Sylvia Namusoke

Sylvia Namusoke a primary school teacher, disagreed with her husband over a building they had equally contributed to and constructed. They put the titles in the names of their son but when her husband wanted to sell the property she objected to the sale in order to safeguard the children’s property for the future. The husband began to harass her and even went to the probation office and to her school to demand that her salary should be sent directly to him since she was his property who he had paid bride price for. He had found another woman and wanted to sell the property in order to marry again. When Namusoke resisted, he started using violence. Namusoke filed for divorce when he started using death threats. He threatened to stab and kill her if he ever came across her on her way home. So Namusoke used to make sure she got home and entered her house early.

On 12th April 2003 on the very day the divorce hearing was due to take place a grenade was planted in the bag of charcoal outside her house which exploded in her face as she lit up the sigiri to make breakfast for the children, which grenade she believes was planted by him although the police could find no evidence to link him to it. Namusoke suffered horrendous internal bleeding, and injuries, several fractures on her arms and leg and was hospitalised, endured major surgery and still suffers severe pain in her knees, bodily scars and mental distress. This illustrates our argument that women being regarded as property are not only expected to have no say in how marital property is used or disposed of but are likely to be subjected to severe violence when they put up a show of resistance. The divorce finally went through but Namusoke’s husband does not believe in the divorce since he believes he married her and she is still his wife since dowry has not been refunded. She has currently lodged an appeal against the divorcee ruling in the High Court. Namusoke summarises her feelings as follows: I believe dowry does not recognise the right to ownership of property by women and children since it means that the woman is regarded as property that has been bought and cannot own property as guaranteed by Art.27 of the constitution.