The Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana, has advised couples previously married in ungazetted churches to renew their vows.
Mwesigwa Rukutana said that the registrar of marriages is the only office mandated to legalise marriages in the country.
“Prayer houses are licensed to conduct and register marriages on behalf of the registrar. The affected couples should repeat their vows before the registrar of marriages,” he said adding that, “those intending to get married should be prudent enough to find out if the prayer houses where the ceremony is to take place is licensed or not”.
Rukutana was responding to a concern raised by Betty Nambooze (Mukono Municipality) on Thursday, 29 August 2019 during a sitting of Parliament chaired by Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah.
Nambooze said there were reports that marriages conducted between 2006 and 2016 were to be nullified raising fears that families around the country may be affected. “The marriages that took place at the Church of the Resurrection in Bugolobi were carried out before this place of worship was gazetted rendering them null and void,” she said.
Nambooze added that if the marriages are nullified then this would bring problems to the children in terms of inheritance.
“If these marriages are cancelled then the children will have problems especially with inheritances where a spouse has passed on,” Nambooze said.
Mwesigwa Rukutana said that the law has a provision that covers children’s inheritance.
“Under the law, both the legitimate and illegitimate children have the same rights in inheritance except for matrimonial property. So in this case the inheritance will not be affected,” he added.
The Daily Monitor of Friday, 23 August 2019, reported that over 1,000 marriages that took place at Church of the Resurrection in Bugolobi were not duly registered because the religious institution had not been officially gazetted to conduct marriage ceremonies as required by law.