The new Succession Amendment Act recently assented to by President Yoweri Museveni, hands men the license to sleep around with women and leave them upon death with nothing to share in their estate.
It may have shocked you, but that could be the impression yours truly gets after reading and reflecting deeply about the new law.
The Succession (Amendment) Act 2022 that was assented to by President Yoweri Museveni on April 10, 2022, has dealt a huge blow to hopes of achieving fairness possibly by majority of Ugandans whose mothers, sisters and daughters stay in relationships where they don’t get legally married.
The law, not only challenges the basic tenets of Uganda’s Constitution that treats all humans is being equal before the law, it has opened a can of worms in the feminist movement.
With the coming in force of the new Succession Law, staying with a man for even fifty years is no longer a good case for a widow to line up for a share of the deceased’s estate.
In a rather controversial way, the law forbids an unmarried woman from claiming even a saucepan from her husband’s estate, even though it recognizes the children she bore with the deceased.
And for that reason, the children would be upon the demise of the father, entitled to a share from the seventy five percent of the estate set aside for the benefit of the orphans.
In another cruel provision, men (and may be women) who get convicted for evicting their partners from their matrimonial homes, can be jailed for up to seven years, or slapped with a fine of UGX3.3m or both.
Those partners who keep their relatives in their matrimonial home, the law confers benefits to them in case of demise to the tune of up to four percent of the seventy five percent of your husband’s wealth upon his demise.
Out the ladies and enter the men. The law entitles a legally married woman up to twenty percent of her husband’s wealth regardless of whether she had moved in with other men by the time of his demise.
The framers of the law, perhaps forget about the reality that even their own daughters and sisters are potential concubines or candidates of illegimate marriages.
Considering that no woman chooses to be a concubine or an illegitimate wife on her own, the framers of the law, and the Fountain of Honor honour perhaps ought to have taken a step back to reflect on the many women out there desperately begging their spouses to legalize their marriages.
Such dejected women stoop even as low as begging their spouses to at least carry out the simplest function of visiting the parents.
Yet the sense of unfairness and injustice isn’t restricted to the so-called illegitimate wives alone. There’s is something embedded right there inside this law which the officially married sisters, once they come to know about it ,would find unpalatable to chew.
The law gives green light to the widows to share equally the twenty percent share provided for them under the law. For the record, this excludes widows not officially married to the deceased as the case might be.