A Ki-Nigeria movie scene played out live at All Saints Cathedral in Nakasero on Friday afternoon, when a mother of three tried to stop the father of her children from exchanging marital vows with another woman.
Damalie Nakkungu tried to stop the wedding of Ronald Ssonko, a manager with KCB Bank, to his new flame Maureen Ahimbisibwe on grounds that they had a customary wedding (kwanjula) way back in 2006.
Nakkungu first went to All Saints Cathedral with the certificate confirming her customary marriage to Ssonko, with pictorial and video evidence. She presented the evidence to Rev. Grace Ssentongo and Rev. Irene Akankwasa who asked her to put her query in writing. However, this was Thursday evening, the eve of the wedding.
The next morning, D-day for the wedding, Nakkungu arrived at All Saints Cathedral armed with her evidence that also included the three children she had with Ssonko; Deon Tendo Kivumbi 9, Dylan Reuben Lule 7 and Rowena Darlin Lunkuse 5.
However, the two reverends she had met the previous day were not at the cathedral and she met Rev. Can. Diana Nkesiga who told her she was aware of her issues, but there wasn’t enough evidence to stop the ceremony from going on.
By the time the groom arrived, the children were already at the cathedral with their mother and they went to their daddy who received them lovingly and ordered snacks for them.
When Ahimbisibwe arrived with her bridal entourage, she was almost moved to tears as there was a rumour going around the cathedral premises that the wedding couldn’t go on. The wedding was supposed to take place at 1pm and by 2pm things appeared bleak. By this time Ssonko who had arrived earlier was nowhere in sight, as he was locked in a meeting with Nakkungu and Rev. Nkesiga in her office.
After the meeting, Nakkungu made her way to church, probably waiting for that moment the reverend would ask, “If there is anyone with a sound reason why these two should not be joined together in holy matrimony, please say it now or forever hold your peace.” But this was never going to happen as kanyamas mugged her and threw her out of the church.
Kanyamas manned all entrances to the church as the wedding service was taking place. Rev. Nkesiga was bold enough to explain the drama, telling the congregation that Ssonko had children with another woman who had turned up to stop the wedding, and she asked the groom to ask for forgiveness from her.
Ssonko asked for Nakkungu’s forgiveness, but she was not in church, so we are not sure if she forgave him.
What the law says
In Ugandan law, kwanjula is considered a customary marriage. Customary marriage, however must be registered with the registrar of marriages within six months of the function or it is not recognised by the law. Also, customary marriage allows polygamy.
It is not odd, for churches to wed people who have been previously involved in customary marriages with other parties.