UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | The Government of Uganda, seeking to address the disparity of women and promote the rights of women, proposes a new Bill. The Bill proposes jail time of seven years for anyone that is found guilty of evicting widows, widower, orphans, or other lineal descendants from a home in an event of the death of a spouse.
What Does the Current Law State?
According to The Succession Act of 1906, a widow, unlike a widower, has no entitlement to the matrimonial home she shared with her deceased husband, rather the ownership is passed to the nearest male lineal descendant of the deceased. The Principal Act also states that a widow does not own a residential property when she remarries, but the Act does not say anything about widowers who remarry, hence, spells out clear discrimination towards females.
In the case of Law Advocacy for Women in Uganda versus Attorney General, the Constitutional Court declared that the Succession Act is unconstitutional and discriminatory against females.
What Does the New Bill Propose?
The new Bill proposes a clause that states that if a person attempts to, or evicts a lawful person of a residential holding, he or she is subject to a fine not exceeding 168 currency points i.e., USh 3.36 million or imprisonment not exceeding seven years or both.
Rosette Mutambi Kajungu, former Member of Parliament, initially presented the Bill for Mbarara, and the Bill was passed in April 2021 by the tenth parliament. However, President Yoweri Museveni returned the Bill to the parliament for reconsideration of a new arrangement, i.e., for sharing property when a spouse dies.
The parliament then stated that if a person dies without a will, it entitles the spouse to 80 per cent of the property and the relatives/other dependents receive the remaining 20 per cent.
The President still did not agreed to it claiming that the law had no rational justification and was miles apart from the initial provisions. According to the President, the new provisions would create a conflict between the spouse and relatives and proposed that the widow or widower should be entitled to 50 per cent and the relatives receive 49 per cent. The remaining one per cent would go to the customary heir.
What’s Happening Now?
The jail term clause proposing jail time of seven years for anyone that is found guilty of evicting widows, widower, and orphans in the new Succession Amendment Bill has been tabled before the parliament and signed by Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka.
The amendment has not yet been passed into law and is awaiting approval by the President.
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