Sheikh Mohammed Mutumba, the Imam of Kyampisi Masjid Noor mosque in Kayunga District, has been suspended from his clerical work after unknowingly wedding a fellow man in Islamic culture (Nikah).
The regional Kadhi, Sheikh Abdul Noor Kakande, said Sheikh Mutumba, 27, was under investigation over the “unfortunate” incident.
Sheikh Isa Busuulwa, the head Imam of Masjid Noor of Kyampisi, said the move was intended to preserve the integrity of their faith.
“He has been one of the three Imams of the mosque. He had spent about four years preaching in this mosque on top of teaching Islam to children,” Sheikh Busuulwa said.
He explained that although he attended Sheikh Mutumba’s wedding reception at his grandmother’s home in Kyampisi Trading Centre, the mosque leadership did not take part in the wedding preparations.
A fortnight ago, Sheikh Mutumba unknowingly wedded a fellow man named femininely as Swabullah Nabukeera and spent two weeks with his new “wife” unaware of the latter’s true gender.
The truth came out later after police arrested ‘Nabukeera’ on theft allegations and during a body search by a female police officer before being taken to the cells, it was discovered that the suspect was actually a man. He revealed to police that his real name is Richard Tumushabe.
Mr Amisi Kibunga, the Kyampisi mosque bilal, said he saw Sheikh Mutumba’s ‘wife’ on two occasions at Juma prayers but said it was hard to discover that he was a man.
“He had a sweet soft voice and walked like a woman. She also always dressed in either gomesi or hijab,” Mr Kibunga explained.
“Four days after their wedding, the bridegroom came to me complaining that ‘her’ bride had refused to undress while they slept. Actually I was planning to go to their home to counsel ‘her’ when I heard that the bride had been arrested in connection with theft of a television set and clothes of their neighbour,” Mr Kibunga said.
A fortnight ago, Mr Mohammed Mutumba, a resident of Kyampisi Village in Kayunga Sub-County, Kayunga District, exchanged marriage vows in Islamic culture or Nikah (legal marriage contract between man and woman) with his ‘wife’ Ms Swabullah Nabukeera.
However, the couple which had not had any sexual intercourse before marriage also spent two weeks of their marriage, without enjoying conjugal rights as the “bride” claimed she was in her menstruation periods.
Mr Mutumba said after his wife claimed to be in her menses, he became patient and waited for her to get better.
However, Nabukeera’s luck ran out after Mr Mutumba’s neighbour claimed that his newly wedded wife had jumped over a wall and stole their television set and clothes.
Mr Mutumba rents a two-roomed house where they had been staying with Nabukeera. However, the wall that separates the two rental rooms did not reach the iron sheets.
The neighbor reported the case at Kayunga Police Station before detectives were dispatched to arrest Ms Nabukeera.
Kayunga District criminal investigations officer, Mr Isaac Mugera said when Ms Nabukeera reached the police station she was wearing a hijab and sandals.
“As the police’s normal practice, a female police officer, searched the suspect thoroughly before taking ‘her’ to the cells. However, to the shock of the officer, the suspect had stacked clothes in the bra to hoodwink that they were breasts,” Mr Mugera said.
“On further search, we discovered that the suspect had male genitals. We quickly informed ‘her’ husband who had escorted her to the police station,” he said.
The news shocked Mr Mutumba who asked the police to let him prove for himself by allowing him to see the private parts of his ‘wife’.
On discovering that he was a fellow man, Mr Mutumba made an alarm accusing Nabukeera of being a thief.
Mr Mugera said they later interrogated Ms Nabukeera, who revealed his real name as Richard Tumushabe, 27.
Mr Mugera added that Tumushabe told police that he had duped Mr Mutumba that he is a woman in a bid to get his money.
“We have already charged him with impersonation, theft and obtaining goods by false pretence,” the CID boss said.
Narrating how he fell in love with the suspect, Mr Mutumba , an Imam of Kyampisi mosque said he found Tumushabe at Kyampisi mosque where he had gone for prayers.
“I was looking for a woman to marry and when I landed on a beautiful girl wearing a hijab, I asked her for love and she accepted. We fell in love, however, she told me we could not have sex until I take dowry to her parents and also exchange marriage vows,” a visibly shocked Mutumba narrated.
He explained that within, a week he finalized everything and visited
his Nabukeera’s aunt, Ms Nuuru Nabukeera, a resident of Kituula Village in Seeta-Namuganga Sub-county.
Tumushabe’s alleged aunt, who has also been arrested by police said Mr Mutumba paid dowry which included two goats, two bags of sugar, three busuutis, a carton of salt and a Koran.
Ms Nuuru Nabukeera told police that she did not know that her ‘niece’ was male as she got to know him when he was already an adult.
“The first day he came to me he was wearing a hijab. I even slept with him in my bedroom. When she told me she had got a man for marriage, I gave her a go ahead and asked her to bring him to my home,” she said.
The police, however, said they were looking for pictures of their wedding ceremony which would further pin the suspect.
“The case file has been sent to the Resident State Attorney for perusal and we are waiting for legal advice before we take him to court,” Mr Mugera said.
The incident has left residents and family members of Mr Mutumba shocked.
“Youth should find better means to earn a living instead of engaging in such stupid acts,” Mr Mugera advised.
Sheikh Mohammed Ssemambo, the chairperson of Namagabi Muslim County, expressed shock over the incident. “I learnt about the incident. As a Muslim leader, he should have followed what the Koran says when one wants to get a spouse,” Sheikh Ssemambo said.
When this reporter visited Sheikh Mutumba’s rented home, neighbours said they had not seen him in four days. Sources said he had been taken by a relative for counselling.
“He is too devastated by the incident and needs counselling,” a source said.
“The ‘bride’ did all the house chores such as cooking, washing clothes and others while the husband was away but it was not easy to know he was just masquerading as a woman,” Mr Henry Mukwaya, a neighbour said.
“He always wore gomesi or hijab and spoke like a woman but she kept indoors most of the time,” he added.