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Impotence- Should you divorce if he can’t rise to the occasion?

By Vision Reporter

Added 15th October 2009 03:00 AM

FIND OUT before walking down the aisle or forever hold your peace. Once you are married, it is “till death do us part.” Impotence is not enough ground for divorce, according to the church. But again, the state might soon come up with a bill that will

FIND OUT before walking down the aisle or forever hold your peace. Once you are married, it is “till death do us part.” Impotence is not enough ground for divorce, according to the church. But again, the state might soon come up with a bill that will

By Arthur Baguma

FIND OUT before walking down the aisle or forever hold your peace. Once you are married, it is “till death do us part.” Impotence is not enough ground for divorce, according to the church. But again, the state might soon come up with a bill that will put the law and church at loggerheads.

Discovering impotence even after marriage could soon become ground for divorce. The draft of the Marriage and Divorce Bill under consultation, proposes that a woman should be able to divorce an impotent husband.

The church is against this. Impotence is defined by the Cambridge International Dictionary of English as a man’s inability to have sex because his penis cannot harden or stay hard. But the Church insists that is no ground for divorce once you are married.

So under the new bill, you will marry for better or worse, but still have an escape route through the law if you discover that he is impotent.

Relation experts say if passed, the bill will make it easy for women to walk in and out of marriages because the man cannot have an erection.

Although the draft leaked while still under consultation, it smirks of a ‘gender balance’ orchestrated game plan to ensure a balance of power in the conjugal rights of men and women.

Women activists say many women were being kicked out of marriages because they were barren. And yet the same was not applying to men.

Women activists argue that this clause is intended to create a balance. The bill seeks to create a marriage institution that is fair to all stake holders.

People marry for different reasons. It is not about sex. Others even adopt children. The law is not coming to create divorce. Divorce has always existed and it is caused by different reasons, not the law.

Tina Musuya, an anti-domestic violence advocate, argues that the bill is far from being concluded.

She says what leaked to the media is not the final draft. The draft has not reached the level where the in-put of key stakeholders will be crucial.

So what is all the fuss about making potency a matter of life and death in the Marriage Bill? Circumstances under which to prove a man’s potency are tricky.

Several questions await this bill if it comes with that clause. What happens if a man suffers a temporary medical ailment which makes him impotent?

What happens when a married man with children becomes impotent, should a woman desert her children and break up the family in search of a potent man.
What will be the yardstick of establishing impotence?

Medical experts say, sometimes impotence is temporary. Activists say the law is lacking in many aspects.
This might promote sex before marriage, rendering the law redundant because if you prove impotent before marriage, the marriage may not take place.

And if you go ahead to marry, in the circumstances that you become impotent due a natural cause, will the woman divorce you over it?

There are also age factors. Biologically, women become sexually inactive at a certain age or due to certain biological conditions.

Should a man divorce his wife after being in marriage for 30 years just because she has reached menopause. Marriage is sometimes for companionship and comfort.

Ironically, MPs have pledged to support the proposed marriage and divorce bill, arguing that a woman has a right to divorce a man who is impotent and also get a partner of her choice.

The Marriage Bill, which was formerly the Domestic Relations Bill, seeks to harmonise issues of marital property and sexual rights in marriage and domestic violence.

The spanner has been thrown into the wax, the waters have been tested, time will tell.

WHAT IS THE CHURCH’S POSITION?
Rev. Fr. Larry Kanyike, the Chaplain of St. Augustine Chapel, Makerere University says if a man is discovered to be impotent before marriage, the marriage never takes place.

So divorce over impotence cannot arise. You must stay together and uphold the marriage vows in good and bad. Marriage is for better or for worse.

Kanyike says if a couple seeks to separate, the only way they can do that is through facing a marriage tribunal which has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the couple never met the conditions of marriage.

If they were married by a cleric, they cannot divorce because at the time they are wed, the two would have been deemed to have met all the marital conditions.

Pastor Martin Ssempa thinks the clause is like scratching where it is not itching. He argues that impotence is not the major problem in the country or the major cause of divorce.

“We just have radical women activists whose relationships are in chaos. Their marriages have fallen apart and they are pushing for unrealistic laws to kill the institution of marriage.

How do you prove that a man is impotent?” Ssempa says someone should not break up a family because of impotence because an erectile dysfunction can be temporary.

Impotence- Should you divorce if he can’t rise to the occasion?

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