Yes, exchange is no robbery! Tit for tat is a fair game.
Residents of Aguya village in Ongino sub-county, Kumi district are still stunned following a scenario where two married men publicly swapped wives they had married officially.
The exchanged wives also swapped responsibilities for their biological children.
John Peter Opoo, 30, a bodaboda cyclist and Charles Okwii, 28, a fisherman on Lake Bisinia, exchanged their spouses, Leya Ingurat and Deborah Rose Alungat.
The act has left Teso sub-region dumbfounded.
In marrying Leya Ingurat, 20, a mother of two children aged four and two, Opoo paid four head of cattle, six goats and sh100,000. Ingurat and her children are now with Okwii.
To marry Deborah Rose Alungat also a mother of two, Okwi parted with three head of cattle, five goats and sh100,000.
Alungat and her children are now with Opoo. Both women married in the late 2000s.
Opoo with his new wife Deborah Rose Alungat at his home in Aguya village, Ongino sub-county in Kumi district. Photo by Tolbert Edait
“I have enjoyed the company of Okwii. He is a loving and caring husband and I have accepted him as my new husband for life because Opoo had abandoned me for Alungat who was Okwii’s wife,” said Ingurat.
Ingurat said she left Opoo because of infidelity. She said she found Opoo cheating on her on December 23, 2013.
“It’s from that time that Alungat grabbed my husband Opoo,” she said
Speaking with a smile while leaning on Okwi’s shoulder, Ingurat said Opoo used to abuse her and she does not miss him. “There was continuous domestic violence right from the time Alungat came in. My husband kept beating and thereafter ordering me to go and marry Okwii.”
Ingurat says Okwi was the husband that God created for her. “I am not regretting my decision. With Okwi, I share ideas and love as opposed to Opoo who made me garbage,” she said.
Okwii on the other hand said Opoo snatched Alungat, leaving him in the cold for seven months.
“I was made a bachelor by Opoo after I nabbed him red-handed with my wife just before Christmas last year. This prompted me to seek vengeance,” he said, adding: “My first message of love to Ingurat was delivered at the borehole where she had gone for water. She warmly welcomed it, saying she was equally injured and had no husband.”
Opoo, however, declined to comment, saying some unknown people attacked him at night and set his hut on fire. “That matter is very sensitive. I can’t comment, neither will my new wife talk to you because recently, my house was set ablaze by unknown people,” Opoo said, carrying a child who appeared to be missing its mother.
The Bishop of Kumi Diocese, Thomas Edison Irigei said the act is immoral because the couple were already married.
Iteso Cultural Union information minister Source Opak said swapping wives is against the Teso culture.
“It is a shame! The children are suffering innocently,” he said.
Ongino sub-county LC3 chairperson, Kizito Adome said: “It is the first time such an incident has happened in my sub-county.”
Peter Odong, the officer in charge of Ongino Police Post, said immorality is rampant in areas near lakes but added that none of the people involved in the matter have complained to his office.
Jean Naleeba, from the Law and Advocacy for Women in Uganda, a non-governmental organisation advocating for rights of women and girl s children, said: “If it is based on culture and forced, it would be against the law. These women sometimes lack knowledge on what they do and the men take advantage of them.”