Monday April 1 2013

MPs return to debate marriage Bill

Government Chief Whip Justine Lumumba (R) and Buyende Woman MP Veronica Kadogo

Government Chief Whip Justine Lumumba (R) and Buyende Woman MP Veronica Kadogo (C) hand over an envelope to a priest in Buyende District during consultations recently. PHOTO BY OPIO SAM CALEB 

By Monitor Team

Lawmakers will tomorrow reconvene to decide the fate of the Marriage and Divorce Bill, 2009, a contentious piece of legislation that has polarised the country and pitted the Church against feminists.

President Museveni during Easter Sunday prayers in Ruhaama Constituency, Ntungamo District yesterday, said laws which are against people’s interests and values cannot be enacted, promising to reign in those championing the Bill to move at the right pace.
Residents across the country have continued to voice their views on the controversial Bill, currently before Parliament, with majority urging their MPs not take part in passing it into law.

In Budyebo Constituency in Nakasongola District, the electorate vowed not to vote for the ruling NRM if Parliament goes ahead and passes the Bill.
This was during a consultative meeting at Lwampanga Sub-county convened by the area MP, Mr Muruuli Mukasa, at the weekend. Mr Mukasa doubles as the Security minister.

The residents said the Bill was at variance with their cultural values and advised Parliament to substitute it with another law that can curb the alarming cases of witchcraft.

In Kyoga County, Amolatar District MP Anthony Okello found a hard time convincing a group of women who were determined to burn copies of the Bill.

Mr Okello arrived at Nabweyo Trading Centre in Namasale Sub-county at 2pm, little did he know that a group of women had gathered firewood to burn the Bill.

It took the intervention of Mr Yeko Odongo Ebong, a representative of the Lango paramount chief in Amolatar, to convince the women.

“The book has no problem, but the legislators who proposed it on the floor of Parliament are the ones to blame,” Mr Ebong said.

In Karamoja, the elders threatened to visit their traditional spiritual sites, locally known as Akirikets, to curse those pushing for the Bill.
“We are going to slaughter several bulls and eat blood for seven days in the Atekerin Mountain to fail that Bill and curse those MPs pushing for it,” said Mr Loputhyang Lomokol, a resident.

The elders expressed their disillusionment during a consultative meeting called by the State Minister of Minerals, Mr Peter Lokeris, held at Namalu Trading Centre in Chekwi constituency in Nakapiripirit District.
In Bushenyi, residents asked the MPs to first interpret the Bill in local languages so that they internalise it before giving views.

Three Members of Parliament Odo Tayebwa (Municipality), Raphael Magyezi (Igara West) and Michael Mawanda (Igara East) met the residents on Friday at the Town Clerk’s gardens in Bushenyi Town to consult on the Bill. They accused the MPs of being bias, saying they only gave the bad side of the Bill.

In Erute South, the electorate warned Mr Sam Engola that his risks losing his seat if the Bill was passed.

Compiled by Yasiin Mugerwa, Samuel Kaweesa, Steven Ariong, Paul Aruho, Bill OKeth, Hudson
Apunyo, Martin Ssebuyira & Perez Rumanzi