Two people in Luweero have narrowly escaped lynching after they were attacked by a mob for supporting the contentious marriage and Divorce bill. Gertrude Nakyanzi and Joseph Mukasa, both residents of Luweero town council were roughed up by residents on Wednesday in a consultative meeting on the bill convened by Brenda Nabukenya, the Luweero District Woman MP.
It all started when the duo took the microphone and expressed their support for the cohabitation and property sharing clauses in the Marriage and Divorce bill. This didn’t go down well with other residents opposed to the bill. As a result, irate residents charged at Mukasa and blocked him from making further comments on the bill. A group of youths shouting on top of their voices, jumped to the podium, grabbed the microphone from Mukasa and dragged him on the ground.
They accused him of supporting clauses in the bill that seek to infringe on their cultural rights and religious beliefs. It took the intervention of the aides of the MP led by Lule Mazanganda and Emmy Ssemugabi, the LC 3 chairperson of Luweero Sub County to rescue Mukasa from the mob.
Mukasa who was later taken to the MP’s bench for protection asked her to support the bill to protect cohabiting couples. He said it was unfair for a woman to spend many years cohabiting with a man to leave empty handed when they break up yet she could have contributed to the success of the home.
Residents blocked Gertrude Nakyanzi from commenting on the bill saying that she lacks the moral authority to debate on marriage affairs. They accused her of supporting cohabitation, which was copied from foreign cultures. Nakyanzi later told URN, men were stifling debate on the bill because they want to continue mistreating and exploiting their women.
Godfrey Kaddu, a resident of Luweero town council says that if passed in its current form, the marriage and divorce bill would destabilize marriages. He wondered how he can be accused of marital rape saying the bill has gone too far to infringe on couples private life. Emmy Ssemugabi, the LC 3 chairperson Luweero sub county condemned the intolerance exhibited by residents. He asked parliament to delete the clauses that seek to ban bride price, promote property sharing and impose restrictions on conjugal rights.
Residents unanimously voted to trash the bill when the MP put the matter to a vote. Brenda Nabukenya, the Luweero Woman MP condemned the earlier incideents of violence but said the reaction from residents is a sign that the bill is an uncalled for..
MPs are expected to report to parliament on April 02 from two weeks of consultations on the Marriage and Divorce bill.