The Bill among other things seeks to amend the Succession Act, 1906 to conform to the Constitution of Uganda for gender equality and also repeal unconstitutional provisions, to eliminate discrimination regarding customary heirs and heiresses and to protect principal residential property of the surviving spouse.
The Attorney General, William Byaruhanga has asked Parliament to shelve
the Succession (Amendment) Bill, 2018 because government will table comprehensive
property-related bills in two weeks’ time.
Byaruhanga made the appeal on Wednesday while appearing before the Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs committee. The
Bill was in May moved by Mbarara Woman MP, Kajungu Mutambi.
The Bill among other things seeks to amend the Succession Act, 1906 to conform
to the Constitution of Uganda for gender equality and also repeal
unconstitutional provisions, to eliminate discrimination regarding customary
heirs and heiresses and to protect principal residential property of the surviving
Byaruhanga says that Kajungu did not seek guidance from his
office. He explained that had she sought guidance, she would have been informed
that the succession Act should be amended alongside other laws that relate to
management of properties of deceased persons.
Byaruhanga also added that his office and that of the
Administrator-General as the implementing agency have conducted preliminary
studies and consultations on succession and property management for the last
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In May, Cabinet approved amendments to five laws relating
to administrative management of properties of the deceased. These
are the Succession Act, Administrator General's Act, and Estates
(Small Estates) (Special Provisions) Act, 1972.
Also, the Estates of Missing Persons Act, 1973 and the Probate Resealing
Act, 1936 are supposed to be amended.
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Committee members led by Busiro East MP, Medard Sseggona
Lubega asked Byaruhanga to justify why parliament should shelve the Bill in
favour of government Bills which have not been presented to the House.
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Byaruhanga also disagreed with some of the provisions of the Bill. The provisions
in contention include the revision of percentages of distribution of the estate
of the person who has died without a will.
The Bill proposes that surviving spouses should get 50 percent of
the estate, while children should get 41 percent, down from the current
provision of 75 percent in the Act.
Byaruhanga says that the proposal does not protect the rights of
children who form over 55 percent of Uganda’s population of about 40 million.
He also says that the provision is tilted in favour of women, and not children,
whose rights and interests should be protected and catered for.
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He also cited proposals on sharing property among spouses upon separation,
customary heirs and heiresses and also redistribution of principal residential
properties as possible areas for heated debate in the public domain.
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Government proposes to among others remove the provision for legal heirs, limit
powers of administrators and also give time frames for letters of
administration to curb mismanagement of properties of the deceased, surviving
spouses, children and other dependents.