Although there is no conclusive research, Mercy Kainobwisho, the Registrar General of URSB, says that the low registration of marriages among Muslims are informed by lack of sufficient knowledge on the matter and myths that mislead people to think that some marriages are not supposed to be registered by the government.
Service Bureau-URSB has entered a partnership with the Muslim Center for
Justice and Law-MCJL to popularise the Registration of Marriages in the Muslim
community. Through a memorandum of understanding signed at the URSB
offices in Kampala, the two shall run joint campaigns to sensitize Muslims
about the need to register their marriages.
They shall also conduct
research to find out why marriage registration is low among Muslims and explore
mechanisms that can be used to increase the registration of Muslim marriages.
Although there is no conclusive research, Mercy
Kainobwisho, the Registrar General of URSB, says that the low registration of
marriages among Muslims are informed by lack of sufficient knowledge on the
matter and myths that mislead people to think that some marriages are not
supposed to be registered by the government.
She is optimistic that their partnership with MCJL shall help
the bureau to establish rapport with the Muslim community, educate them on the requirements
and benefits of marriage registration. She says government needs to have such
data for better planning for its citizenry.
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URSB is mandated to register marriages recognized under laws such as the Marriage Act and the Muhammaden Law. It also mandated to
carry out research and disseminate research findings in the fields covered by
laws including the Marriage Act and other marriage laws.
The Director Civil Registration at URSB, Vincent
Katutsi says that there are a number of marriages conducted in the Muslim faith
but a few of them are registered. He says there are only about 7000 registered
Muslim marriages, accounting for 6 percent of the total number of marriages
registered, which is estimated at 116,700.
Christians have the highest number of registered marriages at
23000. Although there is no data on how many Muslim marriages exist to
compare with the registered ones, Katutsi says they anticipate the numbers are
large especially that Muslims are by faith permitted to marry up to four wives.
He says Muslims do not only fail to register marriages but also divorce.
URSB registers both marriages and divorce of Muslim
faithfuls. Other faiths can only get a divorce certificate from court.
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Umar Nyanzi, the President of MCJL says with
this MOU, they shall also share experiences and conduct research together to
understand why there is low marriage registration among Muslims and how this
can be tackled. Nyanzi says that a number of people especially women
face challenges to get social justice and access to inheritance from their
spouses because they cannot prove that they were married.
He says the partnership shall play a big role in protecting
people's Marriages and administering social justice in marriage.
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URSB is also engaging other faiths to increase
marriage registration across all religions.