The long awaited court decision on Bride Price was finally made on Friday 26th March 2010. Hundreds of women, girls, young men, widows in Uganda waited for this day to come.
The Judges in the Constitutional Court made the ruling on Bride Price 4 to 1 against.
Patrick Ndira , MIFUMI’s Director of Training and Learning, said ‘You can’t sustain oppression perpetually. We shall keep chipping away at these issues until women get justice.’
The main issues at stake was women’s equality, whether refund of bride price is constitutional and whether bride price causes domestic violence.
Research by MIFUMI, a women’s rights agency, and two internationally acclaimed researchers; Professor Gill Hague and Dr Ravi Thiara revealed that bride price had mainly negative effects judging from the 61% of those interviewed.
Some of the negative effects highlighted included:
Men having to borrow widely and thus causing debt and impoverishment
Women becoming articles of property in their own homes
Makes it very hard for women to leave or return home on mistreatment, as bride price may not be able to be paid back.
Early girl child marriage
Deprivation of education for girls who are seen as a source of wealth.
Exposure of young women and children to the AIDS scourge.
MIFUMI held a referendum in 2001 in Tororo District and succeeded in getting a majority vote for reform of bride price.
Many people have come to recognize the negative impacts that Bride Price has on the status of women. These include civil society organizations like Straight Talk, Amnesty International and Action Aid amongst others, who together with MIFUMI formed a round table to tackle Bride Price in May this year.
Religious institutions in the country have also recognized the fact that Bride Price reduces the African woman’s dignity and contributes to poverty. For example the Arua and Tororo district Archdiocese have recognized this in their Synods.
In September 2008, Tororo District passed the Tororo District Bridal Gift Ordinance that prohibits demanding and refunding of Bride Price. Under the ordinance, Bride Price becomes a gift that is freely given and received.
Atuki Turner, the Executive Director of MIFUMI said, “The bottom line is that Bride Price is about the sale of human beings which is totally unacceptable in this post-slavery era. We are re-arming ourselves and will continue to fight for women’s rights. We know that culture is not static as can be seen with FGM. The fight for justice continues. We intend to appeal.”
For more information contact:
MIFUMI Box 274, Tororo. Tel. 0392 966 282