A Case for Realization of theProperty Rights of Muslim Widowsat Succession in Uganda

Umar Nyanzi is a President of Muslim Centre for Justice and Law (MCJL), an Ugandan faith based NGO dedicated to promoting and advancing Justice, Tolerance and Human Rights in Uganda. MCJL has a primary focus on poor and vulnerable members of the grass root communities and further encompasses the diverse community as a whole. Empowering local communities to effectively advocate for their rights and duty bearers to deal with dynamic social challenges especially in the Muslim communities in Uganda.

The Constitution of Uganda states that, as citizens of Uganda it is the right of all people to own property regardless of gender. The Uganda Succession Act states that a person can die testate or Intestate. A person dies intestate where he left a valid Will or a will where he did not leave a will or a will left behind is invalid. Islam does not require marriage registration as a form of validity, making this a loophole. Where after the husbands die, the rights of the widows left behind can be lost at the legal table. This was because he failed to provide proof that the woman was his wife. When a Muslim widow remarries and dies, her children from the new marriage are in many cases barred from inheriting what the deceased widow inherited from her deceased husband. As part of a campaign to promote access to justice for Muslim widows in Uganda, the Muslim Center for Justice and Law (MCJL), a faith-based non-governmental organization, has implemented programs aimed at addressing the discriminatory approaches manifested within Muslim communities that hinder the realization property rights of widows.

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