If you think being a couple or cohabiting for longer periods of time without the worry of getting married wasn’t an issue guess again, as a new marriage act bill could change the dynamics of relationships in Uganda very soon.
The Tororo district Woman Member of Parliament (MP), Sarah Opendi is set to table a private members bill in Parliament that seeks to recognise couples that have cohabitated for more than six months as married. Opendi informed the media about the news stating that the current marriage act is overdue for a change.
Uganda’s current marriage act was enacted 118 years ago and it’s high time it received some changes to cater for today’s modern-day life when it comes to the institute of marriage something that has lately become a dodgy topic for men and women.
“Close to 65% of Ugandans (the majority) are cohabiting. It is unfair to live with somebody’s daughter or son for 10 years while not legally registered as a married couple,” Opendi said. She also added that she had finalised consultations on the bill from a number of stakeholders and expressed readiness to present it in Parliament anytime soon.
However, what makes Opendi’s new suggestions to the marriage act more interesting is the need to include a clause that will legally consider couples as married if they have been cohabiting after a certain period of time with reports stating a period of six months.
Opendi revealed that the bill will follow the case of Malawi where couples after six months of cohabitation are recognised by the law as marrieds. If passed by Parliament and assented to by the President, all couples that have cohabited for more than six months will be recognised as marrieds.
The new marriage act if passed, could have many couples married off in no time.
The current law in Uganda does not recognise couples that cohabit as married even if they have been living together for years and only acknowledges those that actually make it official through the normal formalised marriage institutions that legally marry off couples.
However, if the bill is passed, it could present challenges to those who might find themselves trapped in relationships with those they cohabit with and are not interested in getting married. On the other hand, women activists have come out to support the bill saying that it will help women who find themselves entrapped in relationships to be recognised as legal wives upon the death of the spouse.
Opendi who revealed this during a press conference at Parliament on Monday, May 15 2023 said the new bill would provide for comprehensive legislation on matters relating to marriage under one law.
Check out: A Former Ugandan MP Surprises Nation When He Marries 2 Women On Same Day
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