Court to deliver ruling on men marrying more than one wife

KAMPALA– The Constitutional Court has finalized hearing of the matter in which Women Probonal Initiative (WPI) a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) challenges the African custom of men marrying more than wife and same time discouraging a woman from having multiple partners.

Justice Irene Mulyagonja (Right) with other justices in court (last year)

On appearing before a panel of constitutional court justices led by Irene Mulyagonja, Counsel Rose Wakikoona and Patrick Murungi the Petitioner’s lawyers, asked court to adopt their written submissions as the final submissions in the matter.

Since there was no objection from the Attorney General’s side (Respondent) represented by Senior State Attorney Claire Kukunda and Brian Musota, the justices allowed the prayer and promised to deliver the judgement on notice.


About the Petition

The Human Rights Advocacy body in the constitutional petition which was filed in 2021, contends that the custom of a man marrying more than one wife cultivates an environment were women and children compete for one man’s attention there y breeding emotional pain and torture which leads to violence and a violation of women’s right contrary to Article 43 and 44 of the 1995 Constitution for the Republic of Uganda.

“That the practice and custom of one man marrying more than one wife at a given time violates women’s right to equal sharing of property with a single spouse due to the fact that shared husband has to ration time with multiple several wives contrary to Article 31(1)(b)which guarantees that every woman has the right to equal rights and in marriage, during marriage and its dissolution.”

The petitioners submitted in court that the omission by the Ugandan Government to outlaw the custom and practice of one man marrying more than one wife at any one given time contravenes Article 32(2), (5) and 33(1) which requires the Ugandan government to put in place laws to prohibit laws, cultures, customs and traditions which are against the dignity, welfare or interest of women and ensure that women are accorded full and equal dignity of the person with men respectively.

“That Section 4(2) of the Customary Marriage (Registration) Act is null and void due to the fact that it permits polygamous marriages in Contravention of Articles 21(1)-(3), 24, 29, 31, 33, 34, 43 and 44(a) of the Constitution.”

The petitioner asked court to issue orders that the word “monogamous” from the Penal Code’s definition of “husband” in Section 1(h) is struck out, So that the Penal Code now applies to all husbands, monogamous or polygamous as well as any other order that court may deem fit.


















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