Family Bill: No consensus on marriage date

As the debate on the Family and Persons Bill continued at the Chamber of Deputies on Thursday, lawmakers failed to reach a consensus on Article 151, which concerns a wedding date for prospective spouses.
MP Faith Mukakalisa.
MP Faith Mukakalisa.

As the debate on the Family and Persons Bill continued at the Chamber of Deputies on Thursday, lawmakers failed to reach a consensus on Article 151, which concerns a wedding date for prospective spouses.

After a lengthy debate, in which lawmakers voiced divergent views as well as a subsequent vote on whether setting limits is necessary, the clause did not garner enough votes and a decision was taken to scrap it.

The removed clause stipulated that, both families of the prospective spouses should fix the wedding date “within the next 12 months” after the introduction ceremony, except for the case of force majeure.”

The 12 months are counted from the time the dowry is paid.

“I don’t see why people should be concerned as to set these 12 months...this matter only concerns the parties involved,” said MP Faith Mukakalisa.

“If we set the final wedding up to a whole year, it will be grounds enough for trouble – there will be scenarios of calling off a wedding. In my opinion, why can’t people be married off soon after the dowry is paid? Why wait for all 12 months?”

Even though most legislators were of the same view, there were other lawmakers who supported the clause.

MP Joseph Desire Nyandwi said that the clause had been there even in the previous law and had “not caused any problems.”

MP Theobald Mporanyi said: “The entire Bill is good but if we are not careful, we shall disconnect ourselves from our culture.”

All is not done, however, since the Senate could reinstate the clause during its own scrutiny of the Bill, in the very near future.

With 351 clauses, the draft law which seeks to ammend the 1988 law, is largely meant to align the current legislation with the Constitution and current realities.

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