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Acholi Cultural Institution Proposes UGX 2 Million Fine for Adulterers

Patiko Clan Chief Collins Muttu Atiko II told members of the Acholi Parliamentary group over the weekend that the decision was taken after numerous reports of death resulting from relationship issues linked to adultery by either a man or the wife.
LOP Betty Aol Ochan speaking to Dr Elima of Gulu regional refferal hospital recently. Photo by Michael Ojok.

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The Acholi Cultural Institution Ker Kwaro Acholi has slapped a fine of two million Shillings or four cows on persons who commit adultery. The fine would be paid to the household of the person whose spouse was caught cheating. 

Patiko Clan Chief Collins Muttu Atiko II told members of the Acholi Parliamentary group over the weekend that the decision was taken after numerous reports of death resulting from relationship issues linked to adultery by either a man or the wife. 

According to Atiko, the resolution seeks to end sexual immorality among the Acholi tribe. He says families are breaking, men and women are injured and lives have been lost as a result of infidelity. Although he does not explain how this will be enforced, the Acholi culture encourages individuals to accept their mistakes and take responsibility for their actions as a means of restoring social relations.

Amos John Okot, the MP-elect for Agago North in Agago district says the resolution is a big step in restoring the pride of Acholi culture and ensuring that morals do not degenerate further. According to Okot, there's also a need to ensure that the provision is not abused by the haves, who can continue poking on married women for as long as they can pay the fine.

//Cue in; “going into somebody's... 

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Betty Aol Ochan, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament says the resolution looks good on paper but doubts its practicability and enforcement. She says that women are in most cases quite faithful and end up committing adultery when pushed to the wall by their husbands, unlike men who do it at will. 

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But Rev. Father Charles Onen, the MP-elect for Gulu East says much as the resolution would help save marriages and restore morality, it would not have a big impact if not well approached. According to Onen, Ker Kal Kwaro Acholi should also teach the traditional values of marriage which are seemingly infiltrated with other traditional practices from elsewhere.

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Since the beginning of the year, a total of 38 murders have been recorded in the Acholi sub-region, most of them linked to domestic violence and relationship issues. 

Uganda’s Constitutional Court scrapped the law against adultery in 2007 after feminists argued that it was discriminatory against women. The law back then stipulated that it was legal for a married man to have an affair with an unmarried woman but against the law, for a married woman to have an affair with an unmarried man.

Women found guilty of the offence had previously faced a fine of up to ten years. But feminists from the Law and Advocacy for Women represented by lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuzi said the rules had given cheating husbands a green light to pursue single women.

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