Runaway groom resurfaces

This combination of photos shows Dr Patrick Mbusa Kabagambe in an earlier picture (left) and during the introduction ceremony (right). PHOTOS/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Patrick Kabagambe could not be traced last Saturday when he was to wed Christabella Banturaki.

All was set for the momentous day in Ms Christabella Banturaki’s life. Ms Banturaki and prospective husband, Dr Patrick Mbusa Kabagambe, were to set to tie the knot at All Saints Cathedral Nakasero in Kampala City last Saturday.

The invitation card sent out to guests quoted the Book of Proverb Chapter 18:22, which reads: “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from God.”

The reception for the wedding had been organised at Silver Springs Hotel in Kampala.
However, on the eve of the historic day, Dr Kabagambe’s  mobile phone handset was momentarily switched off. And he vanished, triggering frantic calls, panic, anxiety and confusion.

Worried, Ms Banturaki in company of her uncle went to Kasangati Police Station, Wakiso District, where they opened a case of a missing person. Detectives, relatives and friends began a frantic search for the would-be groom.

Worried relatives flooded social media with messages announcing the sudden disappearance of Dr Kabagambe, imploring well-wishers to share information wherever he is spotted -  dead or alive.

“Dr Patrick Mbusa Kabagambe has been reported missing with his car UBH 905X on the eve of his wedding this Saturday, 10 April 21, and all his known [telephone] contacts are switched off. The case has been reported at Kasangati Police Station, SD REF 22/10/04/2021…The family is stuck with the wedding/reception.

Patriots, let’s assist trace the suspect/victim,” a relative posted in a WhatsApp group last Saturday.
On the D-day, minutes turned into hours without anyone hearing about him, converting what should have been a blissful ceremony into an agonising blind search and wait for information about the no-show Kabagambe.
The bride, who had been informed hours earlier, did not head to All Saints Nakasero Cathedral.

Some relatives, unaware of the developments, appeared at the church in their best attire for the scheduled wedding, only to find neither the bride nor the groom was present.

The time scheduled for the church service in which the bride and groom were to exchange vows and be pronounced husband and wife, passed with no sight of the pair.

The next day, the search was expanded. But before the police could engage other tracking units to establish his last contacts, Dr Kabagambe unexpectedly presented himself at Wandegeya Police Station in Kampala.
The deputy spokesperson for Kampala Metropolitan Police, Mr Luke Owoyesigyire, said Dr Kabagambe told detectives that he was not a missing person as reported to the Force, but elected to spend a night at the home of an undisclosed friend.

“He said he was stressed. He didn’t have a reason why he didn’t want to marry Ms Banturaki. We later released him on police bond as investigations continue,” Mr Owoyesigyire said yesterday.

However, there is no clear penal offence that the police can prefer against him given the fact that he claimed that he married Ms Banturaki in customary ceremony and even paid bride price.
In Uganda, the law recognises customary marriage.

Mr Owoyesigyire said they are waiting for Ms Banturaki to record a statement with detectives to determine the next course of the case.

Efforts to get a comment from Dr Kabagambe or Ms Banturaki were futile. Our calls to the would-be groom went unanswered while Ms Banturaki’s known phone contacts were switched off.
A close relative of Dr Kabagambe said the runaway groom is “traumatised” while the entire family is distressed over the flopped wedding.