"Many Ugandans borrow money in order to have expensive weddings. Sometimes they fail to pay back loans."
KAMPALA - Former Ugandan prime minister Prof. Apolo Nsibambi has cautioned against the current tide of flashy weddings that often leaves newly married couples wallowing in debt and in misery.
With glitzy weddings being the order of the day, many people have been pushed to borrow or to take out bank loans so as to impress at their matrimonial ceremonies.
However, Nsibambi says this is unnecessary and avoidable if people have the humility to accept what they are. He said couples must learn to cut their coat according to the cloth at hand.
"Many Ugandans borrow money in order to have expensive weddings. Sometimes they fail to pay back loans. Ugandans must learn to have reasonable numbers to attend weddings,” said the former PM.
"If someone is poor, he or she can have a wedding of 20 people where only soft drinks must be served. The culture of being ostentatious must be stamped out of Ugandans.”
His reasoning is that many people get caught in the trap because they get into marriage without getting their priorities right. "When a number of Ugandans marry, they do not have a clear policy of priorities. They just muddle through life."
Nsibambi was speaking as guest of honour at a graduation ceremony at Makerere Institute for Social Development (MISD) where 429 were awarded certificates and diplomas in several programs.
He cautioned graduates not to despise any job, saying there would be nothing wrong for a graduate to push a wheelbarrow in order to earn money.
MISD patron Bonney Katatumba, chief guest Apolo Nsibambi and MISD governing council chairperson Oswald Ndoleriire at the 12th graduation ceremony. (Credit: Mary Kansiime)
"Ugandans do not work diligently. Their output is low. This problem explains why hotels and banks employ managers from Kenya. This is a very unfortunate problem when we consider that there is a lot of unemployment in Uganda.”
Meanwhile, Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, who was at the function, implored graduates to brace themselves for the world, saying that the challenge of unemployment is real.
"Recently, a position that was advertised at KCCA garnered over 1,000 applications. I found this overwhelming. Have the passion in what you studied so that you can create jobs," he advised.
Pius Karihoora, the Principal of MISD, told the fresh graduates to always observe the core values of integrity, transparency, accountability, team work and professional etiquette.
Lavish wedding Vs modest wedding
Ronald Kiwanuka, a marketer, thinks having any type of wedding depends on a couple's ability to hold it. “What is lavish to one may be modest to the other. But if it does not require taking a loan in the bank to make a lavish one, I would go for it. For example Sudhir Ruparelia's daughter's wedding looked lavish to me but I doubt he thinks the same.”
Georgia Naggingo, a banker: “Lavishness is good if you have made a social network of friends because in the African context, a wedding is a celebration that brings many people together.”
Owen Opiyo, a businessman, on the other hand says lavish weddings are more of a showoff. "People want to boast of how much they spent. Others turn into beggars – just because you are acquaintances, you must contribute for their wedding. It's important that if you are going to have a big wedding, you fund most of it. Otherwise what is the importance of inviting a crowd that does not feel for you? Some just attend your wedding to gossip about it."