By Mirembe Martina
Churches will be required to pay an astounding sh35, 000 for each marriage that they preside over according to law.
All worship places that are licensed by the state are to be charged the fee that will be collected by the church ministers who have been put in charge of collecting the money.
The law further states that failure to meet with this demand shall see the ministers face criminal charges and shall be imprisoned. According to the director Civil Registration, Ms Eva Mugerwa, the law should already be effective with the ministers already collecting the fee. “We shall soon be knocking at your doors (Churches and other places of worship) to ask for what belongs to Caesar,” Ms Mugerwa said.
For previous weddings, the church shall not be charged but will be charged for the weddings that are happening now, according to Ms. Eva. However, the ministers are required to register weddings before the law was enacted for the sake of data collection and storage. It is also to help know how many marriages have been celebrated over the years.
According to Ms Patricia Atim P’odong, Uganda Registration Service Bureau, this law will help in case of contracted marriages in case someone wants to file objections or warning to the intended marriage. Each marriage certificate is issued by the bureau at Shs5,000.
Reacting to the new law during the workshop organized by the bureau, the church ministers were not happy about the new law. “This requirement is part of an old colonial law which is about regulating something that is an inherent right,” Apostle Gyagenda Semakula of Victory Christian Center said.
Church or legal marriages are hard to obtain with fewer men wanting to be legally bound with a single woman. With the new law may come the increasing decline of legal marriages in the country.