Fake bride: Imam who wedded disguised man released on bail

Mohammed Mutumba and Richard Tumusambe. Photo[Courtesy]

A Ugandan Imam and the man he unknowingly married while disguised as a woman have been released from on bail.

Appearing before Mukono Chief Magistrate Juliet Hatanga, Sheikh Mutumba and Richard Tumushabe were ordered to pay Ush1 million (Sh27,400) each.

The Imam is facing charges of having carnal knowledge with a person against the order of nature while the man whom he had been living as his “wife” is answering to charges of two counts of theft and having carnal knowledge with a person against the order of nature.

 “It is true I did something wrong and I regret it but my current condition forced me to do it… I grew up on Kampala streets under very harsh conditions that forced me to act the way I did and I regret it,” Tumushabe said before his first appearance in court.

The Sheikh, who had been serving as Imam of Kyampisi mosque was suspended from his clerical job.

READ ALSO: Imam who unknowingly married fellow man arrested, charged in court

Kayunga District Police Commander John Lukooto last month said that the sham-woman had previously hoodwinked other men who fell ‘in love’ with him before making away with their money.

After the story was widely publicised, several other victims of Tumushabe came forward. In one account, the perpetrator allegedly duped them into believing that ‘she’ was their family member. The accused further convinced them to welcome ‘her’ husband for traditional introductions-  but the story  quickly changed.

Rather than the planned introductions taking place, the accuser said that Tumushabe then claimed her husband-to-be had died in an accident on the way to the function. The family gave her money intended for funeral costs.

According to the complainant, they did not see or hear from the suspected fraudster ever since.

Mutumba and Tumusambe who went by the feminine name Swabullah Nabukeera were arrested after it emerged that the latter had been masquerading as a woman.

This unfolded after Tumushabe was discovered to be a man after being frisked by a female police officer. The theft of their neighbour’s television prompted the police to arrest the deceitful “bride” and during a body search by the officer, he was exposed for his deception.

The discovery appeared to shock the Imam who had been living with his “bride” for two weeks already, claiming to have seen no signs of his spouse being a man.  

READ ALSO: Imam who unknowingly married fellow man suspended

In the past, Uganda has been known to have little to no tolerance of homosexuality and the wider LGBTQ population. In October 2019, reports indicated that there were plans to have a law which imposed the death penalty for gay sex. The reports were triggered by statements of the country’s Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo.

According to Reuters, the minister announced “plans to re-introduce an anti-homosexuality bill in parliament within weeks to curb the spread of homosexuality in the east African nation”.

After international concerns, a presidential spokesperson came out to deny the contentious plans.

“There are no plans by the government to introduce a law like that. We have the penal code that already handles issues of unnatural sexual behavior so there is no law coming up.” Don Wanyama, President Museveni’s senior press secretary said last year.

Gay sex is currently punishable with life imprisonment in the largely conservative and Christian country.