Uganda Marriage and divorce Bill
UWOPA asks male MPs to support Marriage and divorce Bill. File Photo

UWOPA asks their male legislators to support Marriage and Divorce Bill as it returns on the floor of Parliament

Male MPs at Uganda Parliament, have been urged by their female counterparts under their umbrella: Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) to support the Marriage and Divorce Bill that is going to be tabled again, before parliament.

Kaberamaido County legislator, Veronica Eragu Bichetero said that many legislations projects instituted by women movements in various countries have failed, because men are not engaged fully in these projects right from the beginning, thereby creating a spirit of fear in women.

Bichetero says this time when they return the Bill for discussions, male legislators should fully be involved, to offer them their support.

“As UWOPA, we are now recruiting men to help us with the Marriage and Divorce Bill. We stopped on Clause 23 and when we return it (to the floor of Parliament) we will have something different,” Bichetero said.

Bichetero made the remarks while addressing South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Women legislators’ delegation, during a meeting on exchange and exposure visit, held at Parliament.

The meeting was organised by the Women International Peace Centre (WIPC), aimed at assisting women leaders in conflicts or post conflicts in other countries, to learn more about women empowerment from their Uganda counterparts.

In her further remarks, Bichetero encouraged S. Sudan and DR. Congo visiting legislators to make sure that their male counterparts are ever involved in their projects, for them to achieve their desired goals.

She informed them that Uganda has empowered women through 35 per cent representation on Cabinet, Parliament, Local Government Councils via affirmative action and the establishment of women Councils.

This comes after touching testimonies presented by the visiting legislators, saying men in their respective countries have dominated leadership, pressing women down.

Soriri Muhingirwa, one of the Congolese legislators who visited Uganda, said that their visit to Uganda was purposely to seek knowledge on how they can turn into a pro-women empowerment group in their country.

“We are happy to see that women in Uganda have come up at all levels. In DRC, we have now modified the law concerning the participation of women in politics. The problem we have now is how to influence other policies,” Muhingirwa disclosed.

Congolese legislators revealed that currently, women representation at all levels of leadership in Congo is now about 20 per cent. Of which the Speaker of the National Parliament is the largest achievement in the country.

Congo legislators add that women in their countries are still facing gender inequality, despite, new reforms made in the law, under President Felix Tshisekedi.

While the South Sudanese legislators team disclosed that women in South Sudan face blockage when it comes to growing in leadership.

They gave an example of women Cabinet Ministers appointed in 2005, who are still leading. South Sudanese Women legislators also revealed that youth in the country’s political structure doesn’t have youth representatives and there’s no affirmative action for Persons With Disabilities as well.

Addressing the delegates, WIPC’s Board Chairperson, Elizabeth Lwanga revealed that women representation by the African Union Office of the Special Envoy for Women, have only 7 per cent who have met the global target of 30 per cent women representation in Parliaments, out of the 24 countries assessed.

Among the countries include; Tunisia, Senegal, Mozambique, Uganda, Burundi, South Africa, and Rwanda which is leading with the highest percentage globally.

“Rwanda is still leading globally with 61.3 per cent female representation in its Lower House of Parliament. Unfortunately, majorly of the countries in the study, that is 58 per cent of 14 of the 24 countries have less than 20 per cent of female representation in Parliament, as of April 1,” Lwanga revealed.

The visiting women legislators were briefed and equipped by their Uganda counterparts on key elements in women empowerment that include; involving male leaders in legislations to enhance gender equality and tasking appointing authorities to consider women when allocating top government positions, promote girl child education and seek to rule out bad cultural practices that discourage women empowerment.

The 9th Parliament dropped 2009, Marriage and Divorce Bill tabled by the government after the majority of men legislators rejected some particular Clauses in the Bill, which according to them were particularly in favour of women.