Husbands or wives in Uganda who have sexual intercourse with their spouses without consent could be imprisoned for five years, New Vision reports.
The new Marriage Bill criminalizes sexual intercourse by a husband or wife without the consent of their spouse, and prescribes a punishment by a fine not exceeding one hundred and twenty currency points or a jail term not above five years or both.
The Bill establishes “reasonable” grounds for a husband or wife to deny their spouse sex, including poor health, surgery, child birth and reasonable fear that engaging in sexual activity can cause physical or psychological harm.
“Where a spouse has sexual intercourse with the other against their consent…, the Act establishes criminal liability and shall be punishable, on conviction, by a fine not exceeding one hundred and twenty currency points or imprisonment not exceeding five years or both,” the Bill states.
The proposed piece of legislation is a revised version of the touchy Marriage and Divorce Bill 2009 that has previously been discussed in Parliament, but not passed due to its contentious provisions on cohabitation and dissolution of matrimonial unions.
The review process, which was undertaken by Uganda Law Reform Commission (ULRC), has seen the word divorce removed from the name of the Bill, but most of the proposals in the original piece of legislation have been retained in the new draft ULRC is set to present before the House for debate.
The contentious clauses that would have made it mandatory for cohabiting partners to share property acquired during (cohabitation) have been removed.
The Bill however permits divorce under certain conditions.
It was presented by ULRC in Kampala on Tuesday to representatives of government and private institutions.
Representative government and private institutions are expected to submit detailed memoranda containing more proposals to further refine the Bill in few weeks’ time.