By Ritah Kemigisa
The Tororo District Woman MP, Sarah Opendi, has been granted leave of the House to introduce a Private Member’s Bill, entitled, “The Marriage Bill”.
The bill seeks to provide comprehensive legislation on matters relating to marriage considering that the Marriage Act enacted 118 years ago has not been amended.
Opendi observed that over time, the laws regulating different types of marriage in Uganda have become obsolete in light of the Constitution, government policies, and international best practices that have also evolved.
She cites bridal gifts as one critical area that the bill will redefine.
The bill recognizes marriage gifts but proposes that gifts should not be among the requirements for marriage.
As such, the proposed law criminalizes a spouse who demands a refund of gifts with a penalty of not less than one-year imprisonment.
Opendi meanwhile says this will go a long way in protecting the rights of women in marriage, noting at often, women have been ill-treated based on bridal gifts.
The proposed marriage bill mentions that a spouse can only apply for divorce after two years from the date of marriage.