Speaking to Uganda Radio Network in an interview, Rwot Acana says the cultural institution was right to intervene in the marriage woes in the region saying the ceremony had turned commercial and uncultured.
The Acholi Paramount
Chief Rwot David Onen Acana II has defended the passing of a by-law by the Acholi
cultural institution that regulates bride price payments.
institution early this year passed a bylaw that limits bride price payment to 5 million Shilling, a move aimed at curbing what the institution termed as “commercial”
It followed an outcry
from locals in the region who alleged that young men were unable to marry because of exorbitant dowry asked by bride’s parents and
The bylaw's passing however, left a section of the community in the region
divided with majority welcoming it while others alleged the institution had no
right to limit dowry payment.
For instance, Simon
Lanek Obalo, a resident of Kitgum Municipality says whereas the cultural
institution was right to scrap other items that are asked during dowry
payment, they had no business limiting the amount of dowry in form of cash.
“As a parent, I value
my daughter, I gave her a good life and made her to study up to the university," he says. "Limiting dowry payment to 5 million Shillings is like an insult to my family.”
Uganda Radio Network in an interview, Rwot Acana says the cultural institution
was right to intervene in the marriage woes in the region, saying the ceremony
had turned commercial and uncultured.
Rwot Acana says the
by-law was never rushed but studied carefully to suit what has been part of the
Acholi culture whenever one intends to enter a union of marriage.
He says those
against the cultural institution's regulation are trading their daughters for
cash and should never term the process as marriage but rather a profit venture.
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“…I stand with
the bylaw because it was never rushed. We listened carefully to many people
for a long time. People should know the
reason why marriage is conducted, from my knowledge, marriage is conducted when
couples want to start a new home but now people are seeing that bride price has
to be high which is equivalent to starting a business. So if they want to sell
their children, they should not call it marriage, they should make other
arrangements where they sell their children,” Says Rwot Acana.
Rwot Acana says
one of the reasons the bride prices shot up in the region was due to the
demands for parents asking for compensation on the expenses incurred on their
children’s educations in case they elope while in school.
He says whereas
it’s good to invest in girl’s education, it shouldn’t be used as collateral
for profiteering in the future when the girl is ready for marriage.
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we are talking about helps to unite couples. when they meet, we should help them
to start a good life, their union won’t end with the dowry payment but they
will help people forever. we shouldn’t look at how much one has invested in
their children’s education. Sometimes back some woman complained that she paid
her daughter using dollars and wanted high bride price, she intended to use dollars
for payment which was good but it shouldn’t have been an investment.”
called on his subjects to abide by the set regulations on bride price to avoid
corrosion of the rich culture of marriage in Acholi.
The cultural institution
in its revised bride price, scrapped payment of money meant to compensate
the education expenses of a bride (obal kwan) which had become a common demand
after a lady elopes with a man while still studying. Others are “Ocoyo toyo and Oyenya" which are paid to the brothers of the bride who searched for her new
requires a groom to pay the following items among others while marrying his
bride: a Gomesi for the mother in-law, a stool for the father-in-law, a
lamp, cigarettes, a matchbox, fee for members of the marriage committee, bathing and laundry soap, and a goat for the marital home.
payment of a fee to enable a bride to speak up, one big saucepan , a
goat for the paternal aunt, six goats, and six cows.