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Muslims want Islamic family law included in police training

Muslims in the country are pushing for inclusion of Islamic Family Law in the police training curriculum for fair legal aid, guidance, and support. (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – The Muslims are pushing for inclusion of Islamic family law in the police training curriculum for fair legal aid, guidance, and support.

According to Ms. Pharidah Nanseko, a consultant at Muslim Centre for Justice and Law (MCJL), this is intended to help police get knowledge on the Muslim family issues related to marriage, divorce, inheritance, and guardianship that occur daily in communities.

Ms. Nanseko said by recognizing Muslim marriage as one of the acceptable types of marriages in Uganda, the constitution is cognizant of the Muslim Family Law which encompasses family issues of marriage, divorce, inheritance, and guardianship a part of the Ugandan legal system.

“Butthis aspect is not included in the training curriculum of the Uganda police force and as a result, this affects effective, fair and just fulfillment of expected duties on the part of the police. As Muslims we want this included in the police training curriculum,” said Ms. Nanseko.

Ms. Nanseko was speaking to PML Daily at their offices in Kampala last week.

She explained that Muslims present their cases to the Child and Family Protection Unit which deals with human rights and gender-related issues and if necessary to the civil courts later and that the judgements that are given are usually lacking in the Islamic perspective.

She cited a case of Sumaya Nabawanuka Vs Med Makumbi, High Court, Kampala Family Division. The case was heard and determined by the Qadhi Courts where Mr Makumbi had applied for divorce in 2009.

“After the Qadhi Court pronouncing its decision, the other party [Nabawanuka] filed a divorce petition in the High Court of Uganda at Kampala where she raised an issue that the Qadhi courts are operating illegally as Art.129(1)(d) of the constitution has never been operationalized. Thus, there is a lack of awareness and trust in the legality and operation of the Qadhi Courts,” added Ms. Nanseko.

She cited another case, in 2013 Ms. Zainab Kyeranyi with the husband celebrated a Muslim marriage but that later the husband filed a divorce at Uganda Muslim Supreme Centre which was granted but no pronouncement was made on custody and matrimonial property.

The Muslims want the Islamic teaching in the Muhammadan Act and the Sharia law taught to police to enable police to know how to deal with the cases involving Muslims.

Mr. Jaffer Senganda, the president of MCJL, said the target is to empower the Uganda Police force in the areas of human rights and legal education, domestic violence prevention, legal aid service, and legal advice and, peace and conflict resolution.

However, the Police expressed fears that the Islamic family law might not be implemented because it lacks regulation and Act for Police to enforce it.

The Commissioner of Police Mr. Moses Irungu [Kabalya Police Training School] explained that among the Muslims, the age of marriage is at puberty [about 13 years] and yet the constitution puts it at 18 years; adding that fanatic Muslims will go with the Islamic law which contravenes the constitution.

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