Uganda: Muslim cleric in prison awaiting trial for marrying fellow man

A Ugandan magistrate has sent a Muslim cleric back to prison to await trial on charges of homosexuality despite the imam’s protestation that he married a man “unknowingly”.

From the African Human Rights Media Network

Sheik Mutumba (centre in handcuffs) being led to court cells on Jan. 24. (UhspaUganda photo)

By Kikonyogo Kivumbi

Sheikh Mohammed Mutumba, the imam of the Kyampisi Masjid Noor mosque, recently wed a man, Richard Tumushabe alias Swabullah Nabukeera, who was disguised as a woman. Tumushabe was also remanded to Ntenjeru Prison on the same homosexuality charge (having “carnal knowledge against the order of nature”).

They are both to appear in court Jan. 30 to answer to that charge. Separately, Tumushabe also is to appear in court on Feb. 5 on charges of theft and obtaining money by false pretence.

Today (Jan. 24), Mutumba and Tumushabe appeared at the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Mukono, but their joint case could not proceed due to the absence of Chief Magistrate Juliet Hatanga.

The bride, Richard Tumushabe (alias Swabullah Nabukeera), appearing in court on Jan. 24. (UhspaUganda photo)

Sheikh Mutumba and his bride on their wedding day. (Photo courtesy of Daily Monitor)

The men first appeared before Kayunga Grade One Magistrate Irene Akello on Jan. 16, but they were not allowed to enter a plea because their case could only be heard by a higher court.

Prosecution alleges that Sheikh Mutumba and Tumushabe committed the offence in December 2019.

Sheikh Mutumba said he wedded Tumushabe unknowingly, spent two weeks with his new “wife” unaware of his true gender, and even complained that the “bride” had refused to undress while they slept.

Police that uncovered Tumushabe’s true gender when officers searched him before taking him to cells on charges of stealing a television set and clothes of their neighbour.

The area District Police Commander for Kayunga District, John Lukooto, said that Tumushabe had duped a number of men who fell in love with ‘her’ and later stole their money.

Tumushabe being led to court on Jan. 24. (UhspaUganda photo)

Lukooto told local media that said one of Tumushabe’s victims from Mayuge (about two hours drive from Kayunga district, east of the capital, Kampala) came to Kayunga police station after seeing the suspect in newspapers and testified how he fooled them that “she” was their relative and convinced them to receive “her” husband for introduction.

“On the introduction day, Tumushabe claimed the husband had got an accident on the way to the function and that he had died,” Lukooto said.

Lukooto said the relatives collected Shs400, 000 (about U.S. $109) which they gave “her” to go and attend the burial of the husband but “she” never came back.