Uganda: Law Proposed to Modernize Marriage and Divorce
Monday, January 4, 2010 4:45 PM

04 January 2010


According to an article in Women's eNews, a law was recently proposed in Uganda to modernize marriage and divorce. The new marriage and divorce law follows the passage of two new laws concerning domestic violence and female genital mutilation, which still await Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni’s signature. Due to differing marriage practices, the proposed marriage and divorce law will be applicable to Christian, Hindu and African customary and Baha’i marriages; but not to Muslim marriages.


The proposed law introduces the following components: 


·          A woman’s right to consent to marriage (a right that is often ignored due to traditional marriage arrangements), and to divorce her husband.

·          The prohibition of widow inheritance, which would therefore allow widows to chose a new spouse.

·          The prohibition of nonconsensual sex during marriage.

·          The equal distribution of property and financial assets in the event of a divorce.


Furthermore, the law includes provisions that would encourage co-ownership of property between spouses. Lastly, while the proposed law does not ban the tradition of the husband’s family giving gifts to the wife’s family (a practice also known as bride price), the legislation proposes that these gifts be nonrefundable. This measure would protect abused women from the threat of bride gifts being revoked in the event of a divorce.


Compiled from: Raymond Baguma, Lawmakers Set to Vote on Marriage, (28 December 2009).