The bigamy case filed against House of Prayer Ministries International (HPMI) lead pastor Aloysius Bujjingo has taken a new twist that likely left Teddy Naluswa Bujjingo, the wife of the controversial ‘man of God’ in tears.
Bujjingo and his ‘girlfriend’ Suzan Makula Nantaba have been in the news after the HPMI pastor publicly declared he had replaced Teddy with Suzan, a Salt Media staff.
Bujjingo’s action compelled Teddy Naluswa, his wife of almost three decades, to run to court, challenging the pastor’s entanglement with Makula. Bujjingo and Makula face bigamy charges under the Marriage Act.
With Makula ‘introducing’ Bujjingo to her family at Kawuku, Katabi Town Council in Wakiso District on December 07, 2021, Teddy Naluswa ran to file a complaint at Kawempe Police Station, telling officers that the pastor had committed bigamy by getting into another marriage (a customary one) yet he was still lawfully married to her.
It should be remembered that Bujjingo had filed for divorce at Kajjansi Chief Magistrates’ Court, saying Teddy Naluswa had disrespected him and that they had irreconcilable differences that made it impossible for the union to continue.
In June 2022, Pastor Bujjingo, through his lawyer Ronald Ruhinda, Pastor Bujjingo petitioned the Entebbe Magistrate’s Court seeking to have his bigamy case referred to the Constitutional Court for interpretation and review.
Ruhinda argued that the laws on bigamy were outdated, draconian, irrational and illegal “in the current modern contemporary constitutional order.” The said laws included the Marriage Act (particularly Sections 42 and 50) and the Penal Code Act (particularly Section 153).
Section 153 of the Penal Code reads: “Any person who, having a husband or wife living, goes through a ceremony of marriage which is void by reason of its taking place during the life of such a husband or wife, commits a felony and is liable to imprisonment for five years; except that this section shall not extend to any person whose marriage with such a husband or wife has been declared void by a court of competent jurisdiction.”
To bolster Bujjingo’s case, Counsel Ruhinda tabled 21 grounds. He argued that the Marriage Act and the Penal Code Act infringed on the rights of Bujjingo and Makula, his clients, since “the inherent right to choose whom to marry is generalized to give an individual autonomous right to enter a bigamous marriage” and that “as such, the criminalization and non-recognition of bigamous marriages interfere with the free exercise of choice of a marriage partner and the right to marry and found a family.”
Ruhinda equally argued that the laws in question also infringed on his clients’ right to equality before the law without discrimination as well as the right to privacy, and that this was a contravention of the national objectives and directive principles of state policy III since the charges of bigamy would not ordinarily be slapped against those in customary as well as Hindu and Muslim unions.
Ruling on the petition, Entebbe Grade One Senior Principal Magistrate Stella Paculal Okwong has agreed to refer the case to the Constitutional Court, agreeing that there were indeed key questioned that can only be answered by this higher temple of justice.
“To this far, 21 questions of the Constitutional Interpretation have been raised for the determination of the Court of Appeal sitting as the Constitutional Court. I hereby forward hereto attached, the Original Court file and ten (10) copies of the Constitutional Reference for further management,” Okwong wrote to the Constitutional Court.
The Constitutional Court is expected to announce a schedule for the handling of this review. But if it rules in Bujjingo’s favour, Teddy Naluswa could be in more tears, watching her marriage continue to collapse.
It should be remembered that Pastor Bujjingo and Suzan Makula once survived being sent to prison after a city lawyer’s attempt to ensure that they go to jail on remand collapsed. (Read Story Here).
Bujjingo has also previously accused Teddy Naluswa of stealing his land titles and car log books, insisting that his ‘wife’ be ordered to cough hundreds of millions or be sent to prison. (Read Story Here).