Scene: Westminster Abbey, London. Date: 29th April 2011. Prince William weds Kate Middleton in a royal wedding that cost more than $5 Billion (others put the figure at $50 Billion). Well, Let us stick to the lower figure of $5 Billion.
Scene: St. John Cathedral, Fort Portal, Uganda. Date: 14th July 2012. Toro Kingdom Princess Ruth Komuntale to wed her African American fiancé Thomas Christopher in a royal wedding that is estimated to cost I Billion Uganda Shillings.
Now, in what has been a teary and uncertain journey of love (especially in trying to make the Toro Kingdom accept a non-Mutoro, now it is official that the two love-birds will be ─ Princess Ruth Komuntale Nsemere, the elder sister to Tooro King, Oyo Nyimba and Christopher Thomas’s (the two met in the US where she had gone for her studies) wedding has been scheduled for July 14, 2012 and the organizers have already released the wedding plans.
Your quick reactions
1. If you are a man, who is this Thomas Christopher?
2. If you are a lady, yes ma’am your time will come too (Note to self: A way of injecting optimism, this world is full of negativity you know)
At some point in February this year, media had been rife with speculation that the Princess’ choice of a non-Mutoro man was unacceptable according to the culture and norms of the Batoro. But you will always bank on this: if your woman loves you, no hurdle, no obstacle would be high such that you cannot cross it. All you need to do is to propose to her at the Eiffel Tower in Paris and ride her in a MayBach, at an impressive USh 900m and be the son of an investment banker. But like me, you are no Thomas Christopher.
Princess Komuntale is not short of drama and as we all know some Batooro are unhappy with their princess’ decision to get married to a foreign man.
Elders in the kingdom say it is against Toro culture for Komuntale to go out of her way to bring home a man who does not understand the norms and culture of the land.
One of the elders, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Komuntale defied their culture when she started modeling, adding that as if that was not bad enough she is now planning to get married to a foreigner. But as the cliché goes, at end, love rules supreme against all stumbling blocks.
She had a word to all her critics last year “I have a right to choose a man I love, the one I know I will spend the rest of my life with because marriage is a lifetime commitment. I don’t want to get married to someone I don’t love because I am a princess and people should not base on culture to tear my heart apart,” and as you read this, Church bells are chiming in Toro kingdom.
According to culture, the royal family does not accept bride price; she is going to be taken by Christopher without any pay to the family. Princess Komutale is worth, well, I do not want to say nothing but in African culture, she is indeed worth nothing and King Oyo Nyimba will not attend the traditional introduction ceremony of his elder sister because that is what Tooro culture says.
After the wedding, Komutale is going to live in the US permanently with then husband. The wedding is going to take place a few weeks after her graduation from university (Komuntale will be graduating from American University with a degree in Health promotion).
Preparations have included the renovation of Charles Kamurasi’s home in Gweri in Kalambi sub-county, Kabarole district, cultural dancing groups showcasing the amakondere (the royal dance) to entertain the guests. Beautiful girls from the Kingdom have been selected to welcome the American in-laws during the giveaway ceremony.
According to the Tooro tradition, she will have to first wear a backcloth on her wedding day and will be invited to sit on the lap of her paternal Uncle, Charles Kamurasi to grant her blessings.
This will be followed by a series of cultural ceremonies that will be performed to prepare Komuntale for marriage like Komuntale’s aunties and other elders advising her about what a good wife should and should not do in a marriage.
Among those expected to grace the occasion is President Yoweri Museveni is one of the high-ranking guests expected, alongside friends of the kingdom and cultural leaders and an entourage of over 30 people from America.
So what will 1 billion Uganda Shillings get me?
The figures that have been quoted there are getting me dizzy. I am not exaggerating. You see, ok, first I admit that Icould fantasize to have Princess Komuntale (may be in the afterlife) and see myself in a lavish royal wedding in the Toro Kingdom. (Ah, even fantasizing does not help. I give up. There are some things which even fantasizing them is a bit difficult). Well, back to the figures. As I was saying, this 1 billion shilling wedding gives me headache. In the village, you haggle over bride price the whole night and in the small hours of the morning, you begrudgingly accept to give 20 cows. You also organize for something for the ‘elders’ and the girl’s family in the form of a kumi ket (liquor made from honey). Then you gather your uncles and friends to contribute something for soda(beverages) and some rice. I know of many of my friends who took out SACCO loans for this and they painfully repaid them for a year or so.
I also know of many others who decided to use the shorter route. They simply made the girls pregnant, became stubborn and in ‘protest’ the girl’s family gave him the wife and the child ‘to enforce their authority’. The girl’s family thought they had finally taught the young man the first lesson of ‘knowing which families to joke with’. The man, by strike of good luck, would secretly laugh with his wife many years later of how he managed to marry without giving a hen for dowry.
So, beloved reader, you will understand how the planned royal wedding in the Toro Kingdom is beyond me. Here is a small calculation of what the 1 billion would mean to me.
If 1 bull costs Kshs. 45,000/= Then a million shillings would be able to purchase about 22 bulls.
I could be wrong with the figures. You see, I get excited with these big figures. I can only imagine if there was just one million for my wedding in the village. With just one million, I will pay a handsome bride price, make the village elders drunk for a week, feed my in-laws for a month, feed all the villagers who will come to my wedding, build around four huts, buy a few more goats, hire one of the villagers to be carrying my walking stick and traditional stool on my pay and still have a lot left for all who come across me.
Video:King of Tooro Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru brother to the princess celebrating his coming of age.