The New York Times | Uganda – Supreme Court Bans Refunds of Bride Price

Posted August 7, 2015 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Culture ~ 4,257 views



KAMPALA — Ugandan men can no longer demand a refund of the so-called bride price after divorce, the Supreme Court said on Thursday, in a landmark ruling campaigners said would make it easier for women to leave abusive relationships.

The court declined to declare the bride price unconstitutional but agreed that the idea of refunds should be ruled out because it fails to recognise women’s contribution to a marriage and treats marriage as a commercial transaction.

It is common in Uganda and other African countries for husbands and their fathers to demand a refund of the payments – commonly paid in the form of cattle – they have made to a woman’s family in cases where the woman seeks a divorce.

Women’s rights groups have long argued that the threat of having to repay the bride price can trap women in abusive and violent relationships.

“The court banned the demand for a refund but it maintained the bride price itself as a vital part of traditional marriage,” said Idah Nabunya, a spokeswoman for the Mifumi Project, a development and women’s rights group that brought the case.

“Now women who are being battered don’t have to stay because they don’t have bride price to pay back. It’s a victory for us.”

Not everyone was cheered by the ruling, however.

Bonny Mbarebaki, a commercial truck driver in the capital Kampala, told Reuters it was unfair to men in cases where a separation was triggered by a woman’s infidelity.

“Sometimes you pay bride price and then a woman comes into your house and starts sleeping around,” he said. “What’s wrong with a man demanding a refund? I don’t get it.”

(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Edith Honan and Hugh Lawson)

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Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


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