What you need to know:
- The court heard that the woman came up with an excuse that her parents have stated that their daughter should not get married to an older man.
Court has ordered a woman in Kanungu District to pay her former fiancé more than Shs10 million as compensation for breach of the promise to marry him.
Court records show that Richard Tumwine and Fortunate Kyarikunda, both teachers started their love relationship in 2015 and that the duo later entered a promise to marry agreement in 2018.
The court also heard that Tumwine, a teacher at Kiringa Primary School, financially supported Kyarikunda- including sponsoring her for a diploma in law at the Law Development Center (LDC) where he spent more than Shs9.4 million.
Kanungu Grade One Magistrate Asanasio Mukobi held that since the promise to marry was not fulfilled by Kyarikunda to the detriment of Tumwine, then he is entitled to re-imbursement of his Shs9.4 million spent on her.
Mr Mukobi also ordered Kyarikunda to pay Shs1milllion to Tumwine as general damages for inconveniences and psychological anguish suffered.
The magistrate further ruled that Kyarikunda pays legal costs incurred by Tumwine in prosecution of his case.
“I note, from the exhibit, several mobile money transfer transactions from the plaintiff’s cell phone in names of Richard Tumwine to the defendant’s cell phone in names of Fortunate Kyarikunda,” the magistrate observed.
The magistrate added: “From the exhibit, it is indicated as a budget for introduction for Fortunate Kyarikunda’s parents home and several items worth Shs5million are indicated on the list and the comments of the defendant appreciating the budget and requesting for more financial support to enable her go to Rubanda is clearly indicated.”
At hearing of the case, Tumwine told court that the introduction ceremony was slated for February 2022 but it did not take place with no justifiable reason given.
The court heard that Kyarikunda came up with an excuse that her parents have stated that their daughter should not get married to an older man referring to Tumwine.
But the court held: “This is equally unreasonable, a misrepresentation and a fraud. In any case, the defendant had all the opportunity to reject the plaintiff’s love requests at the earliest point possible and avoid interfering with his financial obligations.”
The court observed that the two people were engaged in a love relationship and that from the exhibits presented, arrangements for an introduction ceremony were made.
“The defendant (Kyarikunda) suggested that it takes place in February 2022 and the said date passed despite the plaintiff’s preparations for the introduction. The excuse the defendant gave was that she could not get married to an old man, the plaintiff, as if she did not see young men during there over four years courtship,” the magistrate ruled.
But Uganda's former ethics minister and prominent women's rights activist Miria Matembe slammed the "one-sided" verdict.
It was "a classic case of how the judicial systems are tilted in favour of men," she said.
What they say
Fred Muwema, Lawyer
“... In common law, breach of law was actionable. The serious emotional distress and anguish that comes from love is real; it happens and has negative social impact; many people have lost faith in the institution of marriage due to this and if you made the man pay tuition without the intention of getting married, then that is fraudulent. ..”
Dr John Omagino, ED Heart Institute
“I imagine there was no agreement until during the wedding because even before you are wedded, the priests ask whether there is a reason why the marriage should not go on, well I am not a legal person, but this is now like saying I want to buy your car and then you change your mind.”
Phiona Wall Nabasa, Lawyer
“There is what we call promise to marry and, it is because of that promise that someone made the investment to educate you; therefore, they have the right to claim the mental anguish they suffered. It is a lesson to young people to be careful with the commitments they make...”