Word has it that Joel Isabirye, a programmes director of Super FM and Rebecca Jjingo, a radio presenter, stage-managed their wedding, which was held on December 5, 2013. However, the couple dispelled the rumour in a chat with Samuel Lutwama
The fairytale wedding of Isabirye and Rebecca on December 5, 2013 was marred by controversy. Word has it that the wedding was stage-managed because Isabirye had been previously married in church Isabirye, however, dispels the rumours, saying everything was in accordance with what he and his wife had planned.
“We held a civil wedding, after which we proceeded to St. Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe to be blessed,” he says, adding: “If you wed at the registrar of marriages, your marriage will be recognised by law. One can also opt for customary marriage (traditional introduction), but for it to be recognised, it should be registered with the registrar of marriage, before six months have elapsed.”
Isabirye says while being blessed in church, their vows differed from those made by couples whose marriage is conducted in church. They went as follow: “I, Joel Isabirye, who has already married, do promise to love this woman till death do us part.”
After the vows, Isabirye says they exchanged rings before the Rev. Geoffrey Kakooza, the Vicar of Namirembe Cathedral and the Rev. David Ssekiziyivu. Thereafter, the couple signed two certificates.
According to Isabirye, the first certificate indicated that the couple had been previously married, but their marriage was solemnised at Namirembe. The second certificate indicated that their marriage had been blessed by the church and, therefore, it was pleasing before God.
“We followed the whole process because we wanted our marriage to be pleasing before God,” he says. Isabirye says he was amazed by reports in the media that his wedding at Namirembe Cathedral was stage-managed. “How could we stage-manage the wedding before such high profile clergy?” he wondered.
Strength of a civil wedding
According to Isabirye, there are several advantages of having a civil wedding. If the couple gets serious misunderstandings and it is proved beyond doubts that the life of one of the partners is in danger, the law will take its course, unlike the church which is limited to just counselling and praying for the couple, even in times when prayers and counselling would not be the ideal solution.
He says before he and his wife signed their marriage certificate at the registrar’s office, they were given a book with the guidelines of a civil marriage.
How they met
Isabirye and Rebecca met in 2006 at Capital Radio, where they worked. Isabirye was the programmes director of Beat FM. As programmes director, he hired Rebecca to handle the breakfast show, which, according to him, she did beyond his expectations. Besides working together, the two got along easily and soon, they became friends.
“We started sharing lots of things and confiding in each other,” Isabirye explains.
With time, I realised she was from a well-structured family, considering the way she carried herself. She had all the qualities I needed in a wife. So, I pursued her until she heeded to my proposal,” Isabirye says.
At the time Isabirye and Rebecca dated, it was rumoured that he was having an intimate relationship with Titie, a local musician and radio presenter, who was also working at Beat FM. However, he denied the rumours, saying this was meant to tarnish his name.
“Honestly, I have never had an intimate relationship with Titie. She was once under my supervision during the time I met Rebecca. In fact, she is one of the first crew of radio presenters (Rebecca, Titie, Katongole, Mukunja) that I supervised when Beat FM had just started. They are like family to me,” he notes.
No love ghosts from the past
Isabirye admits that he was once in a relationship, but this was dissolved before Rebecca came into the picture “ It is true, I had a past relationship that did not work out and it was dissolved on good terms. “Many people have had failed relationships, but that does not stop them from moving on with their life,” Isabirye says.
Lessons from failed relationships
Isabirye says he has learnt many lessons from his failed relationship, which he hopes to draw from to better his relationship with Rebecca.
“I have learnt that people are attracted to each other due to physical appearance, then later realise that one’s character is flawed. Seven years was enough for me and Rebecca to evaluate each other’s character and build a strong relationship,” he says.
Falling in love with a friend is also what makes Isabirye optimistic that he and Rebecca will have a wonderful marriage. “I have evaluated my wife and I am sure she is the one God chose for me. Rebecca was brought up well. She knows how to take care of her home,” he says.
Warning to young people
To those who intend to marry while they are still young, Isabirye warns: “Marriage is not for boys.” He blames Pentecostal churches for promoting early marriage without equipping young people with tips on handling marital pressures.
“Most of these churches do not want their flock to indulge in fornication, so they usher them into marriage, without preparing them for the task ahead.
A young person cannot deal with marital pressure,” he warns. Isabirye advises men to marry after 30 and women not to attempt it before they are 27 years. He draws from his personal experience, saying his past relationship failed because he rushed into it, before he was mature enough.
Fairytale introduction, wedding
Isabirye and Rebecca held a pompous introduction ceremony at Rebecca’s parents’ home at Ssumba, Buddo. According to Isabirye, they intended to have a big memorable introduction ceremony. “We wanted our introduction to stand out from those that had been done in the past,” he says.
Interestingly, Rebecca had no idea of the surprises Joel had in store for her that day. “When I learnt that Isabirye had arrived for the ceremony in a chopper, I knew we had set a precedent in my family because that had never been done before,” she disclosed shortly after her introduction.
Perhaps it was that surprise that set in motion the happiness and excitement that she displayed on her special day. She laughed and jumped as she danced and sang along to every song. When her best friend, Titie, hugged her, the two cried. Rebecca says her husband brought many gifts, but the shares, worth sh10m, that her husband bought her in Stanbic Bank, were the most memorable.
Eight months after the introduction, the couple held a glamorous wedding on Thursday, December 5. The couple had two reception venues, both indoor and outdoor at UMA showground. The couple held their wedding on a Thursday because they wanted local musicians, who are usually busy over the weekend, to attend.
The wedding was well-attended by local artistes and religious leaders, including Pastor Imelda Namutebi Kula and her husband Tom Kula, who head Liberty Worship Centre in Lugala, where the couple prays from. But why the couple chose to be blessed by the Anglican Church, instead of the Pentecostal family, is another matter of debate.