Why Uganda court order woman to pay ex-fiancé for breaking im heart

Man and woman exchange wedding ring

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One Ugandan woman wey break up wit her ex-fiancé go pay am for financial damages for psychological anguish afta court order.

Di court for Kanungu say Oga Richard Tumwine pay 9.4m shillings ($2,550; £2,060) for her – Fortunate Kyarikunda – law studies, and she must repay back di money plus im legal fees.

Court record show say Richard Tumwine and Fortunate Kyarikunda, wey both be teachers start dia love relationship for 2015 and dem tok say di two of dem enta a promise to marry for 2018.

Di court also hear say Tumwine, wey be teacher for Kiringa Primary School, financially support Kyarikunda – including sponsoring her for a diploma in law for di Law Development Center (LDC) wia im spend more than Shs9.4 million.

By calling off dia engagement afta four years, Magistrate Asanasio Mukobi rule say Ms Kyarikunda don break a promise to di detriment of Oga Tumwine.

‘Plenti money transfer’

“I note, from di exhibit, several mobile money transfer transactions from di plaintiff cell phone in names of Richard Tumwine to di defendant cell phone in names of Fortunate Kyarikunda,” di magistrate observe am.

Di magistrate also add am say “From di exhibit, di money show as part of budget for introduction for Fortunate Kyarikunda parents home and several items wey worth Shs5million dey on di list and di comments of di defendant dey appreciate di budget and dey request for more financial support to enable her go to Rubanda also show well for di messages.” 

At hearing of di case, Oga Tumwine tell court say dem bin wan do introduction ceremony for February 2022 but e no hold and dem no give any justifiable reason.

Di court hear say Kyarikunda bin come up wit excuse say her parents bin don tok say dia daughter no go marry older man wey be Tumwine.

Di court say e dey “unreasonable, a misrepresentation and a fraud” for di defendant to argue say her parents tell am make she no marry older man, say she, “get all di opportunity to reject di love interest of di plaintiff at di earliest point possible and avoid interfering wit im financial obligations”.

Oga Mukobi also order Kyarikunda to pay Shs1milllion to Tumwine as general damages for inconveniences and psychological anguish wey im don suffer.

We neva know if Ms Kyarikunda go appeal against di judgement.

Critics tell di Monitor newspaper say di verdict no follow becos an engagement, unlike marriage, no dey legally binding.

How pipo react

Sheila Kawamara, of di women advocacy group ED EASSI, warn say sometimes na exploitative circumstances wey man go give money to a woman on di condition say she go marry am.

One Uganda former ethics minister and prominent women rights activist Miria Matembe also slam di “one-sided” verdict.

She tok say dis na “classic case of how di judicial systems don dey tilted to favour men.”

One lawyer, Fred Muwema, wey follow tori pipo for Monitor tok say for common law, breach of law na offense wey dey actionable.

“Di serious emotional distress and anguish wey come from love dey real; e dey happun and e get negative social impact.

Many pipo don lose faith for di institution of marriage sake of dis and if you make man pay your school fees without intention to marry am, den dat one na wayo.”