“If anybody has any reason as to why these two should
not be joined together in marraige, say it now or forever
hold your peace…” is a phrase I had gotten accustomed
to at weddings that I had come to a point of regarding it
as just a matter of procedure and nothing much would come
out of it.
But the way things are going, it seems the bride, groom,
their entourage and guests have to hold their breath until
the couple is declared husband and wife.
In a matter of weeks, two weddings have been stopped at
the altar, after women presented court injunctions.
In the first one, a one Rose Mirembe stopped a wedding at
All Saints Cathedral Nakasero on April 26. Mirembe it is
said, barred Samson Kasirye from wedding Jane Nakubulwa
because he had married her customarily long before.
Funny enough, according to The New Vision of April 28, Nakubulwa
lived with Kasirye before he met Mirembe, although they
did not have children. At Nakubulwa’s suggestion Kasirye
picked on Mirembe in a quest to have a child.
True Mirembe got a child, but by and by Nakubulwa too got
a child and another, prompting the man to take her to the
altar. This would mean that the Mirembe-Kasirye marriage
would then be rendered null and void.
Just a week after, Kamuli District Assistant Chief Administration
Officer, Patrick Kayima was to face the same monster when
a woman he allegedly married customarily and had two children
with, stopped his wedding at Jinja’s St. Fatima Church
and like in the Serunkuma case, some guests went ahead to
the feast although for this one the couple did not attend.
But sources at the wedding insist that Kayima had never
married before, although the woman he had decided to abandon
loved him too much that she managed to get a letter from
her father, which her lawyer used to stop Kayima’s
Whether the story is true or not, all this takes us back
to the Domestic Relations Bill, why can’t the legislators
simply enact the bill and let the law take its course?
In these two examples, it seems clear that the women had
no right to stop the weddings. But they had every right.
Innocent Ngobi Ndiko, of Ngobi Ndiko and company advocates,
says the women have the freedom to stop such weddings.
In both cases, the marriages were customary and therefore
open to polygamy. And if the man chose to marry another
woman, this time in church, the law says such a marriage
would render all the other arrangements either of the couple
would have entered invalid. So if the jilted woman does
not act, it means after the wedding she would have no right
to associate with the man in question in a marital way.
Whether out of pride or shame many women who are customarily
married and dumped, sometimes with children, do not raise
a finger. This means they have to pick up their pieces from
nothing and look after their children, if any, single-handedly
when they could have been helped legally.
Ndiko says, a man who is customarily married can marry
another woman customarily since the marriages are open to
polygamy, but cannot enter a monogamous arrangement.
“A church marriage is monogamous, the only way a person
who has been customarily married can marry another person
in church is by divorcing and agreeing to a settlement with
his first wife, before going ahead with the wedding,”
Unless cleared, many women remain in a great quagmire.
The biggest confusion is that okwanjula, is customarily
considered a marriage, but some people look at it as a means
to the marriage (meaning church, mosque or Registrar’s
weddings). So if a person married customarily does not consider
themselves married, they will go ahead and marry again without
formally nullifying the first marriage; since to them it
is simply a failed relationship.
But now that jilted women with kwanjula letters are stopping
weddings at the eleventh hour, it is just about time people
learnt how to end a customary marriage without worrying
about aborted weddings. What this means is that, if you
are toying with the idea of marrying a ‘married’
man, just make sure all is cleared legally before wasting
time and money on a wedding that will most likely be called
On the other hand women who have been married customarily
need to understand that their husbands cannot simply walk
out on them. You are not kwanjulad like many want to refer
to you; according to the Ugandan law, you are married.