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Parliament asked to enact matrimonial property law

By Francis Emorut

Added 2nd May 2016 10:18 AM

They argued that matrimonial property law is important in delivering a just system for sharing of property equally between husband and wife when the marriage is dissolved.

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Dr. Sylvia Tamale (left) and senior lecturer at Makerere University School of Law Patricia Atim during a national dialogue on the evolving status of divorce law in Uganda. Photo by Francis Emorut

They argued that matrimonial property law is important in delivering a just system for sharing of property equally between husband and wife when the marriage is dissolved.

In the absence of Marriage and Divorce law women rights activists want Parliament to enact matrimonial property law.

They argued that matrimonial property law is important in delivering a just system for sharing of property equally between husband and wife when the marriage is dissolved.

"The Marriage and Divorce Bill was shelved by Parliament and there is no statutory law governing matrimonial property in relations in Uganda," Patricia Atim, a senior lecturer at Makerere University School of Law said.

To drive her point home Atim said countries like Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda have the matrimonial law and therefore, Uganda should borrow a leaf from her counterparts.

She emphasized that there is need for Uganda to adhere to international, regional and national legal instruments that promote the equality of sexes, non-discrimination, and equal property rights and remedies rights violations.

She made the remarks during national dialogue on the evolving status of divorce law in Uganda in Kampala.

The dialogue was organized by international Governance Alliance (iGA) in conjunction with Womens Lawyers Association of Uganda and Legal Aid Service Providers Network and supported by the Ford Foundation. 

"It's therefore, imperative that Ugandan's legal framework changes with changing times and parliament borrows a leaf from its neighbours," Atim stated.

Dr. Maria Nassali the executive director of iGA observed that women shouldn't be treated as not having special rights.

"Parties in marriage should enjoy equal rights and dignity as spouses," Nassali said.

Professor Sylvia Tamale pointed out that Parliament is dragging its feet on family law 

"Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda have gone ahead of us in passing matrimonial law which recognizes non -monetary contribution of wives," Tamala said.

She noted that the family law should be holistic and intermediary. 

Professor Frederick Jjuuko criticized the executive and the Legislature for appearing not to be concerned about the rights of vulnerable in a rapidly changing society.

He said the legislation process has stalled and stunted and asked the Judiciary to do something about it.

"Divorce Act hasn't been amended. How does the lawyer argue its case?" Jjuuko asked.

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