2,741 total views, 18 views today
Michael Aboneka is a lawyer and an activist who sued Watoto church in 2018 over what he termed as “stringent and unlawful” rules against those intending to get wedded by Watoto church – one of the leading Pentecostal churches in Uganda.
After booking for his wedding to be held at Watoto North Ntinda, one of the church’s celebrations centers, in April 2018, he claimed to have been left stranded when stringent requirements were imposed on him by the church as a pre-condition to wed him and his companion on October 27. Following those developments, Mr. Micheal Aboneka filed a petition against the church.
Following his failure to pressure Watoto church into wedding them, he finally gave in and got a special marriage license from the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) that would allow him to fulfill his dream of having an outdoor wedding where they would exchange vows at a location of their choice.
Aboneka finally got married to his fiancée, Lydia Kobusinge last Saturday at La Jolla gardens, Kisaasi-Bukoto, Kampala. This is where both the wedding ceremony and reception took place.
His church ceremony was officiated by Bishop Churchill whom Aboneka applauded for his for brevity stating his desire had always been to have an outdoor wedding and Bishop Churchill made it happen without asking for any specific requirements.
Speaking to my wedding.ug, Mr. Aboneka said, “Those requirements are unconstitutional in my view and as such, I didn’t have to submit them! I did a wedding which didn’t ask me for any of those things. In this country we still have men of God who believe in people’s causes.” said Aboneka referring to the Bishop who wedded them.
Aboneka says “in Uganda, many churches won’t even wed a couple out-doors; he encourages them to embrace changes in tradition and support their own as long as their ventures are legal.”
Michael Aboneka’s case against Watoto Church which questions the lawfulness of wedding requirements needed for a person to marry in most churches is still in court.
“The petition is a public interest one and the court will pronounce itself soon on the questions we put before it. Let’s wait for the hearing of the petition and its outcomes,” Aboneka told mywedding, “I didn’t bring this petition for enforcement of rights, but rather an interpretation of the Constitution as the Constitution enjoins anyone to bring to its attention any matter. There is, therefore, no matter overtaken by events. Let’s wait for the court to make decisions.”
Here are some requirements couples intending to get married at Watoto church should fulfill;
- A wedding date should be booked at least six months in advance
- A letter of consent (blessing) from the parents of the bride-to-be
- A pastor’s endorsement of fitness for marriage
- Evidence of HIV status tested at one of the specified hospitals and a counseling report issued by the respective hospital.
- Wedding fees of Shs450,000
- Mandatory wedding rehearsals supervised by the pastor, one week before the wedding day
- No wedding will be booked on a date that coincides with a significant Watoto Church event.
- Couples must go through pastoral counseling/one-on-one before the wedding is conducted. This includes at least four counseling sessions conducted by the pastor. (II) Group premarital counseling classes. The class sessions must be completed at least two months to the wedding.
- Mandatory wedding rehearsals supervised by the pastor, one week before the wedding day.
The following are the requirements set by URSB to have an outdoor wedding in Uganda;
- A payment of Ush.300,000 where one of the parties to the marriage is Uganda or a refugee
- An intending couple should appear in person before the Registrar of Marriages for their district for an interview.
The intending couple should come with the following:
- Proof of citizenship, for example, a passport or national identification card
- An LC 1 letter to prove residence for at least 15 days in the district in which the marriage is intended to be solemnized.
- A passport size photograph
- Registered marriage affidavits that conform to Section 10 of the Marriage Act
- In the case of foreign citizens, a letter from the Civil Registration or Vital Statistics Office of their country confirming that the party is not married.
- The intending couple should fill a Notice of Marriage before a Registrar of Marriages (indicating their names, marital status, age, occupation and place of abode) and get assessment forms to make payments at any bank of their choice.
- Alternatively, a client can exercise the self-assessment option by logging on to the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) website at www.ura.go.ug
- The Notice of Marriage is published on the Registrar of Marriages’ notice board for 21 calendar days.
- If there are no objections to the notice of marriage, the ceremony takes place after 21 calendar days but not before the lapse of 90 calendar days.
- Marriages are celebrated from Monday to Friday, between 10 am and 4 pm, The parties appear with two witnesses before the registrar who performs the ceremony and thereafter issues them with a marriage certificate.
- If there is an objection, a caveat is placed and the matter is referred to court for settlement.