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Marriage between MPs Babirye and Sebulime null and void, say lawyers

MPs Babirye and Sebulime at their wedding ceremony in March last year. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – The marriage between Buikwe Municipality MP Judith Babirye and Buikwe North MP Paul Musoke Sebulime is null and void, the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) has said.

Several media reports at the weekend indicated that the marriage between the two legislators, which was sealed only a year ago, is on the rocks, with Mr Sebulime reported to have been formally introduced by his former wife, Ms Lukiya Ntale, at the weekend.

And now it has emerged that Ms Babirye, amidst all this, had not officially dissolved her first marriage to her first husband, Samuel Niiwo. Provia Nangobi, the spokesperson of the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), said that Ms Babirye was still registered as married to her first husband, Samuel Niiwo.

In 2017, Babirye filed for divorce, saying their marriage was stormy and characterised by sadness owing to what she described as Niiwo’s cruel, erratic, violent behaviour and lack of respect to the sanctity of their marriage.

But Mr Niiwo said they had not done the final steps into dissolving the marriage when Ms Babirye chose to wed Mr Sebulime.

A family lawyer, Eva Kentaro Mugerwa, had also said if Niiwo wanted, he could have stopped the introduction and sue Babirye for bigamy because it is illegal to be married to two different men at ago.

“When you file for divorce, the court gives you an interim decree (decree absolute) with the hope that within six months, you will reconcile. If you do not reconcile and the court has not given you a divorce decree, it means you are still legally married,” Kentaro explained.

“Since the husband said he has not signed the divorce decree; it means that they are still legally married. Unless they sign the divorce decree today morning before the function, they are still married.” Kentaro, a former registrar of marriage at the URSB said a day before the introduction ceremony.

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