Polygamy in Uganda
Uganda has plural legal systems which recognise both monogamous and polygamous marriage. Polygamous marriages are often carried out in accordance with Islamic or customary law.
Customary Marriages Act
The Act provides that customary marriages may be potentially polygamous. The law does not place a limit on the number of wives a man can marry. The same provision was lifted and placed into the Marriage and Divorce Bill 2009. Customary marriage is a type of marriage that is contracted according to the traditions and customs and practices of each party entering the said marriage.
Marriage and Divorce of Mohamedans Act
This law recognises all marriage between persons professing the Mohamedan region and such marriages are conducted under the teachings of the Quran, chapter 4 of the Quran verse 3 recommends ‘…that marry the woman of your choice, two or three or four but if you fear you shall not be able to deal justly (with them) then only one..’. The second, third or fourth wife if taken should enjoy the same rights and privileges as the first one. They are fully entitled to whatever rights that are due to the first wife.
The Marriage Act under the Laws of Uganda
The Marriage Act renders it an offense for a person married under the customary law or contract another marriage under the Act and it is an offense for a person under the same Act to contract a customary marriage with another person during the existence of the marriage.