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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Confusing world of Ugandan Christians: Divorce, Pray from a Pentecostal church but get married in an Anglican church: The controversial wedding of Joel Isabirye and Rebecca Jjingo where Pastor Wilson Bugembe Sung as Pastor Namutebi Kula watched.

We married in a big way to forget our past 
Publish Date: Jan 27, 2014
The wedding was well-attended by local artistes and religious leaders, including Pastor Imelda Namutebi Kula and her husband Tom Kula, who head Liberty Worship Centre in Lugala, where the couple prays from. But why the couple chose to be blessed by the Anglican Church, instead of the Pentecostal family, is another matter of debate.   
We married in a big way to forget our past

The couple exchanging rings at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe Word

Word has it that Joel Isabirye, a programmes director of Super FM and Rebecca Jjingo, a radio presenter, stage-managed their wedding, which was held on December 5, 2013. However, the couple dispelled the rumour in a chat with Samuel Lutwama

The fairytale wedding of Isabirye and Rebecca on December 5, 2013 was marred by controversy. Word has it that the wedding was stage-managed because Isabirye had been previously married in church Isabirye, however, dispels the rumours, saying everything was in accordance with what he and his wife had planned.

“We held a civil wedding, after which we proceeded to St. Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe to be blessed,” he says, adding: “If you wed at the registrar of marriages, your marriage will be recognised by law. One can also opt for customary marriage (traditional introduction), but for it to be recognised, it should be registered with the registrar of marriage, before six months have elapsed.”

Isabirye says while being blessed in church, their vows differed from those made by couples whose marriage is conducted in church. They went as follow: “I, Joel Isabirye, who has already married, do promise to love this woman till death do us part.”
After the vows, Isabirye says they exchanged rings before the Rev. Geoffrey Kakooza, the Vicar of Namirembe Cathedral and the Rev. David Ssekiziyivu. Thereafter, the couple signed two certificates.

According to Isabirye, the first certificate indicated  that the couple had been previously married, but their marriage was solemnised at Namirembe. The second certificate indicated that their marriage had been blessed by the church and, therefore, it was pleasing before God.

“We followed the whole process because we wanted our marriage to be pleasing before God,” he says. Isabirye says he was amazed by reports in the media that his wedding at Namirembe Cathedral was stage-managed. “How could we stage-manage the wedding before such high profile clergy?” he wondered.

Strength of a civil wedding

According to Isabirye, there are several advantages of having a civil wedding. If the couple gets serious misunderstandings and it is proved beyond doubts that the life of one of the partners is in danger, the law will take its course, unlike the church which is limited to just counselling and praying for the couple, even in times when prayers and counselling would not be the ideal solution.

He says before he and his wife signed their marriage certificate at the registrar’s office, they were given a book with the guidelines of a civil marriage.

How they met

Isabirye and Rebecca met in 2006 at Capital Radio, where they worked. Isabirye was the programmes director of Beat FM. As programmes director, he hired Rebecca to handle the breakfast show, which, according to him, she did beyond his expectations. Besides working together, the two got along easily and soon, they became friends.

“We started sharing lots of things and confiding in each other,” Isabirye explains.
With time, I realised she was from a well-structured family, considering the way she carried herself. She had all the qualities I needed in a wife. So, I pursued her until she heeded to my proposal,” Isabirye says.

At the time Isabirye and Rebecca dated, it was rumoured that he was having an intimate relationship with Titie, a local musician and radio presenter, who was also working at Beat FM. However, he denied the rumours, saying this was meant to tarnish his name.

“Honestly, I have never had an intimate relationship with Titie. She was once under my supervision during the time I met Rebecca. In fact, she is one of the first crew of radio presenters (Rebecca, Titie, Katongole, Mukunja) that I supervised when Beat FM had just started. They are like family to me,” he notes.

