Women MPs want divorce clause in Bill
Posted Friday, March 8 2013 at 02:00
The legislators argue that the idea is not new since it was extracted from the Divorce Act and thus it would be a matter of choice between couples.
Women legislators have defended a controversial clause in the Marriage and Divorce Bill that allows couples to divorce after the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
During a press conference at Parliament yesterday, MPs on the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (Uwopa) said the institution of marriage is currently facing severe challenges, with couples separating yet women have walked away with nothing after accumulating wealth with their husbands.
The MPs’ position is, however, subject to how the House will vote when debate on the Marriage and Divorce Bill resumes next week.
The church is vehemently opposed to some of the contentious clauses in the Bill, particularly on divorce and cohabitation, but the legislators said the divorce clause was extracted from the Divorce Act and is as such not a new position to the Church.
“Christians who undertake to formalise their marriages in Church will not apply the law because it is not compulsory,” Ms Betty Amongi, the Uwopa chairperson, said.
She noted that the task will be upon the Church to ensure that believers do not opt to apply the law but follow Christian values.
The proposed law provides grounds for divorce in cases of adultery, sexual perversion, cruelty, and desertion of one’s spouse for at least two years, change of religion, incest, bestiality, sodomy, homosexuality or pornography.
The Bill also says a marriage can be declared null and void where one of the parties is impotent or unable to consummate the marriage in the first three months.
Opponents of the proposed Bill, however, argue that the law will make it easy for people to divorce at will, thus weakening the marriage institution.
But divorce under the Bill is not obvious since court has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the marriage has completely broken down.
The Bishop of Kasana-Luweero Diocese, Paul Ssemwogerere, last week described the Bill, in its current state, as anti-Christian and called on MPs to scrap sections that promote divorce and cohabitation.