The long awaited court decision on MIFUMI’s petition on Bride Price will be revealed on Friday 26th March 2010. This will be an historical day for Uganda and women everywhere. We all hope for the best.
Protecting Women and children From Domestic Violence
Judges to determine fate of Uganda’s women
24th March 2010
This Friday 26th March 2010 Judges in the Constitutional Court have the power to make a significant difference to the lives of ordinary women. Their Lordships will judge the important case on Bride Price which has been brought by MIFUMI, a women’s rights NGO.
MIFUMI held a referendum in 2001 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.”
MIFUMI is petitioning the constitutional court to interpret the legality of Bride Price in relation to the equality of women.
NOTES ON BRIDE PRICE PETITION
The petition on bride price by the constitutional court that was filed by MIFUMI in 2007 was heard on the 8th of September 2009.
MIFUMI a development and women’s rights agency filed a petition to the constitutional court seeking to declare bride price unconstitutional, on the following grounds:
That the demand for and payment of Bride Price by the groom to the parents of the bride as practiced by many communities in Uganda, gives rise to conditions of inequality during marriage contrary to the provision of Art 31(3) of the constitution which demands that men and women shall be accorded equal rights in marriage and its dissolution.
MIFUMI argued that the demand and refund of bride price as a condition of divorce interferes with the exercise of free consent of the parties of the marriage contrary to the demands of art 33(1) of the constitution.
MIFUMI argued that the custom of bride price causes domestic violence so that the woman is subjected to cruel and degrading treatment contrary to article 24 of the constitution as practiced by many communities in Uganda.
The respondents to the petition are the Attorney General and one Kakuru Kenneth, a lawyer, who will be arguing the Ankole position.
“If bride price is declared unconstitutional, the implication will be that hundreds of women and girls who marry under customary law will experience a milestone in their bid for equal treatment in marriage and be free from cruel and degrading treatment. Many young men who are forced to sell their land and property due to the extortionate demands of bride price will also benefit from such a ruling on this landmark case” Atuki Turner, Executive Director, MIFUMI
MIFUMI Brief Organizational Profile
The MIFUMI Project is a developmental NGO and women’s rights organization based in Tororo district. The organization has worked for over ten years to reduce the burden of poverty; addressing issues that hinder development by initiating developmental projects. MIFUMI particularly protects women and children experiencing domestic violence and bride price related violations.
We intervene through the provision of legal aid services, empowerment through micro-credits and start-up packs; health through MIFUMI health centre and education through MIFUMI primary school. MIFUMI also believes in equal opportunities, thus empowers the much marginalized, including PWDs (people with disability) and PLWHAs (people living with HIV/AIDS as a focal point of our mainstreaming activities.
MIFUMI is a not-for-profit organization registered in 1996 as MIFUMI Development Program (S. 5914/1857) under the Non-Governmental Organizations Registration Statute.
For more information contact:
MIFUMI Box 274, Tororo.
Tel. 0392 966 282