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Women Activists Accept Museveni Proposals on Succession Amendment Bill

THe women activists have conceded and agreed with President Museveni’s proposals on sharing the deceased estates in the Succession Amendment Bill 2021.
A section of UWOPA members addressing journalists at parliament.

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A section of women activists have conceded and agreed with President Museveni’s proposals on sharing the deceased estates in the Succession Amendment Bill 2021.

  Parliament in March 2021 passed the Succession Bill which seeks to ensure equality and equity in the distribution of the deceased estates. The bill repeals that succession la which is  traced back to 1906.

The Bill's main objective is to provide for the rights of women and also ensure equality between the spouses in the distribution of property or estates of the deceased. It among other things make it compulsory for testators to provide for spouses, lineal descendants, and dependent relatives in their wills.  

However in August, the President returned the bill for reconsideration stating that the new clauses included, it would most likely bring disharmony between the surviving spouse and dependent relatives.

Clause 14 reads that; where the intestate is survived by a spouse and a dependent relative with no lineal descendants, the spouse shall receive 80 per cent and the dependent shall receive 20 per cent of the whole property of the intestate.

 

The president said that this is a complete departure from the earlier provisions of the law with no clear justification.

 

“It will interfere with the beneficiary’s interests where the surviving spouse’s share increases from 50 per cent to 80 per cent and reduces the dependent relatives' share from 49 per cent to 20 per cent,” Museveni argued.

The president also added that the amendment would not only be unfair to the dependent relatives but would create misunderstandings between the surviving spouse and the dependent relative.

The current law gives 50 per cent of the estate to the widow or widower, 49 per cent of the estate to the dependent relative and 1 per cent to the customary heir. 

 

Now  women activists led by the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association -UWOPA said on Thursday that they concede to the presidents proposals. 

 

The women organisations represented including Landnet Uganda and  Women Land Rights Movement among others, appeared before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee that is currently reconsidering the Bill and said they agreed with almost all the provisions in the Bill.

 

 Richard Gafabusa  the Bwamba County MP who is a member of Uganda Women Parliamentary Association -UWOPA  and  presented the statement on behalf of the delegation informed the Committee that the women activists had concurred with all provisions in the bill save for the need to clearly define residential home and separation as well as need to delete the provision illegitimate children.

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Abdu Katuntu the Bugweri County MP took the women rights activists to task why they didn’t bother addressing themselves to the issues raised by President Museveni in the letter returning the Bill.   

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Lillian Achola of Civil society group LANDnet said that after the Succession Amendment Bill 2019 was returned, the women activists held a meeting with the Attorney General and Legal Committee where they conceded to the President views.

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    Meanwhile, Uganda law Society has asked Parliament to allow spouses that have been separated for less than 2 years to benefit from estates of their spouses instead of the proposal by Government that barred separated spouses from benefitting from the estates.

 

Government is seeking to replace section 30 of the principal Act and create a new provision reading; "A surviving spouse of an intestate shall not take any interest in the estate of the intestate if, at the death of the intestate the surviving spouse was separated from the intestate as a member of the same household."

 

Dr. Harriet Diana Musoke, Senior Counsel at Uganda Law Society said the law if passed in its current form would be unfair to spouses and instead, there should be a time frame within which the separated couple wouldn’t benefit from the estate.

  Uganda Law Society is also against  a section in the proposal that  will bar attaching the residential home in case the deceased incurred debt on the property without seeking consent from the spouse.

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