No love ghosts from the past

Isabirye admits that he was once in a relationship, but this was dissolved before Rebecca came into the picture “ It is true, I had a past relationship that did not work out and it was dissolved on good terms. “Many people have had failed relationships, but that does not stop them from moving on with their life,” Isabirye says.

Lessons from failed relationships

Isabirye says he has learnt many lessons from his failed relationship, which he hopes to draw from to better his relationship with Rebecca.
“I have learnt that people are attracted to each other due to physical appearance, then later realise that one’s character is flawed. Seven  years was enough for me and Rebecca to evaluate each other’s character and build a strong relationship,” he says.

Falling in love with a friend is also what makes Isabirye optimistic that he and Rebecca will have a wonderful marriage. “I have evaluated my wife and I am sure she is the one God chose for me. Rebecca was brought up well. She knows how to take care of her home,” he says.

Warning to young people

To those who intend to marry while they are still young, Isabirye warns: “Marriage is not for boys.” He blames Pentecostal churches for promoting early marriage without equipping young people with tips on handling marital pressures.

“Most of these churches do not want their flock to indulge in fornication, so they usher them into marriage, without preparing them for the task ahead.

A young person cannot deal with marital pressure,” he warns. Isabirye advises men to marry after 30 and women not to attempt it before they are 27 years. He draws from his personal experience, saying his past relationship failed because he rushed into it, before he was mature enough.

Fairytale introduction, wedding

Isabirye and Rebecca held a pompous introduction ceremony at Rebecca’s parents’ home at Ssumba, Buddo. According to Isabirye, they intended to have a big memorable introduction ceremony. “We wanted our introduction to stand out from those that had been done in the past,” he says.
Interestingly, Rebecca had no idea of the surprises Joel had in store for her that day. “When I learnt that Isabirye had arrived for the ceremony in a chopper, I knew we had set a precedent in my family because that had never been done before,” she disclosed shortly after her introduction.

Perhaps it was that surprise that set in motion the happiness and excitement that she displayed on her special day. She laughed and jumped as she danced and sang along to every song. When her best friend, Titie, hugged her, the two cried. Rebecca says her husband brought many gifts, but the shares, worth sh10m, that her husband bought her in Stanbic Bank, were the most memorable.


Eight months after the introduction, the couple held a glamorous wedding on Thursday, December 5. The couple had two reception venues, both indoor and outdoor at UMA showground. The couple held their wedding on a Thursday because they wanted local musicians, who are usually busy over the weekend, to attend.

The wedding was well-attended by local artistes and religious leaders, including Pastor Imelda Namutebi Kula and her husband Tom Kula, who head Liberty Worship Centre in Lugala, where the couple prays from. But why the couple chose to be blessed by the Anglican Church, instead of the Pentecostal family, is another matter of debate.

The boy is mine, claims Isabirye’s ‘some’ woman
Publish Date: Oct 26, 2012
The boy is mine, claims Isabirye’s ‘some’ woman

Isabirye and fiancee Rebecca Jjingo are set to wed in December

Following media reports of radio consultant Joel Isabirye’s plans to walk down the aisle with his fiancée Rebecca Jjingo come December 6, a UK-based nkuba kyeyo called Ritah Kaggwa last week crawled out of the woodwork. 

She claimed to be Isabirye’s wife from way back and that she had just given birth to Isabirye’s baby boy. She even went on Facebook and launched a smear campaign on Isabirye and his fiancée. Upon responding on her page that he didn’t know her, Isabirye got a severe backlash from Ritah’s kyeyo pals. 

And just when we were trying to wrap our heads around this, a UK-based lawyer called Charles Eliba has jumped into the fray, wondering why his wife Rita is running after Isabirye.

Eliba says Ritah, whose maiden name is Ritah Namayega and not Ritah Kaggwa, has two children with him. 

Eliba has gone on to email us Ritah’s documents, in which Ritah shares his last name. Rita’s UK passport, numbered 500973837, and student’s identity card from London Metropolitan University, both state her name as Ritah Eliba. 

