SPOUSES IN UGANDA FACE FIVE YEARS JAIL FOR FORCED SEX WITH PARTNERS UNDER PROPOSED LAW

KAMPALA, Husbands or wives in Uganda who have sexual intercourse with their spouses without consent may be imprisoned for five years under the new Marriage Bill, which criminalizes sexual intercourse by a husband or wife without the consent of the spouse.

The Bill, whichprescribes a punishment by a fine or a jail term of not more than five years, or both, is a revised version of the controversial Marriage and Divorce Bill 2009 which has previously been discussed in Parliament, but not passed because of some contentious provisions on cohabitation and dissolution of matrimonial unions.

The new Bill establishes reasonable grounds for a husband or wife to deny their spouse sex, including poor health, surgery, child birth and reasonable fear that engaging in sexual activity can cause physical or psychological harm.

Where a spouse has sexual intercourse with the other against their consent the Act establishes criminal liability and shall be punishable, on conviction, by a fine not exceeding one hundred and twenty currency points or imprisonment not exceeding five years or both, the Bill states.

The new Bill was drafted following a review process on the previous Bill, which was undertaken by Uganda Law Reform Commission (ULRC), and sees the word "divorce" removed from the name of the Bill, but most of the proposals in the original piece of legislation have been retained in the new draft legislation which is set to presented to Parliament for debate.

The contentious clauses that would have made it mandatory for cohabiting partners to share property acquired during (cohabitation) have been removed. The Bill was presented by the ULRC here Tuesday to representatives of government and private institutions.

Representative government and private institutions are expected to submit detailed memoranda containing more proposals to further refine the Bill in a few weeks' time.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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