Ugandan imam and his male wife charged under anti-gay laws

Imam and the ‘wife’ he married without realising ‘she’ was a man are charged with ‘going against nature’ under Uganda’s anti-gay laws

  • Mohammed Mutumba, 27, and Richard Tumushabe, 19, were bailed last Thursday
  • Charged with ‘having carnal knowledge with a person against order of nature’
  • Mutumba claims he did not realise Tumushabe was a man until police searched the teenager last month when he was caught stealing a TV from a neighbour
  • Mutumba claims he was never intimate with Tumushabe who refused to undress

An imam and the ‘wife’ he married without realising ‘she’ was a man have been charged with ‘going against nature’ under Uganda’s anti-gay laws.

Sheikh Mohammed Mutumba, 27, and Richard Tumushabe, 19, were bailed last Thursday ahead of their trial for ‘having carnal knowledge with a person against the order of nature.’

Mutumba, who has been suspended from duties at his mosque in Kayunga, claims he only discovered Tumushabe was a man when police arrested his ‘wife’ for theft.

Mutumba claimed he hadn’t been intimate with his ‘wife’ since the wedding two weeks before because Tumushabe said ‘she’ was menstruating. The pair were released on 1million shillings (£200) bail each at Mukono Magistrates’ Court.  

Sheikh Mohammed Mutumba, 27, says he had no idea his bride Richard Tumushabe, 19, was a man when they married (pictured on their wedding day)

Tumushabe, who is also charged with two counts of theft, admitted pretending to be a woman so he could marry the imam and steal his money, local media reported.  

Mutumba said he thought he was marrying a woman called Swabullah Nabukeera when they wed in a traditional Islamic ceremony in December.  

But Tumushabe was rumbled when he was arrested or theft of a television set and clothes from his next door neighbours in January.

Tumushabe, 19, was searched by police after he was caught stealing and they discovered he was not a woman 

A female police officer carried out a body search on the suspect, thinking Tumushabe was a woman, and found out he was actually a man.

Mutumba is said to be ‘too devastated’ to talk about the incident and needs counselling. 

Friends and colleagues said they were also fooled by the imposter, who usually wore a hijab. 

Amisi Kibunga, who also works at the mosque, said: ‘He had a sweet soft voice and walked like a woman.’ 

Kibunga also revealed that Mutumba had complained four days after the wedding that his new bride refused ‘to undress while they slept.’ 

The suspect later told police his real name was Richard Tumushabe and he admitted he married Mutumba in a bid to steal the cleric’s money.

Mosque officials said they suspended the imam despite confirming he had entered the marriage thinking Nabukeera was a woman.

The mosque’s head imam, Sheikh Isa Busuulwa, said the suspension was necessary to ‘preserve the integrity of their faith.’ 

The pair appeared at Mukono Magistrates’ Court last Thursday where they are both receiving free legal representation from Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum

He said Mutumba had worked at the mosque for four years and was one of its three imams.

The head cleric added that though he had attended Mutumba’s marriage reception, the mosque had not been involved in the wedding celebrations. 

The men are receiving free legal representation from Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum.

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