The case against Bride Price.

Dear Benjamin, I have thought of your article in which you bedeviled bride price and your reasoning was good. You see, you write so well that it it is hard ,responding to you.The articulation in your write ups is up there. In my response, I had talked of a majority judgement, however there was no mention of a dissenting judgement. In simple speak, the supreme court has nine justices and once a case is appealed from the constitutional court/court of Appeal, the justices sit down and write their judgements. The supreme court is a court of first instance (filing direct without having to go through the lower courts) in Presidential Election Petition. A case is determined on numbers , it’s either 4-5 6-3 7-24-5 8-1 implying that the majority justices have either agreed with the petitioner/ appellant or the respondent.A vivid example is the Robert Kyagulanyi v Independent Electoral Commission and Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni where the petitioner withdrew and judgement was made therefrom. The decision was 8-1 in favor of the respondent which implied that the first respondent was validly elected. The dissenting judgement was by Dr Esther Kisaakye and this very one,it is the same Justice who dissented. Some legal minds say that a dissenting judgement is an academic rant because it is the majeority that take the day. Suffice to note,it is imperative that we look at the case in extensso . Basically I was trying to argue that bride price is appreciation for raising the girl but my argument is watered down.

“There is no single constitutional provision which gives any right whatsoever to any parent to put a price (in form of bride-price) on a daughter intending to marry either to recover or to be demanded,”appreciated” by his prospective son in law. Appreciation is in my view a social concept which cannot be legally enforced. It is even worse where the party seeking to enforce it is a 3rd party to the marriage. The Claims that bride-price is demanded by the girls parents as an appreciation for raising her actually runs contrary to Article 31(1) and (4) of the Constitution of Uganda, which provides that, “it is the duty of parents to care and bring up their children” Article 31(4) provides, on the other hand, “Subject to laws enacted in their best interests, children shall have the right to know and be cared for by their parents or those entitled by law to bring them up” In my view, it is also important for courts to recognize the subtle but very deeply felt influence and authority parents and close family members, especially in African families, can and usually wield over their children, even though such children may no longer be legal minors . This parental/family influence usually manifests itself in times of marriage and can have an impact on the man and woman intending to contract marriage” Dr. Kisakye Esther Mayambala(Dissenting Judge), Its always great reading a reasoning from the Academia, She holds a Master of Arts in Women’s Rights from Georgetown University Law Center, in Washington, DC. Her degree of Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD), was obtained from the American University. Reading cases is always good for lawyers because it helps alot to appreciate the reasoning of the Justices. You can read the full judgement here to get the different reasons as to why the judges agreed with the respondent ( Attorney General). Far away from the case, dowry still stands because culture and traditions are a source of our laws and culture is Supreme.

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