UGANDA: High Court okays termination of Sebulime’s marriage with Babirye

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The Family Division of the High Court has okayed the termination of the marriage between Buikwe Woman MP Judith Babirye and fellow legislator Paul Musoke Sebulime less than a year after the two got together in a traditional ceremony.

The traditional marriage only took place on 27 July 2018, at Las Vegas, Bunga in Kampala district.

But Mr Sebulime last year petitioned the court, stating that Babirye was denying him conjugal rights and that the couple had not been intimate since the second week of August 2018.

Mr Ssebulime in his testimony further revealed that he had not seen nor heard from Babirye since 22 December 2018 and she had made no attempts to communicate with him.

He also said the gospel artiste-turned politician had also refused to live with him or even prepare any meals for him.

In a ruling delivered on December 20, 2019, Justice Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya said Babirye’s refusal to cohabit with Ssebulime and her long unexplained absences were not a demonstration of a newlywed committed to the success of the marriage.

“There is no evidence of the respondent’s participation in efforts to reconcile with her husband. If considered separately, the actions of the respondent could be understood if some explanation was available, however, it was not. A holistic view of the petitioner’s testimony, pointed to an uncomfortable roller-coaster ride of a relationship, dictated by the respondent. This court was prepared to believe that the unpredictable nature of the marriage created mental anxiety on the part of the petitioner,” the court ruled.

She added: “The petitioner did not know of his wife’s whereabouts for the seven months he waited before he filed this petition. He could only guess at the reason for her departure. This was torture in itself. In the opinion of this court, the intentional, unexplained, protracted absence and silence amounted to cruelty, on the part of the respondent. I am, therefore, satisfied that the petitioner has proved that this marriage should be dissolved on grounds of cruelty,” the court ruled.

Ms Babirye did not respond to the court proceedings and the ruling was given without her side of the story.

The ruling signals the end of Babirye’s second marriage, having previously been married to Niiwo, with whom they have a 12-year-old daughter. Their marriage is understood to have hit the rocks. In January 2017, Babirye, a twin, filed for divorce.

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