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Court kicks out petition to stop polygamy

Mr Rwakafuuzi the lawyer of MIFUMI (left) together with Mr Yusuf Nsibambi a senior Muslim lawyer chatting after court. (Photo by Racheal Agaba)

KAMPALA- After 8 years in the system of the court, today Monday 24th the Constitutional court has kicked out a petition with costs that had sought to outlaw polygamous marriages in Uganda.

In 2010, human rights body, MIFUMI Uganda Limited petitioned the Constitutional Court alleging that the custom and practice of one man marrying more than one wife is unconstitutional for violating the right to equality guaranteed in Article 21(1) of the Constitution which guarantee that all persons are equal before and under the law in all sphere.

The five-member panel led by Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo dismissed the application saying that any further adjournment of a case that was filed in 2010 would be unnecessary delay.

Other justices include Kenneth Kakuru, Ezekiel Muhanguzi , Fredrick Egoda-Ntende, and Christopher Madrama.

The dismissal arose from a submission by Mr Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi the lawyer representing MIFUMI when he said that he was not ready to make submissions and that his client was not present in court thus seeking for an adjournment.

However, the happiness of polygamy will not last long as Justice Kakuru advised MIFUMI to file the petition afresh and include all the interested parties.

MIFUMI had put forward a case study of a one Hala Erikarib who says she is a Muslim woman and she well knows that her religion only favours men to marry more than one wife something that does not equate Muslim women before the sharia.

According to the petition, the practice of one man marrying more than one wife is unconstitutional for violating the freedom from discrimination guaranteed in Article 21(1) of the Constitution which guarantee all persons freedom from discrimination on grounds of sex because custom does not allow a woman to marry more than one husband.

“That the custom and practice of one man marrying more than one wife is a culture, custom or tradition which is against the dignity, welfare and interest of women and undermines the status of women and should be prohibited as demanded by Article 32(2) of Constitution,” read the petition blaming the government and Parliament for failure to outlaw the custom and practice of polygamy.

MIFUMI had argued that the practice of one man marrying more than one wife deprives the family members of equality in that marriage contrary to Article 31(1)(b) of the Constitution because since it is not customarily permissible for a woman to marry more than one husband.

 

 

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