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Table bills to protect children and women, Kadaga tells MPs

Re-table marriage and divorce bill, speaker asks MPs

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has called upon Members of Parliament to consider re-table the pending bills related to protection of children and women.

The pending bills include the Sexual Offences bill and Marriage and Divorce bill.

Kadaga was addressing a dialogue on ending gender based violence and HIV/Aids organized by the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association at imperial Royale in Kampala.

She expressed concern over the high rates of sexual defilement in schools perpetuated by teachers which violates children’s rights.

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She also decried incest cases rise among fathers who are defiling their daughters.

Kadaga said that it’s high time to name and shame the sexual offenses culprits in public.

The Speaker also accused mothers of contributing to the defiling of the girl child by sending them to markets at late hours as well as walking them long distances which culminates into defilement.

The Chairperson of the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association Monica Amoding said that if the Sexual offence Bill is enacted into law, it will end sexual offences against girls and women.

The executive Director Uganda Network on Law and Ethics (UGANET), Helen Kiconco called upon   MPs to legislate on Laws that will help to defend the plight of women.

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The Marriage and Divorce bill seeks to prohibit widow inheritance, grants certain rights to cohabiting couples and equalizes prejudiced divorce provisions which granted absolute rights to men. It was designed in part, to improve women’s rights in marriages and to reform and consolidate the laws relating to marriage, separation and divorce.

Tabled as the Domestic Relations Bill, in 2003, the draft was rejected by the Muslim community opposed to the provisions banning polygamy. After being rejected by Parliament in 2006, the bill was split into a Muslim Personal Law Bill, which covers Muslim marriages, and the Marriage and Divorce Bill for the other religious denominations.

The drafts were however shelved following wide condemnation from a section of religious leaders and members of the public arguing that the proposals within were alien to the African culture.

Some of the controversial proposals include among others, those that pertain to bride price, a customary practice requiring payment of consideration by a groom to his wife’s family. The current Marriage and Divorce Bill states that bride price cannot be treated as a prerequisite for marriage, and makes criminal the act of demanding repayment of bride price.

RELATED: Parliament to re-table Marriage and Divorce Bill

ALSO READ: Women MPs vow to ensure passing of Marriage and Divorce Bill

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