Bride price refund outlawed – a momentous occasion
We are overjoyed; this is a momentous occasion for us here. It has been a long journey; we have prayed and waited for this for a long time. This is a great triumph for the women rights movement.
MIFUMI’s petition first appeared before the Constitutional Court in 2007. The main issues at stake were women’s equality, whether refund of bride price is constitutional and whether bride price causes domestic violence. In 2010, the Justices of the Court ruled 4 to 1 against MIFUMI, maintaining that there are varied causes of spousal abuse and that bride price alone cannot be singled out as the cause of domestic violence. The Justices however agreed that bride price refund undermines the dignity of a woman and does not recognise her contribution to the marriage.
In 2010, an appeal was lodged before the Supreme Court seeking that the Court declares bride price unconstitutional on grounds that it fetters the right to consent and reduces women to property making them susceptible to domestic violence.
We thank the judges for the time they have put in and the attention they have accorded this case. Bride price undermines the status of women and girls as it exposes them to discrimination and domestic violence. In fact the practice of bride price is a contributing factor to women rights abuses.
We are happy for this ruling; it is a land mark in the history of Uganda considering that the Marriage and Divorce Bill has been on shelves for over 20years.
We are grateful for the patriotism exhibited by the judges in advancing structural changes. This ruling and pronouncement will immensely aid the fight against women and girls’ rights abuses. Women will not anymore be chained in violent relationships neither will young girls be carted off to the highest bidder in exchange for bride price.
This is a great achievement and gives credibility to the Marriage and Divorce Bill. We therefore urge our dear parliamentarians to use this legal amendment to revisit and pass the Marriage and Divorce Bill since the bill’s intention is to protect the family institution.
Once again, we thank the honourable justices for being champions of women rights and looking out for the majority of the world’s population-women.