For breaking up with her fiancé for no congent reason in the eyes of the court, a Ugandan woman has been ordered to pay him financial damages for psychological anguish.
The court in Kanungu said that Richard Tumwine paid 9.4 million shillings ($2,550; £2,060) for Fortunate Kyarikunda’s law studies, which she must now repay plus his legal fees.
Court records, according to Monitor newspaper, show that Richard Tumwine and Fortunate Kyarikunda, both teachers, started their love relationship in 2015 and that the duo later entered a promise to marry agreement in 2018.
The court also heard that Tumwine, a teacher at Kiringa Primary School, financially supported Kyarikunda- including sponsoring her for a diploma in law at the Law Development Center (LDC) where he spent more than Shs9.4 million.
Kanungu Grade One Magistrate Asanasio Mukobi held that since the promise to marry was not fulfilled by Kyarikunda to the detriment of Tumwine, then he is entitled to re-imbursement of his Shs9.4 million spent on her.
Mr. Mukobi also ordered Kyarikunda to pay Shs1 million to Tumwine as general damages for inconveniences and psychological anguish suffered.
The magistrate further ruled that Kyarikunda pays legal costs incurred by Tumwine in prosecution of his case.
“I note, from the exhibit, several mobile money transfer transactions from the plaintiff’s cell phone in names of Richard Tumwine to the defendant’s cell phone in names of Fortunate Kyarikunda,” Monitor quoted the magistrate as having observed.
The magistrate added: “From the exhibit, it is indicated as a budget for introduction for Fortunate Kyarikunda’s parents’ home and several items worth Shs5 million are indicated on the list and the comments of the defendant appreciating the budget and requesting for more financial support to enable her go to Rubanda is clearly indicated.”
At hearing of the case, Tumwine told court that the introduction ceremony was slated for February 2022 but it did not take place with no justifiable reason given.
The court heard that Kyarikunda came up with an excuse that her parents have stated that their daughter should not get married to an older man referring to Tumwine.
But the court held: “This is equally unreasonable, a misrepresentation and a fraud. In any case, the defendant had all the opportunity to reject the plaintiff’s love requests at the earliest point possible and avoid interfering with his financial obligations.”
The court observed that the two people were engaged in a love relationship and that from the exhibits presented, arrangements for an introduction ceremony were made.
“The defendant (Kyarikunda) suggested that it takes place in February 2022 and the said date passed despite the plaintiff’s preparations for the introduction. The excuse the defendant gave was that she could not get married to an old man, the plaintiff, as if she did not see young men during there over four years courtship,” the magistrate ruled.
It is not known if Ms Kyarikunda will appeal against the judgement.
Monitor reported that Uganda’s former Ethics Minister and prominent women’s rights activist Miria Matembe has, however, slammed the “one-sided” verdict.
She said that it was “a classic case of how the judicial systems are tilted in favour of men.”
Similarly, other critics told the Monitor that the verdict is flawed because, according to them, an engagement, unlike a marriage, is not legally binding.
Meanwhile, Sheila Kawamara, of the women’s advocacy group ED EASSI, warns there are sometimes exploitative circumstances whereby a man gives money to a woman on the condition that she will marry him.
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