By Derick Kissa
There was drama at Our Lady of Fatima in Jinja City after a woman who separated from her husband 30 years ago stormed the church service to block his plans of marrying another woman.Ms Mary Baseka Norah, 58, stormed the Sunday morning service demanding the church leaders to halt the marriage banns and other wedding preparations for her husband, Mr Martin Tibalira with whom she has two children.Flanked by her daughters, Ms Baseka interrupted the marriage banns saying she could not allow her husband to take on another woman (Ms Proscovia Nabirye) as his wife because they are still legally married.However, as she was still explaining, police was called to intervene before she was hounded out of the church and ordered to leave the premises.Her daughters faulted police officers for unfair treatment of their mother whom they said was seeking justice in a peaceful manner.“Why are you chasing our mother from the church? What has she done? She has come to pray. Is it because Mr Tibalira has paid you? It isn’t right at all,” One of the daughters shouted.
An undated photo of Jinja City businessman, Mr Martin Tibalira. COURTESY PHOTOA copy of the marriage certificate seen by this reporter show that Ms Baseka and Mr Tibalira, a prominent businessman in Jinja City got married on March 28, 1981. However, they separated in 1985 over Mr Tibalira’s promiscuous actions.“I am here to stop my husband from marrying another woman because we are still legally married. However, I’m surprised to see police hounding me from the church yet I would think they are supposed to protect me. To the best of my knowledge, church rules provide that Tibalira is not allowed to marry another woman unless we are divorced,” Ms Baseka said.
Ms Baseke (left) and her children talk to journalistsMs Baseka said she had first sought the intervention of the church leaders but they ignored her, prompting her to attend today’s church service and make her concerns known during the banns.“When I went to the church leaders, they paid me a deaf ear. They said they would continue with the wedding plans. I thought they were joking until I heard his name being mentioned during marriage banns,” she said.Our efforts to get a comment from the church leaders bore no fruits as they all declined to talk to the press.However, in a letter to the Bishop of the Diocese, Charles Martin Wamika, a copy of which was seen by this reporter, Rev. Fr Vincent Ndada, the Judicial Vicar of Jinja Diocese advises the church leaders to follow the canonical procedure which does not allow anyone to enter into another marriage before the nullity of the previous one.“The fact that Mr Martin Tibalira has in the meantime secured a civil annulment does not mean that the Church considers his marriage with Mary Baseka null and void, for civil authorities have no jurisdiction over the sacramental marriage. It is therefore, my considered opinion that the proposed marriage between Mr Martin Tibalira and Proscovia Nankwanga will be nothing but only an occasional scandal to the mind of many Christians who know the fact. It is the Church’s teaching that a sacramental bond gives rise to an impediment of divine law which renders persons already married incapable of entering subsequent marriage while the prior bond is still intact,” reads part of the letter dated October 15, 2020.
One of the buildings owned by the businessman in Jinja CityOne of the congregants who attended church and identified himself as Mr Umar Ndege said he was appalled by Mr Tibalira’s actions because it’s against the Bible teachings.“The Bible states it well that it is only death that will separate two people united as one in church. These people are still alive and I do not see why the man would marry another woman. The church leaders should just intervene and reconcile the two but from the look of things, it seems they were compromised,” Mr Ndege said.When Mr Tibalira was contacted, he said he would not solve his marriage issues in the press and declined to divulge more details.“Do not bother with that lady because you are the 10th journalist to call me on that issue. If you want to write anything, write it at your own risk but do not involve me. The best she should have done is to come to me but not to the news writer who cannot solve my marriage issues,” Mr Tibalira said.However, we learnt that after their separation, Ms Baseka went on to have three more kids with another man.