The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has called on government to present and expedite the passing of bills which address challenges associated with domestic relations.
Kadaga said there are several amendments that the courts recommended to the existing laws relating to domestic relations but the executive has been reluctant to introduce them to Parliament.
Kadaga made the remarks while officiating at the opening the 3rd Annual Muslim Human Rights Conference, organized by Muslim Centre for Justice and Law held at Imperial Royale Hotel, on Wednesday.
“We have a number of judgments that have been handed down to the Marriage Act such as the grounds for divorce. I expected the Attorney General to move faster and abide by the decisions of the court but he has not” Kadaga said.
Kadaga said that the minister for justice had also been silent on some of the bills relating to domestic relations currently before Parliament.
“As you know this Marriage and Divorce act, the minister responsible is afraid to come to Parliament. I put it on the order paper hoping that the minister will wake up and say this is my responsibility, but he has not” said Kadaga.
The Speaker said that whereas Parliament is mandated to move such amendments through private members, there are financial implications attached to legislations that require funding by government. She said it is therefore prudent that government leads that legislative process.
“I do not know whether private members can move all those amendments successfully yet they are supposed to be implemented by government. There is an issue on whether the amendments we make have a financial implication,” she said.
Kadaga also expressed concern over the Kadhi’s courts whose mandate includes settling domestic disputes, but have not been supported to operate on a larger scale.
“The Kadhi court is provided for in the constitution and for it to function, we need a budget to take care of salaries and putting up facilities. It is now 20 years and it has never been effected,” Kadaga said.
The President of the Muslim Centre for Justice and Law, Umar Nyanzi said that in their efforts to help the poor to access justice, they face challenges in courts of laws when they fail to identify the laws under which certain cases can be adjudicated.
“Without a proper law, the vulnerable persons cannot get justice. We have tried to assist people access justice but in most cases, the judge will ask you to cite the law under which the vulnerable person is protected” Nyanzi said.
He also noted that the existing laws have not been amended and he hopes it is high time the amendments are made.