Government is building consensus to rename the marriage and divorce bill 2009. The name of the bill has already attracted angry reactions from some sections of the public such as religious bodies that preach against divorce.
Mary Karoro Okurut, the minister of Information and national guidance says that should the name remain as it is, it will appear as if government is encouraging divorce. Okurut says government wants to send a positive message since the bill touches on traditional beliefs that society holds dear.
She emphasized the need for more consultation regarding the Bill. Members of Parliament have been given a two week recess to consult their constituents on the controversial clauses in the bill such as those on property sharing and cohabitation among others. A change of name would be welcomed by Religious leaders who in the past suggested that the Bill be called the marriage relations Bill and not Marriage and Divorce Bill. This is because the Church does not recognize divorce.
However, Miria Matembe, a woman activist says the religious leaders have failed on their part to promote morality in the society and should mobilise people and wed them.
The Divorce and Marriage bill seeks to ban widow inheritance and allows women to divorce their husbands when they are permanently impotent.
The bill also provides for sexual perversion, cruelty, desertion, change of religion, sodomy, bestiality, homosexuality and pornography as grounds for divorce.