Uganda court says dowry for brides is legal

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Uganda supreme court has ruled that bride price should stay after an appeal by MIFUMI, an NGO based in eastern Uganda.

MIFUMI went to court seeking a ban on bride price because it enslaves women and also leads to domestic violence.

The seven judges of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki denied MIFUMI the opportunity to add new evidence in their appeal seeking a declaration on the constitutionality of bride price.

The judges, in their ruling said that bride price must stay because it is in line with African norms, virtue and traditions.

Last year, five judges of the constitutional court dismissed MIFUMI’s application seeking a declaration on the constitutionality of bride price on ground that it was lacking in evidence relating bride price to domestic violence.

The judges also noted that pride price is defined differently by different cultures, saying that in some cultures it is a token of appreciation.

Through their lawyers of Rwakafuzi and company advocates, Mifumi
unsuccessfully argued that bride price forces women to remain trapped in violent relationships simply because their parents cannot take them back without refunding the bride price.

In their appeal before the Supreme Court today the petitioners claimed that the constitutional court erred in law when it failed to declare payment of bride price and its refund at the desolation of marriage unconstitutional.

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