By Beatrice Nakibuuka
They are children of police officers and childhood friends who used to live in Nsambya Barracks. With the police transfers, Emmanuel Muwanika’s parents were posted to Lugazi when Carol Nabwire was in Primary Four. Although Emmanuel was a bit older, their friendship continued. Little did they know what their friendship would become later.
Carol Nabwire’s family lived at the barracks in Nsambya while Emmanuel Muwanika’s family moved to Namanve. About 10 years later, the duo met at the gate of the barracks. Carol had gone to visit her parents and Emmanuel, to establish if there were still any childhood friends at the barracks.
“It was a coincidence that we met on the same day in April 2017 to pay a visit to a place we once called home. Carol had not changed much and we exchanged contacts. We chatted with our childlike innocence,” Emmanuel recalls.
The two continued talking. But when Carol’s father passed on in September 2018, Emmanuel availed himself.
“He helped me through the healing process. He would take me out and helped me through the grief,” she says.
An inch close
Emmanuel recalls doing a background check from her workmates who doubled as friends and he found out that she was not in a relationship. Carol’s kindness, respect for people and seriousness melted Emmanuel’s heart. When he asked that they get into a relationship, she asked him to seek consent from her mother.
“I was not sure things were going to work out with her,” Emmanuel says.
“ I had been in a number of relationships that did not work out. I went to her with an open heart. Her mother was tough. I feared her even the time we were still living at the barracks. I was scared but determined to date and marry her daughter.”
It is then that Emmanuel rang her seeking permission to date her daughter. Her response at the end of the line was a cold ‘okay…’
“I took it for a ‘no’ but I went ahead and paid her a visit still seeking her consent to date Carol,” Emmanuel says.
The mother then gave them a go ahead and they had a kukyala in December 2018. From that time, their relationship grew. The couple wanted to legalise their marriage in March last year but Carol conceived and did not want a baby bump in her wedding photos. So she waited until she had their baby.
Since Emmanuel is a church leader, he badly wanted to have a wedding soon. After delivery, the lockdown came in. Inspired by NTV anchor Andrew Kyamagero, on July 30, the couple first held a civil marriage and then a blessing from church the next day before proceeding to a reception comprising friends.
The duo chose a civil wedding because it is cheaper. It cost them Sh320,000, and the process was quick and accessible.
“We started the process in June by filling forms from the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), attached our passport photos, a photocopy of our witnesses; matron and best man, LC letters that proved that we were single and a letter of consent from our parents. We scanned these documents and sent them to URSB. In a few weeks, we received a response,” Carol recounts.
The Muwanikas used Sh5m for their wedding. They had saved Sh2.5m and friends contributed the balance. The most expensive item was the reception at Sh1.5m.
On their wedding, all Emmanuel and Carol needed were their national IDs and finger rings. They went to the URSB office and lawyer Zeus Kizza wedded them. Altogether, six people attended the ceremony; bride, groom, best man, matron, photographer and lawyer. The ceremony lasted 30 minutes.
The Muwanikas chose a couple to be their witness both at the civil marriage and the church blessing service.
“The couple are friends who have stood by us at all times. The best man is a pastor and he is the one who took us through the counselling sessions,” Emmanuel explains.
The next day, July 31, the couple held a church service at Victory City Church, Kisugu. Thirty people attended and their reception was at Hotel International in Muyenga.
“My parents had to travel back to Mukono and being aware of the curfew, the reception time was strictly two and a half hours,” he recalls.
Supportive parents who gave the couple consent letters also accepted that the couple would have their introduction next year at their convenience.