By Clare Muhindo
A wedding day in Uganda is often one of the happiest days families share, but for those who had planned theirs to take place in the next one month, the coronavirus is throwing a wrench into their day of bliss as President Museveni has banned huge gatherings.
Many couples with weddings scheduled in March and April now have to grapple with the decision to cancel or postpone their weddings because of the virus that has ravaged many countries across the world.
Addressing the nation on Wednesday, the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni declared a 32-day ban on pentagon weddings- the norm in Uganda, where weddings are attended by hundreds of clan mates, friends, well wishers.
“Uganda style weddings bring together a pentagon of groups. This multidirectional source of the embaga/ mikolo attendants can be a source of great danger,” he explained.
If the wedding must go on, the president advised couples to opt for the scientifc model wedding, with a maximum of ten people- the bride, groom, matron, bestman and the priest.
He further shared that the first lady and himself had a small wedding in the past, “Maama Janet and myself used this scientific method and we have not regretted.”
When they later celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2013, Museveni notes that it was a full blown celebration, done in the Ugandan pentagon style attended by many people, and their grand children as bridesmaids.
The ban has been received with nod by Ugandans on social media.
Mazima I’m getting married within this period. Thank you Sevo
— Sheila Nduhukire 🇺🇬 (@Snduhukire) March 18, 2020
Uganda, which hasn’t yet recorded a #coronavirus case, suspends LARGE weddings (and funerals) for 32 days, says .@KagutaMuseveni in #COVID19UG address. Smaller ones of less than 10 can, however take place. To save money, this might be the best time to get hitched in Uganda.
— Charles Onyango-Obbo (@cobbo3) March 18, 2020
Other gatherings that have been postponed include churches(for prayers), political and cultural gatherings, concerts, bars and sports arenas. Burial has also been limited to a few close family members while education institutions will also be closed for 32 days, starting Friday.
Coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.
The Coronavirus pandemic has left more than 150,000 people infected worldwide and over 5,800 dead. The virus incubates in 14 days and it is after two or seven days that an infected person develops symptoms.
There are now 19 confirmed cases across six countries in East Africa.