Back in the day, many things were said about Bride price but over time, the law regarding bride price has evolved over time.

  1. In the colonial days, traditional marriages were usually not recognized and in some cases considered as “Wife purchase” because of the payment of Bride price and because it was a purchase, it was not considered a marriage by the colonial government.
  2. During President Idi Amin’s regime in 1973, a law called THE CUSTOMARY MARRIAGE DECREE was passed which formally recognised traditional African marriages.
  3. This law was eventually changed and is now called the THE CUSTOMARY MARRIAGE (REGISTRATION) ACT but otherwise contents of the law remained largely unchanged.
  4. Under that law, a customary marriage is said to take place according to customs of that community, usually the girl’s community, which could include payment of bride price.This meant that bride price was essential for customary marriages in most communities.
  5. Divorce was also usually carried out according to customs of the community, which could include the return of the woman to her parents home, and a refund of the bride price.
  6. However, in 2010, Women activists went to court challenging the constitutionality of bride price. They said Bride price is unconstitutional and among other things, it breaches the principles of equality provided for under the constitution.
  7. Court decided that much as Bride price is not unlawful.
  8. a) A traditional marriage is not unlawful because of non payment of bride price.
  9. b) Upon divorce, it is unlawful to demand fora refund of Bride price.


If you do have any legal questions about this issue, or any other legal issue, please do contact BarefootLaw by email to, call 0414660539, Skype at “barefootlaw”, send a message through the inbox or post it on our wall.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here