By Henry Sekanjako
MPs under the umbrella National African Women Ministers and Parliamentarians Uganda chapter have backed a proposal in the marriage and divorce Bill 2009 that suggests imprisonment for a maximum of five years for men who force their wives into sexual intercourse.
Clause 114 of the Bill under conjugal rights, provides that a spouse may deny the other spouse the right to sexual intercourse on reasonable grounds, which include poor health, surgery and after child birth.
“In many relationships, there are women who are forced into sex even when they have just given birth. There are women whose health conditions have worsened as a result of marital rape, which endangers their lives,” said a participant.
The MPs argued that many women had experienced silent torture by their husbands who force them into sexual intercourse.
“We should have this Bill passed because it will help women,” noted Sylvia Namabidde, the chairperson of the association.
The proposal was also supported by male MPs who subscribe to the women association. Robert Kasule Ssebunya, the Kyadondo North MP, backed the proposal, saying: “This clause should be held in the Bill because some men are rough and behave like animals”.
The MPs made the remarks yesterday at the Parliamentary building Kampala while addressing journalists ahead of Women’s Day celebrations on Friday.
As the country prepares to celebrate the International Women’s Day, MPs called upon the Government to ensure economic empowerment of women to enable them sustain themselves economically.
They also urged the Government to address challenges such as lack of access to education, health and other social services which have hindered the development of the grassroots women initiative.