By Joan Salmon
Many people have taken to having civil weddings and while it may irk some that think these have forsaken their religious roots, it is important to note that a civil marriage is one of the recognized ones in Uganda.
It is also acceptable that one has both a civil and church wedding, Andrew Kyamagero had a similar arrangement.
In case you need to go for a civil wedding, here is what you need to have at hand or do, according to Uganda Registry Services Bureau (URSB):
An Intending couple should appear in person before the Registrar of Marriages for their district for an interview and have the following at hand;
a. Proof of citizenship, for example a passport or national identification card
b. An LC 1 letter to prove residence for at least 15 days in the district in which the marriage is intended to be solemnized.
c. A passport size photograph.
e. Registered marriage affidavits that conform to Section 10 of the Marriage Act.
In case one is a foreign citizen, they should avail a letter from the Civil Registration or Vital Statistics Office of their country confirming that they are not married.
The intending couple should then fill a Notice of Marriage before a Registrar of Marriages (indicating their names, marital status, age, occupation and place of abode) and get assessment forms to make payments at any bank of their choice.
Alternatively, the couple can carry out the self-assessment option by logging on to the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) website at www.ura.go.ug
Thereafter, the Notice of Marriage will be published on the Registrar of Marriages’ notice board for 21 calendar days.
If there are no objection to the notice of marriage, the ceremony will take place after 21 calendar days but not before the lapse of 90 calendar days.
If there is an objection, a caveat is placed and the matter will be referred to court for settlement.
Marriages are celebrated from Monday to Friday, between 10 am and 4 pm, and the parties should appear with two witnesses before the Registrar who will perform the ceremony and thereafter issue them with a marriage certificate.
Fees payable is Shs260,000, where one of the parties to the marriage is Ugandan or a refugee while where both parties are foreigners, the fee is $210.
Couples that chose civil weddings
Shafic Senabulya and Joyce Biira had a civil wedding on July 17, 2019, something that was agreed upon owing to religious differences. “Her family hesitated to accept me because I am Muslim and she is Anglican. However, after intense negotiations, we agreed that she would stay Anglican and I Muslim, so we had a civil wedding,” Senabulya shared.
NTV news anchor Andrew Kyamagero and wife Linda Kyamagero also had a civil wedding on May 18, 2019. Andrew said he opted for it because most churches in Uganda are not legally recognized making their certificate null and void, in the case of which a couple may suffer havoc if they need to use the certificate for official reasons.
Moses Semondo and Julie Beira had a civil wedding. The couple spent a total of only Shs3m with their dressing, feeding, reception and civil ceremony included.