Uganda Women Parliamentarians Association (Uwopa) and Tororo District Woman MP Sarah Opendi has assured Ugandans that what they do in their bedrooms will be not be the subject of the Marriage Bill.
In particular, Opendi said the proposed piece of legislation that she is currently spearing will not criminalize marital rape.
Opendi and Uwopa are drumming up support for the Marriage Bill. On November 13, she spoke at the launch of the Women’s Lobby Day held at Parliament of Uganda in Kampala. Today, Uwopa is actively engaged in the Annual Sisterhood Forum organised by Forum for Women in Democracy (Fowode Uganda) on the theme ‘Staying on Course for a Stronger and Influential Women’s Movement.’
On marital rape, Opendi has advised women or men suffering the vice to report their spouses to police.
“I want to request both men and women not to make unfounded statements about the Marriage Bill especially on things they haven’t seen. I even saw news reports that the Marriage Bill is intended to criminalize marital rape,” said Opendi, a former junior minister.
“Your wife is your wife, we aren’t concerned with whatever you do in your bedrooms and we shall not interfere. If your husband rapes you, go to Police and report because the provision for marital rape will not be included in the Marriage Bill.”
Opendi is aware that previous attempts to push through the Marriage Bill have been unsuccessful over contentious matters such as marital rape. She is, thus, ready to strike a compromise with male legislators to support the bill. She can only hope that her compromise on marital rape will not make her lose female MPs’ support.
“We know it is that very provision [on marital rape] that saw this bill shelved,” said Opendi.
The 2022 Annual Police crime report indicates that Ugandans reported 1,623 cases of rape to the law and order agency in a year. The figure was a little higher compare to 1,486 cases reported in 2021. Of these cases, 1,439 had adult females and 184 female juveniles as victims.
These cases have so far seen fewer convictions. Of the 557 cases which ended in court, only three have seen convictions while the rest are still gathering dust on the shelves.
Sarah Opendi has been in the news for her controversial proposals. She at one time attempted to block Nyege Nyege over alleged immorality. On another front, she has declared war on drunkards and alcoholic products. (See Details Herea, There and Over There).