“We got married on May 27, 2007 by civil registration at the Uganda Registration Bureau in Kampala, and Rita’s father Apollo Kaggwa, whose surname she’s using on facebook, was one of the witnesses,” said Eliba, who also sent us a copy of their marriage certificate, numbered 8239. 

He says he does not know what Ritah is up to in clinging onto Isabirye and his fiancée, but that whatever it is, it’s disturbing.

Meanwhile, Isabirye’s engagement is on the line as the bubbly Rebecca Jjingo, who also happens to be a radio presenter and singer, is finding it hard to believe Isabirye doesn’t know Ritah. 

Could this be the work of one of the women in Isabirye’s past life, or Ritah and Isabirye actually come from way back? 

“I don’t know what that so-called Ritah is talking about. It’s likely someone is framing me since they see me about to be happily married. I don’t know Ritah, period,” said an incensed Isabirye when Blitz called him.

Isabirye,Jingo Denied Holy Matrimony Over Past Marriage?

A canon (names with held) at Namirembe cathedral has today denied Joel Isabirye and Rebecca Jingo holy matrimony over past marriage.

Joel and Jingo
Joel and Jingo

According to one Kakensa Henry Ndugwa who was among the invited guest says;
As i anticipated earlier, the church doesn’t honor divorce and therefore the union of Joel and Jingo can only be done at the magistrars office not church. Today at Namirembe cathedral the canon has denied the holly matrimony of the couple but prayed for them. The wedding is still on all the same
According to sources, the canon denied the couple the holy union because Joel Isabirye was once married but never got divorce to proceed with the second marriage besides being introduced by more than three women in less than 10 years.

Joel and Jingo
Joel and Jingo
It is said that before Joel was introduced by Rebecca Jjingo the Beat FM presenter at her parents’ home in Buddo in April this year, the occasion was interrupted and un-seconded by many of his so-called wives and friends.

Joel’s first wedding was to former Daily Monitor employee, Grace Naisamura, with whom they parted ways a few years ago. Joel then introduced a one Sharon Nagadya, whom he separated from less than six months after the introduction.

There came another UK-based Rita Kaggwa who went viral on Facebook as she posted that she was engaged to the former Capital FM senior manager. Kaggwa went ahead and revealed that she was expecting Joel’s baby. She posted several photos of her and Joel as proof. Kaggwa claims that her son (Randell Joel Isabirye Junior) who is a few months old is actually Joel’s.

Despite all this drama, today is their day and they have sworn that not even the Canon who has denied them the union will stop the wedding.

Joel Isabirye and Rebecca Jjingo on their wedding day
You all remember the first helicopter introduction ceremony by none other than Radio consultant, Joel Isabirye, yesterday (Dec 5) was his wedding to Beat FM's, Rebecca Jjingo.

The couple went to Namirembe Cathedral for a wedding of a lifetime but the church had already been informed that the two had been married in separate relationships and divorced.
Joel is on record for having married and introduced different ladies before. The church is now investigating that bit and that could explain why, the newly weds had no certificate to display at the time. It was not long that word started spreading like wildfire that the Canon had failed to join them in holy matrimony, the groom dashed to his phone to clear the space:

"If you want to see the marriage certificate, check on me at Super FM in two weeks time," Joel wrote.
Two weeks' time for the certificate that is normally issued shortly after exchanging vows did not help matters either.

Meanwhile, his Ex-wife based in the UK, Rita Kagwa and also a mother to one of his sons was busy enjoying the drama that was unfolding by the minute, but that was short lived when she later noticed that the helicopter wedding was taking place anyway.
As the helicopter made it's way to UMA Exhibition Hall where other guests were waiting, Joel again dashed for his phone to reach out to both 'haters' and well wishers with these words:
"We are already married and that marriage was solemnized today take it or leave it, we are going to reception now. For the haters, it is unfortunate and for those who support us, Thank you."
The couple arriving for the reception
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