is perceived that the bill is not working in their interests,”Babweteera said.
The Minister for Gender, Peace Mutuuzo committed the Ministry to work with all stakeholders to ensure that the bill is pulled off the shelves and passed into law.
“Now that cultural institutions give the bill a go ahead having established links and the other contentious issue which was the title and was changed from Marriage and Divorce Bill to Marriage Bill, we are very certain that the bill shall be considered and passed by Parliament,” Mutuuzo said.
Kaberamaido Woman MP, Veronica Eragu Bichetero who is also a proponent of the bill says that the bill is now before the committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs having debated and passed 23 clauses.
“The bill is now a property of Parliament having been tabled for the first reading as Marriage and Divorce Bill in 2009; it is good to note that the Speaker and the committee handling the bill are much willing to have it processed into law,” Bitechero said.
She suggested that it’s time to put the bill before Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee MPs three of which have expressed interest to run for the position of the Deputy Speaker and have them committee to process it through.
Those who have expressed interest in the seat of Deputy Speaker and are members of the committee include; the committee Chairperson, Jacob Oboth Oboth, Mohammed Nsereko and Robinah Rwakoojo