Mohammed Mutumba, the imam of Kyampisi Masjid Noor mosque in Kayunga District of Uganda, has been suspended after the cleric reportedly wedded Richard Tumushabe, a fellow man in Islamic culture (Nikah).
According to Uganda’s Daily Monitor, the embattled cleric’s ordeal kick-started after he tied the knot with a fellow man, “unaware” of his supposed “wife’s gender”.
Before their wedding, Tumushabe identified himself as Swabullah Nabukeera, a feminine name, to douse any suspicion.
Two weeks after their union, the truth concerning Tumushabe’s real gender surfaced after he was subjected to a body search by a female police officer — where his identity was eventually revealed in the cell.
It was gathered that he gave his real name during interrogation.
Adbdul Noor Kakande, the regional Kadhi, described the incident as “unfortunate”, adding that the 27-year-old is currently being probed.
Backing Mutumba’s suspension, Isa Busuulwa, the head imam of Masjid Noor of Kyampisi, explained that the move became imperative to avoid bringing the integrity of their faith into disrepute.
“He has been one of the three Imams of the mosque. He had spent about four years preaching in this mosque on top of teaching Islam to children,” he said.
Commenting on the development, Amisi Kibunga, the Kyampisi mosque bilal, said he had previously seen Tumushabe acting as Mutumba’s “wife” on two occasions during Juma prayers — unknowing that he was actually a man.
“He had a sweet soft voice and walked like a woman. She also always dressed in either gomesi or hijab,” he said.
“Four days after their wedding, the bridegroom came to me complaining that ‘her’ bride had refused to undress while they slept. Actually I was planning to go to their home to counsel ‘her’ when I heard that the bride had been arrested in connection with theft of a television set and clothes of their neighbour.”
Mohammed Ssemambo, the chairperson of Namagabi Muslim country, also condemned the development, blaming the suspended leader for not following Islamic tenets in getting a wife.
“I learnt about the incident. As a Muslim leader, he should have followed what the Koran says when one wants to get a spouse,” he said.
When a reporter visited Sheikh Mutumba’s rented home, neighbours said they had not seen him in four days. Sources said he had been taken by a relative for counselling.
“He is too devastated by the incident and needs counselling,” a source said.
“The ‘bride’ did all the house chores such as cooking, washing clothes and others while the husband was away but it was not easy to know he was just masquerading as a woman,” Mr Henry Mukwaya, a neighbour said.
“He always wore gomesi or hijab and spoke like a woman but she kept indoors most of the time,” he added