This petition is brought under Article 2 (1) and (2), 137 (3), 93 (a) and (d) of the Constitution of Uganda and Rule 3 of the Constitutional Court (Petitions and References Rules S. 1 91 of 2009. It is filed on behalf of thirteen petitioners. The first petitioner is a non-governmental organisation and women’s rights agency. The other petitioners appear as individuals. The petitioners challenge the constitutionality of the customary practice of demand for, and payment of bride price. They allege that bride price as a condition precedent to a marriage; and a demand for, and payment of, bride price as a condition precedent to dissolution of marriage should be declared unconstitutional.
The petition is allowed, and the following declaration is made:
(1) The practice of demanding and payment of bride price as a requirement for the recognition of a valid customary marriage is unconstitutional and violates articles 31(1)(b), 31(3), 32(2) and 33(1) of the Constitution.
(2) The demand for refund of bride price as a condition precedent to the dissolution of customary marriage contravenes articles 31(3)and 32(2) of the Constitution and is null and void.
(3) The demand and payment of bride price dehumanises the woman in a marriage as it portrays her as a chattel that can be sold in market and subjects her to potential humiliation, cruel, torture and degrading treatment (sic!) in contravention of articles 24, 31(1)and 32(2) of the Constitution.
(4) The regime of bride price subjects a woman to slavery and servitude when it makes it impossible for her to move out of an abusive marriage long after it has irretrievably broken down. This is contravention of articles 25 and 44(b) of the Constitution.
(5) Each party to this petition will bear its own costs.