Source: New Vision
Workers under their umbrella body, National Association of Trade Unions (NOTU) have described the controversial Marriage and Divorce Bill 2009 as being Western-oriented. The group argued that the piece of legislation looks to destroy the marriage and family systems in Uganda. Mudirikat Mukasa, a NOTU member, said that the bill is poorly packaged and that "it was brought with an ill-intention of killing African cultures."

"If the bill is passed into law, it will destroy the concept of marriage - an institution created and embraced by God," he said.

He also alluded to biblical teachings, saying that the Bible prohibits married couples from divorcing.

Already, discussion of the contentious bill has been put aside, with another on pornography taking its place in the spotlight.

The anti-pornography bill, which has also attracted divided public opinion in almost equal measure, has gotten many focusing on the miniskirt - with some agreeing that it is an indecent dress code, while others sharply contrasting the argument.

Ethics and integrity minister Rev. Sam Lokodo has come out clearly recently, saying that "we are not targeting miniskirts."

He said: "Ours is a campaign against the vulgar and obscene way of exposing the human body for fun or anyone who depicts unclothed or under-clothed parts of the human body that are erotic in nature."


So the two bills make for some of the most controversial legislations ever tabled before the Ugandan Parliament.

During their consultative meeting at Noble View Hotel in Ntinda, the workers agreed that the title of the shelved bill - Marriage and Divorce Bill - is misleading.

They did not see sense in proposing laws governing marriage and at the same time proposing laws supporting divorce.

Early this month, Parliament suspended further debate on the Marriage and Divorce Bill for three months to enable lawmakers do thorough consultations.

Workers MPs Charles Bakkabulindi, Theopista Nabulya, Arinaitwe Rwakajara and Marion Tunde are apparently in countrywide consultations with workers as regards the legislation.

After the consultations, the MPs will compile the workers' views in a report and present it to the House.

"Some workers urge that if Parliament legislates on the marriage issues, some people may not value it, instead it will be turned into a commercial aspect," said Bakkabulindi.

MP Rwakajara revealed that some workers propose that marital rape may not be applicable to some cultures in Uganda.

He cited the Karimojong culture where a man first has to wrestle a girl/woman before he can have sex with her. Such is a culture that opponents of the law believe that it will infringe on.

Agatha Namirembe, who is the chairperson of Uganda Public Employers Union, pressed that the law directly attacks the cultural and religious institutions, and real-life situations.

"You can't condemn cohabitation when majority of Ugandans are practicing it. The proposed law is silent on children yet children are also part of families. They should also equally be considered," she said.

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