Marriage & Divorce Bill Changed



The Law Reform Commission has changed the name of the Marriage and Divorce Bill into Marriage Bill.

Cohabitation which was at the centre of the controversy when the bill was first introduced has been removed. The bill previously stated that even in a cohabitation relationship, the parties had the right to share property.

The bill tabled in December 2009 provided for recognised forms of marriages in Uganda, marital rights and duties, recognition of cohabitation in regards to property rights, dissolution of marriage and rights of parties.

The bill outlaws return of bride price and prohibits inheritance of widows. It also notes that Marriage gift is not an essential requirement.

However, following controversies like in the case of cohabitation and property rights, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Kahinda Otafire, asked the Law Reform Commission to review the bill and eject all controversial clauses.

While presenting a copy of the revised bill to the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga today, Vastina Nsanze, the chairperson Law Reform Commission said they have re-cast the bill by changing the title, since it made people think one could marry to divorce. Some clauses have been re-arranged for consistency, while all provisions on cohabitation were deleted.

Nsanze says cohabitation needs to have a bill of its own, with a further study. She says cohabitation is a reality that has to be dealt with, noting however, that this is not meant to make cohabitation a form of marriage, but for property rights and rights of children born during cohabitation.

Nsanze asked the speaker to lobby the minister to table the bill.

The removal of cohabitation from the bill means the issue of sharing property for those that cohabit does not arise.

Lucas Omara Abong, the Law Reform Commission secretary states that they expect the bill to be positively received.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said that both divorce and cohabitation are a reality that Ugandans don't want to agree with. She says that as long as the controversial areas are removed, she will line up the bill for the minister to present.

The revised copy of the bill comes after wide consultations with Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) and the Muslim community among others who had initially protested the bill.

This is the latest in the many transformations the bill has gone through in the last 15 years.

Last month, Kadaga has urged legislators to ensure that the Marriage and Divorce Bill is expeditiously in the second session of the Tenth parliament.

Kadaga listed Marriage and Divorce among the stalled bills that needed urgent attention. In its various repetitions, the bill has been waiting for parliamentary approval for almost 50 years.

In 2003 it was tabled as the Domestic Relations Bill, but the draft was rejected by Muslims opposed to the provisions banning polygamy. After being rejected by Parliament in 2006, the bill was split into a Muslim Personal Bill, which covers Muslim marriages, and the Marriage and Divorce Bill. And now it is changed to Marriage Bill.


Police Investigates Suspected Poisoning of Woman



Police in Kabale has launched investigations into the death of a 61-year-old woman died amidst allegations of poisoning.

The deceased has been identified as Enid Kyita Kanagizi, a resident of Kibungo cell, Nkumbura parish in Kaharo Sub County. She is a wife to a prominent businessman, George William Kanagizi, the proprietor of Kibungo Bus Company Limited.

One of the family members who declined to reveal his names says that Kyita developed severe chest and stomach pain on Saturday evening and died shortly after. The source says that Kyita developed pain after returning from Kabale town where she had spent a day to visit her grandchild at one of the primary schools in the town.

Elly Maate, the police spokesperson for Kigezi region, says that the deceased breathed her last a few hours after midnight as family members were still preparing to take her to the hospital.

Maate says that police was forced to intervene after family members suspected foul play. Maate says that the body of the deceased was taken to Kabale regional referral hospital for postmortem as inquiries into the matter continue.

The Case is registered at Kabale police station under file number CRB 1980/017. On Sunday, police deployed at the home of Fravia Nyinakiiza Kanagizi, the second wife to George William Kanagizi after receiving information that locals were mobilising to burn her house and property accusing her of having a hand in Kyita's death.

Nyinakiiza, a former district councillor representing Maziba and Kaharo sub counties, could not be reached for a comment as she is reportedly in hiding.



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