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DPP Reverses its Stance On Pastor Bugingo Illegal Marriage

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Pastor Aloysius Bugingo’s alleged marriage to Susan Makula Nantaba has prompted the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to make a U-turn and express interest in pursuing him.

Bugingo is accused of committing bigamy and contracting a customary law marriage with Susan Makula despite being legally married to Teddy Naluswa under the Marriage Act. Makula, on the other hand, is accused of contracting marriage with Bugingo, despite the fact that he is already legally married to another woman.

On December 20, 2003, Bugingo and Naluswa were married at Victory Christian Centre, certificate number 376. He allegedly married Makula under customary law on December 7, 2021, at Kawuku, Katabi town council, Wakiso district, without a formal dissolution of their marriage.

On December 20, 2003, Bugingo and Naluswa were married at Victory Christian Centre, certificate number 376. He allegedly married Makula under customary law on December 7, 2021, at Kawuku, Katabi town council, Wakiso district, without a formal dissolution of their marriage.

Lawyers Male Mabirizi and Robert Rutaro Muhairwe brought the case to court for the first time after Bugingo and Makula allegedly married in a traditional ceremony in December 2021. Last month, Entebbe Grade One Magistrate Stella Okwong Paculal merged the two private prosecution cases, charging Bugingo with two charges and Makula with one count of allegedly marrying in violation of the Marriage Act.

Mabirizi has expressed his displeasure with the decision, claiming that the DPP is barred from making a U-turn because it is a principle of justice and equity that when a man has led another to believe that he may safely act on their faith and the other has acted on it, he will not be allowed to go back on what he has said or done.

Rutaro, his colleague, expressed surprise at the quick turn of events, but expressed satisfaction that the DPP had taken up the case. “However, I only hope that the DPP continues to prosecute the case rather than dismissing it as it has in some situations,” he says.

The two are scheduled to appear in court on January 21 to enter pleas. Mabirizi has written to 18 prospective witnesses, including officials from the gender ministry, the Uganda Registration Services Bureau, the Uganda Communications Commission, and those who were present at the claimed traditional marriage ceremony.

One of the invited witnesses, Aggrey Kibenge, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, has declined to testify in order to provide information about Kiganda marriage customs. In a letter dated January 10, Kibenge directs Mabirizi to the URSB, the government body in charge of all marriages, as well as the monarch of Buganda, as the protector of Kiganda tradition.

“As a result, I’m not sure if… I’m an appropriate witness because I don’t have a mandate over marriages in Uganda, nor do I have the material evidence required in this case; or even the ability to interpret Kiganda marriage practices!”

The accused faces a five-year prison sentence if convicted of each of the charges.

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