This Saturday, the queen of gospel music in Uganda, Judith Babirye is set to secretly introduce her new lover, Paul Musoke Sebulime a flight captain.
The 41-year-old Buikwe Woman MP and her colleague, MP for Buikwe North, will hold their marriage ceremony at a secret location, only to be revealed to guests privately and at the last minute.
However, lawyers said, the two law makers may have fun today, but they will not legitimise their marriage according to the country laws that govern marriage. Provia Nangobi, the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) spokesperson, said Babirye is still registered as married to her first husband, Samuel Niiwo and the marriage has not been dissolved.
Niiwo said court gave them time to reconcile and when it elapsed, the final stages were not performed. "We have not yet finalised the divorce papers. We completed the first phase but I have not yet signed final marriage dissolution," Niiwo said.
A family lawyer, Eva Kentaro Mugerwa, said if Niiwo wants, he can stop the introduction and sue Babirye for bigamy. It is illegal to be married to two different men at ago, she said.
"When you file for divorce, court gives you an interim decree (decree absolute) with hope that within six months, you will reconcile. If you do not reconcile and court has not given you a divorce decree, it means you are still legally married," Kentaro of Kentaro Mugerwa and Co Advocates explained.
"Since the husband said he has not signed the divorce decree; it means that they are still legally married. Unless they sign the divorce decree today morning before the function, they are still married." Kentaro was a former registrar of marriage at the URSB.
Who is sebulime?
The new man in Babirye's life is three years older, a pilot by profession and also a first-timer in Parliament. Before coming to Parliament, he was the LC3 chairperson for Njeru trading centre. Even at Parliament, Musoke is not a common face. Many MPs say they do not remember his face. One MP in the Buganda Caucus, who asked not to be named, said Sebulime has no friends; he rarely attends sessions and his best friend is Babirye.
He had a relationship with Lukiya Ntale for over eight years in which they produced three children, a set of five-year-old twins Kato and Babirye Musoke and the first-born, a boy of eight years.
Ntale had warned Babirye against getting married to her husband. "I have been seeing you with my husband knowing you were just friends," she said, "When you came for the burial of my father, I saw you asking for my eldest child.
The man you want to introduce is married. I am his wife and we have three children. You are a mother, a woman like me and a Born-again. I warn you to leave my husband alone." However, Sebulime said he is not legally married to Ntale and so, he is free to move on and marry
another woman of his choice. The two legislators have reportedly been dating for close to four years and have decided to legalise their relationship through an introduction ceremony. A source close to the couple said, Babirye became close to Musoke in 2016 during campaigns in Buikwe.
"It is Musoke who pushed Babirye to join politics. Babirye, as a go-getter, embraced the idea and decided to contest. Being a musician, she had no idea how to get the electorates in the constituency to vote for her, so Musoke gave her campaign strategies.
He would do the talking and Babirye would sing," a close friend said. The friend also added that on the voting day, the two waited for vote counting until late in the night before retiring to Hotel Triangle in Jinja town to celebrate their victories.
Babirye's last marriage
Babirye is one of the most successful and talented gospel artistes in Uganda with a number of albums and hits to her name. She was married to Niiwo with whom they have a daughter.
However, last year in January, Babirye filed for divorce, saying their marriage was stormy and characterised by sadness owing to what she describes as Niiwo's cruel, erratic, violent behaviour and lack of respect to the sanctity of their marriage.
The couple were wedded at Rubaga Miracle Centre on March 12, 2005. Babirye accused Niiwo of being a serial adulterer, who neglected his fatherly responsibilities to the many children he fathers out of his numerous relationships. She asked court to relieve her of the burden and free her from a violent marriage. She cited an incident when Niiwo physically assaulted her, hence forcing her to flee their marital home in November 2009.
Babirye also asked court to grant her sole custody of their 11-year-old daughter. When Saturday Vision called to ask her why she did not wait for the process to get to its logical conclusion, she hang up her phone. Efforts to get a comment from Sebulime were also futile as he was not picking our calls. n Niiwo speaks out Niiwo said he will not interfere in Babirye's "ill-advised plans".
"Babirye and her new husband need prayers and deliverance. I am not judging them but they are spiritually sick and blind. The Bible says in Proverbs 29:2 that when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice, but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. There is no honourable woman who can see a fellow woman crying for her husband and marriage and she goes ahead to marry that person.
"If she wanted to get married, she would have got another rich man from the constituency with no problems. Does that man know what the Bible says about marrying a divorced woman? He is committing adultery." Niiwo also said he will not marry again until God speaks to him.
"Babirye used me. But I forgave her and I pray God forgives her and her new husband too. She should read Matthew 5:43-48," Niiwo said. "If really God spoke to Babirye to get married again, I wish her the best. But for me, I will not rush into marriage. I will wait on God; I always do what God tells me to do."
Experts' views in Saturday Vision