By Jane Nambi
The former principal judge, James Ogola has advised parliament on the marriage and divorce bill.
Justice Ogola said the issue was not a light one but rather a sensitive issue which goes far beyond than just common marriage issues. The marriage and divorce bill seeks to, among other things, legalize co-habitation as a form of marriage and also increase the women’s status in and after marriage.
Talking to the press today morning, Justice Ogola said, “The marriage bill deals with very fundamental issues of the family.” Some of the things raised in the bill are property sharing after marriage, bride price, among others to which he said, “Property is an important issue, these are fundamental issues which have to be dealt with carefully.”
So far, parliament has approved no bride price return after separation and property sharing after separation of a couple. However, parliament is still debating on whether to accept a clause in the bill which states that if a couple spends ten years and more in co-habitation, living as husband and wife, then they shall be declared legally married therefore are entitled to property sharing just as a legally married couple.
This clause though has caused a lot of stir in parliament and the society in general. Religious leaders refute this clause saying it would undermine the role of religion in the country. Women MPs are also against it and they were known to have voted most in the first two approved clauses in the bill.
At the moment, the bill is still being discussed upon before it can be passed into law.