MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE BILL: Speaker Kadaga Sends MPS on Recess

Speaker of Parliament Hon. Rebecca Kadaga
Speaker of Parliament Hon. Rebecca Kadaga

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has sent the house on recess until April 2.

Kadaga says she has sent the MPs on an early Easter recess beginning this Friday. The speaker says the MPs should use the recess to consult on the Marriage and Divorce Bill.

The speaker’s decision follows a meeting Uganda Women Parliamentarians Association had earlier in the day to rally support for the bill.

The meeting was called by female MPs to encourage male MPs to back the bill.

Few male MPs, however, turned up for the meeting organized ahead of the ruling NRM Parliamentary caucus top discuss the Bill on Friday.

Kole county MP, Fred Ebil insisted that religious leaders need to be listened to. He says consultations on the bill have taken place but only in few urban areas.

Kadaga strongly disagreed with this position while speaking at the meeting. She argues religious leaders had been repeatedly consulted in current and past parliaments on the marriage law.

Kadaga says the calls for more consultations time could be a ploy by religious and political leaders to further delay the Bill that has been under consideration for the last 47 years.

Kadaga says even sections with in government are opposed to the Bill for political reasons.

Kadaga defended the inclusion of clause on cohabitation in the Bill saying it is aimed at protecting the rights of children born under cohabitation. She says many Ugandans including members of parliament are in cohabitation relations.

The Bill that is to regulate marriages, divorce and property ownership between spouses is currently at committee stage in parliament with some of the clauses already considered.

Religious leaders and some MPs are asking Parliament to halt the debate on the bill so that they further consult.

Pastor Martin Sempa of Makerere Community Centre Church accused parliament of acting in seemingly rushed manner while considering the Marriage and Divorce Bill.

Sempa says Christian leaders may be forced to demonstrate if parliament decides to proceed with debate on the bill.

President Museveni on Women’s Day also asked parliament to go slow on the Bill. He said the NRM caucus will meet over matter.

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