By Hillary Nsambu & Andante Okanya
The refund of bride price after a breakdown of a customary marriage in Uganda is now illegal. The Supreme Court has pronounced.
The pronouncement was made on Tuesday by a 6-1 majority of the judges of the Supreme Court, noting that the refund equated marriage to a business transaction.
Uganda’s Chief Justice Bart Katureebe led the panel. Other Justices were Benjamin Odoki, Galdino Okello, Wilson Tsekooko, Jotham Tumwesigye, Esther Kisaakye, and Christine Kitumba.
Today’s judgment stems from a 2007 petition filed in the Constitutional Court by Mifumi Uganda Limited, a Women’s rights lobby group, among others, based in Tororo district.
Their main issues were women’s equality, whether refund of bride price was Constitutional, and whether bride price caused domestic violence.
However, a 2010 decision of the Constitutional Court, upheld payment of bride price.
The Court then ruled that the activists failed to adduce scientific evidence to prove the connection between bride price and domestic violence, which prompted them to appeal to the Supreme Court.