Clerics warn legislators on Bill
Posted Saturday, March 16 2013 at 02:00
Religious leaders have asked Parliament not to rush enactment of the Marriage and Divorce Bill, warning a provision in the draft legislation setting elaborate grounds for divorce was counter-productive.
Officials of the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda on Thursday said the family is a core fabric of society and MPs must be sensitive and work to protect it. “We ask that more consultations should be done,” said Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, “for all stakeholders to come up with a clear and well stipulated law that would protect the institution of marriage.”
A law guiding relationships and marriages, the prelate noted, should have a universal application unlike the Bill excluding Muslims. The Muslims already have a separate law regulating their marriage.
Bishop Ntagali said: “We are in prayer for a law that would embrace all religions and unity among families.” The remarks come on the backdrop of Speaker Rebecca Kadaga’s lobbying of MPs, who have gone on a two-week break, to mobilise the electorate in favour of the contested Bill. Ms Kadaga reportedly said clerics were consulted and that it was unfair for them to pretend they were in the dark over the draft law.
Pastor Samuel Kajoba of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church said they demand further discussions on the Bill because some of its clauses are either mixed up or not properly defined. Other provisions, he asserted, require religious leaders to deal with them independently. “In a law, anything if undefined becomes stringent. For instance, how do you define the term ‘psychologically?”Pr Kajoba wondered, in apparent reference to provisions on marital rape.
The churches oppose inclusion of clauses on cohabitation and divorce, but MPs say the latter was extracted from the Divorce Act.
By Ephraim Kasozi