LESSONS FROM BUSOGA ROYAL WEDDING: Let’s not make billion dollar weddings a thing

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By Sarah Ngabi

Looks like King William Gabula Nadiope IV is set to tie the knot this weekend. Him and Inhebantu Jovia Mutesi, the richest and dare I say hottest couple right now, with all due respect. But that’s not the point of this article.

I’m concerned that this wedding is not setting the right precedent. Not that it’s the first extravagant wedding. It’s just that in this era of Social Media, the opulence is in everybody’s face, literally.


If you have a smartphone or know someone who does, the eye-popping contributions pouring in from corporations and individuals even now are impossible to miss and when most of us are struggling just to get by, it’s kind of hard to take.

In all fairness, Busoga Kingdom did launch a fundraising drive late September with First Deputy Prime Minister Rebecca Kadaga at the helm and most people have been giving of their own accord.

Vision Group, Shs600 million; Next Media, Shs500 million; Nile Breweries, Shs450 million; Airtel Uganda, Shs265 million; MTN, 250 million; Nation Media Group, 198 million, Steven Eric Zuluba Keddi, Shs56 million, Buganda Kingdom, Shs20 million and on and on and on.

In that sense, I guess we have to commend the generosity of Ugandans because pledges have been pouring in from all corners of this country.

So yes, I get that, and a king marrying is certainly different from your regular Tom, Dick, Isabirye or Mugoya putting a ring on it. Still, I wish some of that cash was going to a noble cause for the subjects; say building a hospital, school or low-cost housing project for the homeless.

There were reports that the wedding will be live streamed across all major platforms and cake served at all district headquarters in the Busoga sub-region. All thoughtful but none of that carries the billion shilling price tag this wedding is.

I’d like to think that the organizing committee will not blow all the money on this one day and that long after the wedding, whatever will not have been spent will be put to good use.

But knowing how these things go, especially in this country, I’m not holding my breath.

With Tooro’s Oyo Nyimba yet to wed, the tab could triple Gabula’s and I might be overthinking this but my worry is that the pressure is now on other couples to beat this and soon, we could be seeing more people begging, borrowing or stealing to fund their multi-billion dollar weddings.

I read somewhere that Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II got donations worth more than Shs 1 billion for his wedding back in 1999, with Nnabagereka Sylvia Nagginda’s tailor-made wedding gown reportedly costing tens of millions of shillings.

Something tells me Miss Mutesi googled that too and I bet her own gown will cost at least twice that, if not more. I don’t begrudge her that but personally, I wouldn’t spend that much on a dress because it’s not even something you get to wear again.

I’d rather invest in a good suit that I know I’ll pull out for the all-important job interview or those board meetings. I don’t come from a wealthy family and I haven’t crossed paths with some rich guy who wants to marry me so I know if I were to get married, it would have to be a low budget wedding.

The most I’d want us to spend is Shs30 million, and not out of pocket obviously. I’d rather we spent whatever other money we had securing our children’s future or building ourselves a modest house rather than “wasting” money on grand venues, lavish food or honeymooning at some ridiculously overpriced resort.

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