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Kafuuzi Seeks More Time to Present Bill Enabling Change of Names

The decision came after Angelline Osegge the Soroti Woman MP alerted parliament that women who had discrepancies in their names from the academic transcripts and marriage certificates risked being locked out of the electoral process, yet it's a normal practice for women to abandon their maiden names after getting married.
Rebecca Nalwanga greeting supporters at Kasana Playground after nominations

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The Deputy Attorney General Jackson Kafuuzi has asked Parliament for more time to prepare a bill that will allow married women to change their names in a bid to contest for electoral positions. 

Kafuuzi has been under pressure from MPs to draft a bill following a cabinet decision that cleared the nomination of aspirants who changed names upon getting married pending the amendment of the Registration of Person’s Act.

The decision came after Angelline Osegge the Soroti Woman MP alerted parliament that women who had discrepancies in their names from the academic transcripts and marriage certificates risked being locked out of the electoral process, yet it's a normal practice for women to abandon their maiden names after getting married.

Kafuuzi explains that the decision by cabinet will now require an amendment of section 36 of the Registration of Persons Act to allow married women to add a name using a statutory declaration. The section as it stands requires that any person who wishes to change their name shall cause to be published in the gazette, a notice of his or her intention to do so.  

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Although he was meant to present the bill today, Kafuuzi told the MPs that it was not possible. He requested parliament to give him more time saying he needed to come up with something comprehensive that will address the challenge of married women seeking to contest for positions that require their academic qualifications which would ideally have a different name than the name after marriage.

“I was supposed to get a document from the cabinet secretariat authorizing us to go ahead with the bill and a waiver from the cabinet, but we have not been able to secure that. With me here I have a document and a bill which we have not had time to discuss’’ Kafuuzi said.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga gave Kafuuzi up to Tuesday next week to present a bill. although the LC III and LCV councilors were not affected by the change of names because academic papers are not a requirement, the law affects any other contestant like Mayors, MPs, and Chairperson of Districts, among others, who present an academic qualification.  

During an earlier debate in Parliament, Patrick Nsamba Oshabe, the Kassanda County MP said that several people have different names appearing on their National Identity Cards and their academic transcripts. Similarly, Soroti County MP  Kenneth Esiagu said that the government needs to consider all change of names including those who change faith and people who take on their parent's names at a later stage among others.

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As of now, after processing and filing documents from National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA), one has to post legal notices in newspapers to announce the name change upon acceptance of the application by the Commissioner of Oaths. The registrar upon being satisfied that the requirements have been met then amends the register accordingly.

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