The domestic relations bill and its likely impact on property ownership of women in Uganda: a case study of Kumi district .
The study sought to examine the likely impact of the Domestic Relations Bill to the right of women to own property in Kumi District. The reason why I carried out this research was because the right to property ownership especially land has been impinged upon on numerous occasions and it is shown that even where the relevant statutory laws are protective of women’s rights to property, the enacting and implementing of the existing ones is hindered by customary law, socialization and the generally weak economic capacity of many women in the country. The study was guided by four objectives: 1. To review Human Rights instruments and rights relating to property ownership. 2. To analyze the present DRB and establish people’s perception about property ownership of women 3. To establish the key provisions of the DRB as they relate to property rights of women. 4. Assess the prospects for a rights based approach in the formulation and implementation of the DRB The data collection methods I used included questionnaires that were distributed to the respondents who could read and write to fill in while those who could not were assisted by the researcher. These respondents were randomly selected. An interview guide was used for the10 key informants, six were from NGOs, two Sub county chiefs and L.C I from Mukongoro and LC I from Kumi. The observation method and content analysis were also used. The population for the study was profiled during the interviews. Information was gathered on age, sex, educational attainment as well as other key socio-economic factors related to property rights and the DRB. The study, among other things found out that the DRB contains many aspects which need more sensitization, gradual change of attitude and perceptions on the part of those it targets, according to the key informants. The study also found that land culturally belongs to men; women can only own what they have worked for either single handedly or as a couple. . Among other things, it was established that the women supported the DRB, though much resistance was met from men. The researcher concluded that most land is customarily owned and it is administered through the clan system. In most parts of the country, property is passed from father to son; a woman’s rights are only guaranteed if she marries but her rights are protected through her children. The fact that women do not have control over land weakens them in terms of empowerment. Therefore ownership of property in common is a developmental idea because it is the basis of transparent, mutually benefiting relationships and it is likely not to infringe on enjoyment of property rights of women and eases decision making in all affairs of the family as the man is not likely to sell off the land they own without her consent. This will also discourage discrimination as in Article (13) of CEDAW; “states parties shall take appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in other areas of economic and social life in order to ensure, on a basis of equality men and women, the same rights in particular(13) (a) the right to family benefits”. The study, recommends that the DRB be given priority, as it is essential in the growth and development of our country. It also recommends that women be provided with more security in order to curb abuse of rights relating to them, especially their right to property. The study recommends that women can through emancipatory actions transform their positions viz-a -viz men, the government should undertake programmatic and institutional reforms, the study also appeals to all women activists to advocate for people-centered policies and legislations,The key beliefs of the religious groups on marriage and divorce, property and children ought to be codified and a reporting mechanism should be established between the districts and the UHRC.