The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has tasked the UN Women to lobby government to present the Marriage and Divorce Bill for consideration by the House.
She noted that government had abdicated its responsibility to present necessary legislation, a gap that Parliament has to fill.
“If you look at the Constitution, there are many areas where Government was supposed to bring proposals [bills], but since 1995 they haven’t come,” said Kadaga.
The Speaker made the remarks while meeting officials of UN Women to discuss pending bills in Parliament as well as possible amendments to the Sexual Offences Bill 2015 and the Marriage and Divorce Bill 2009. The meeting was held at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala on Monday 14 May 2018.
“On the Marriage and Divorce Bill, you should visit the Minister for Justice and ask him to come to Parliament. I am ready to bring the Bill to Parliament as long as the mover is present,” Kadaga said.
The UN officials recommend that the Bill be renamed the Marriage Bill and that cohabitation needed to be provided for.
“Cohabitation is not covered in the Bill. This leaves partners and their property unprotected yet the majority of Ugandans are in the regime of cohabitation,” said Justice David Batema, a consultant at UN Women.
He added that gang rape and marital rape needed to be added to the Sexual Offenses Bill such that the perpetrators are punished according the law.
The officials noted that the Bill would help deal with the high rate of domestic violence considering that no region in Uganda records a domestic violence prevalence rate under 40 percent.
Kadaga said Parliament would take into account the issues raised on the inadequacy of the Marriage and Divorce Bill 2009, and work to get it passed, after completing the budgeting process.