A friend said Olivia was too good for me

John and Olivia say marriage should be treated as a ministry ordained by God knowing that one day you will be asked for accountability. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Marriage is an institution created by God; therefore it is a ministry of its own. “Whoever is in it must handle it with care, knowing that God will ask you for accountability,” John says.
  • Olivia urges couples not to tell outsiders their marriage challenges. “Talk to each other and together come up with a solution. Only God should be consulted in this case,” she says.

When John Lutalo first met Olivia Kwagala, a news anchor at CBS radio, it was love at first sight.

Lutalo says that at Bulange, Mengo, where he had gone to register for Entanda ya Buganda, he finally put a face to the pleasant-sounding voice he had always heard reading news on the radio.

John later travelled back to Dubai where he worked but contacted Olivia through Facebook in 2014. Although she had never met him, she shared her telephone number so that they could keep in touch through WhatsApp. For one year, the two focused on getting to know each other; as friends.

 However, his lifestyle was to soon catch up with him as they say.

“The day I told my friend, Jimmy Kakooza, with whom I worked in Dubai that I was dating Olivia, he advised against it. Jimmy knew both of us very well; Olivia as a woman of integrity and I as someone who loved partying and bar hoping,” he recalls. 

Seeing no chance for the relationship to blossom, John gave up on the idea of dating but did not tell Olivia. However, he later realised that it was not worth clinging onto a lifestyle and lose the love of his life. 

“In August 2014, I accepted Jesus Christ and got baptised. I started praying, asking God to help me find a virtuous woman,” he says, adding that in the process, he and Olivia started dating again. However, she asked that they meet in person.

John remembers a message sent by his longtime friend, Maj. Robert Mutabaazi.

“As we talked on Whatsapp, he advised me to watch out for ‘Kampala girls’ lest I get ‘detoothed’. Little did he know that in the same city were women who are not only rooted in God but also faithful,” he smiles. 

Sticking with his plan, John travelled to Uganda to meet Olivia in October 2015. They met at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala where John proposed. Thankfully, she accepted his proposal and they agreed to formalise the relationship in December 2016. 

“Meeting him for the first time, I did not expect a proposal. In fact, I found it rather abrupt,” she says.

After two months, John’s leave was up and he had to return to Dubai. Although it was sad, him retaining that job was important for smoother wedding preparations,” Olivia says.


John’s brother Francis Luwaga, cousin Richard Bweyinda and longtime friends Afande Moses Turyasingura and Maj. Mutabaazi chaired the wedding meetings, which was a great relief to Olivia.

“While I did all the preparations for Kukyala, Kwanjula, and the wedding by communicating with my friends and relatives through phone calls and online, I am thankful to Olivia, my family and friends who made the preparations easier,” he shares.

However, even after turning over a leaf, many of his family members refused to attend these functions believing that he was still a playboy. “Some thought it was all a hoax or was not worth witnessing as it would not last. The fact that it all happened was indeed a surprise to many,” he says.

The wedding

The couple held their Kukyala ceremony on December 9, 2016, Kwanjula on December 16, 2016 and the wedding on December 23, 2016 at Victory Christian Centre, Ndeeba.

With a leave of only 30 days, John travelled back to Dubai 10 days after the wedding. Starting marriage this way was something Olivia knew would happen but the reality hit her hard. 

“I missed him every day. However, we also heavily relied on phone calls and WhatsApp video calls to stay in touch. Thankfully, after four months, I travelled to Dubai for our honeymoon. It was courtship and honeymoon; a time to know each other more and plan for the future,” she says.  Even better was the fact that from then on, Olivia travelled to Dubai more often which helped the couple bond. 


Every marriage has its fair share of challenges. For the Lutalo’s, the hardest one to deal with was when Olivia suffered a miscarriage in 2017 yet John was in Dubai. “It was so painful that she had to go through that without me,” he says.

Thankfully, by the grace of God, they have a child, Prince Daniel Ndawula. “Because we do not have anyone trustworthy to leave him with when we have gone to work, we decided to work in shifts. By the time my wife starts work at 4pm, I am already back home to take care of our child. This way, he does not miss any of us,” John says.

John, who relocated to Uganda says by God’s grace he manages work, ministry and marriage very well. “I set an appropriate time for everything. That way, I have ample time for my family,” he shares.