By Desire Mbabaali
Uganda was awash with mixed feelings and all sorts of comments when one Micheal Aboneka sued Watoto church over their ‘stringent’ wedding rules for couples intending to tie the knot. Although some people totally identified with the issues Aboneka raised, others maintained the list of requirements needed by Watoto church has always been the norm of how most churches conduct weddings.
So, whether you are preparing for your impending wedding, your future wedding or you simply want to be in the know, here is a list of requirements that you will need to conduct your wedding in the different religious and government domains.
In preparation of conducting a wedding, Pr Godfrey Lubwama, the head of SDA Kampala Central Church says that the couple should be above 18 years as dictated by law in Uganda. On top of that, a consent letter from the parents of the bride to be is required.
Furthermore, the two should be of the same religion in this case; both Adventists and going to an SDA church. They must also have been baptized. Having fulfilled those requirements, the couple should attend counselling for not less than 10 hours which translates into two hours of counseling every week. There, a questionnaire is given to them for more details including HIV/STD medical results, Rhesus factor check among others.
About the church fees, Pr Lubwama says that every SDA church determines the fees charged to conduct a wedding.
Reverend Father Deogratias Kiibi Kateregga, the information coordinator for Lubaga Cathedral says that the requirements for conducting Holy matrimony at the church include;
A letter from the parents of girls that shows that the lady introduced the man and that the parents consented to the marriage between the two. This letter should include both the names of the lady and the man.
The other requirement is a letter from the parish priest or the religious leader of the couple to be wedded.
There should also be evidence of baptism and confirmation of the couple in the faith.
Finally, the two are required to present their National Identity cards as evidence that they are Ugandans.
Protestants require the same.
On the other hand, Sybella Nankya, a minister at Life Church Namasuba, notes that the couple needs letters from the couple’s parents okaying the marriage, medical test results and in the event that they are not members of Life Church, a recommendation letter from their home church is needed. They also have to attend counselling and guidance sessions prior to the wedding. The couple is to also pay a fee (depending on each church branch) for conducting the wedding. Two passport size photos, pictures (hard copy) of both the bride and groom to be and one picture (soft copy) of the couple together are also required.
Additionally, for members; A letter from their life church group leader is required, and a recommendation letter from any leader from Life church are needful.
Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB)
Civil marriages in Uganda are presided over by URSB. The Intending couple must appear in person before the Registrar of Marriages for an interview. They should be single, above 18 years and not parties to existing marriages.
They should show up with the following:
- Proof of nationality for example a voter’s card, passport or National Identity Card
- An LC 1 letter to prove residence in Kampala district for at least 15 days
- A passport size photograph for identification
- Registered Marriage affirmations that conform with Section.10 of the Marriage Act
In case of foreign nationals, a letter from your Civil Registration or Vital Statistics Office confirming that you are not married should be provided.
Where parties are between 18 and 21 years, they should in addition the above submit:
- A birth certificate to prove parentage
- A consent letter from the father or mother or legal guardian
- A photocopy of the identification of the consenting authority
Refugees are required to have the following;
- Refugee I.D
- Bio Data from Office of the Prime Minister
The intending couple also fills in a notice of marriage before a registrar and is given assessment forms to make payments at any bank of their choice.
The notice of marriage is then pinned up on the URSB notice board for 21 calendar days.
If there is no objection to the marriage, the ceremony takes place between 21 and 90 days on Monday to Friday between 10 am to 4 pm.
If there is an objection, a forewarning is placed and the matter is referred to court.
Ug shs 260,000 for Ugandans and Refugees
USD 210 for foreigners
Time frame: 21 – 90 days
(Retrieved from URSB website)
We hope that this helps you plan your marriage much more easily. Michael Aboneka’s case challenging the requirements of the church for a couple to wed is still in court. A date is yet to be set for its hearing. For now, fulfill the requirements as needed by the different religious factions to avoid inconvenience.