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URSB, Buganda Kingdom collaborate to support traditional marriage registration.

Written by on September 30, 2021

The Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) and Buganda Kingdom have partnered to hold up traditional marriage registration and practices across communities.

Both institutions have been training a team of Buganda Kingdom Events Spokesmen (Abogezi b’emikolo) on the different cultural and legal requirements of customary marriages.

Officiating at the event yesterday, the Registrar General of URSB, Mercy Kainobwisho told trainees about the values of encouraging their clients to have their unions registered.

“For any society and the kingdom to develop, the basic unit of society, the family must be documented to support their progression. This is what marriage registration confers to the couples. I urge you all to support all traditional marriages to get registered. The benefits are immense,” Kainobwisho said.

She added that registration of customary marriages should be effected not later than 6 months after the date of the completion of the ceremony although registration after the expiration of 6 months is allowed upon payment of the prescribed fee.

Mr Najib Nsubuga, an events spokesman, told Record FM that registration and certification of marriages comes along with a number of benefits, one of the reasons why he welcomes the idea.

“The certification comes with a number of benefits which non certified couples don’t enjoy. For instance most women are protected by marriage certificates as the only avenue to claim their share of the inheritance after the death of their husbands. So if spokesmen encourage them and take them through the importance of registering marriages, I believe we will have more registered marriages,” Nsubuga said.

Nsubuga however, believes that licensing cultural institutions such that couples submit their forms to these institutions and the institutions register them with URSB, will ease the customary marriage registration process.

The spokesmen have also been encouraged to stick to norms and traditions of the cultural institutions when running customary ceremonies.

“Through avoiding pomp and extortion by parents and MCs, make ceremonies as simple as possible, avoid using offensive language and maintaining symbolic practices such as Ekiggula luggi, Entaba Luganda, Enjogeza Omutwalo, Kaasuze katya among others,” Nsubuga revealed.

Kainobwisho also interested the participants in the other related services provided by URSB such as the Security Interest in Movable Property registry and the Intellectual property registry.

About Customary Marriage and Registration

A customary marriage can locally refer to ‘Nyomkwaro’ among the Lango/Acholi, ‘Kuhingira’ among the Bakiga/Banyankole and ‘Kwanjula/Kukyala’ among the Baganda.

It is a type of marriage which is negotiated, celebrated and concluded according to specific culture and norms, celebrated according to the rites of an African community to which one is a member.

As one of the recognised marriages in Uganda, customary marriages are governed by the Customary Marriages (Registration) Act Cap 248 Laws of Uganda.

According to the Act, traditional marriages can be registered at districts, sub-counties, town councils and municipalities where the customary function took place.

Town clerks act as marriage registrars. The married couple is expected to approach the office of the sub-county chief or town clerk to register the details of their traditional matrimonial union within six months.

The couple must be accompanied by two witnesses who are either parents, brothers, sisters, uncles or aunts of either of the parties, chiefs, clan heads or other persons of standing.

When all parties (the couple, their witnesses and the marriage registrar) append their signatures on the certificate form, a customary marriage certificate is then issued to the parties.

The certificate acts as evidence of customary marriage for all legal purposes and this legislation is a comprehensive blueprint for traditional marriages in Uganda in its entirety.

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