My colleague Raymond Baguma wrote an amazing article for Women’s eNews that ran yesterday. Check an excerpt below, then click to read the rest on the Women’s eNews website.
Uganda’s parliament recently passed bills on domestic violence and female genital mutilation. Now one female lawmaker hopes colleagues will approve in January long-awaited modernizations of marriage and divorce.
KAMPALA, Uganda (WOMENSENEWS)–After parliament’s recent passage of key laws to protect women here, Jane Alisemera Babiha, chair of the Uganda Women Parliamentarians Association, is hoping a bill to modernize laws on marriage and divorce will sail through in January.
“We are anxious to have this law passed by the beginning of next year,” Alisemera told Women’s eNews recently.
“It is only natural that as women, we should champion for the cause of our fellow women who we represent,” added parliamentarian Mary Karooro Okurut, representative of the Bushenyi district. “But in our campaign, we are also enlisting the support of men.”
The proposed law grants women the right to divorce spouses for cruelty and impotence. It also gives women the right to consent to marriage, often overlooked in African traditional weddings arranged by family and clan elders.
The bill also prohibits the customary practice of widow inheritance. In some Ugandan communities, widows are inherited by their brothers-in-law even when they do not consent to the marriage. The law gives widows the right to remarry people of their choice.
Sex without consent in marriage is prohibited by the bill, and there are incentives in the law to promote co-ownership of property between spouses. It also establishes a female-friendly protocol in the event of divorce: equal division of property and finances…