A number of Churches and Mosques are not filing marriage certificates of the weddings they conduct on behalf of Government.
The law requires Churches and Mosques to file marriage certificates with the registrar of marriages in the Registrar General’s office.
“Every marriage celebrant or registrar at the districts, must remit revenue and file returns for all marriages celebrated or registered at the end of each month to the Registrar General at URSB, but most places of worship are not filing returns,” Bemanya Twebaza, the registrar general at Uganda registration Service Bureau.
Government charges sh35,000 for each marriage solemnized in any gazetted place of worship or by the registrar.
Bemanya explained that many wedded couples whose certificates have never been sent to the Bureau have missed out on scholarships, succession rights and visas because the State does not recognize them as married.
He added: “It is safer to find out from our offices in different parts of the country whether the church you wedded from returned the certificate,” she said.
Why churches are failing
Speaking to New Vision, Eva Kentaro Mugerwa, the director of civil registration said that most churches do not return the certificates because they think they have the authority from God to conduct the marriages so no need to return certificates.
“Churches should know that they do not operate from a vacuum. Religion operates in a regulated environment. In that case, with respect to marriage, the registrar of marriage, regulates on behalf of Government,” she said.
How couples find out
Kentaro advised couples to visit the Bureau and conduct a search to find out whether their certificates were returned at a fee of sh25, 000.
Kentaro warned that churches that fail to submit returns will have their license to wed couples revoked.