The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Wedding - Col Ssajjabbi Saved By His Best Man

Issues to do with time management at weddings are always blamed on women. The understanding is that they delay in salons pimping themselves up. This time though, it was the groom, Lt Col Iga Ssajjabbi, who delayed the wedding.

The procedure in church is that the groom and his best man arrive first, so you can imagine the confusion when the bride and her entourage arrived earliest. And this was just part of the drama on this wedding. Col Ssajjabbi arrived two hours late at St Paul's cathedral because he had some unfinished work in his office. He had to complete it that very day.

"I arrived in office early powered on the computer and responded to some issues and forgot I was getting late for church," a panicky Ssajjabbi explained.

Had it not been for his best man who called him and insisted they were late, perhaps the groom and his fiancée Betty Masika would have missed the entire church ceremony.

But when he did appear, the colonel, elegantly dressed in his military uniform, attracted cheers and ululations. His entourage comprised of Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) officers led by the UPDF brass band.

The band attracted a lot of excitement both at the church and along the streets of Kasese town. Part of the town seemed like a stroll in Arua park, with crowds following the band.

How their love evolved

Although they have stayed together for long, Iga and Betty did not date for long. Most of their communication was on phone for two years. Then, Iga was in Somalia for the peace keeping mission.

At the reception

The reception was at Nyakasanga playground where nearly everyone attended with or without an invitation card. However, invitation cards were provided to cater for the VIPs.

"We gave out few invitation cards but we expected a lot of people, the reason we opted for a stadium," Ssajjabbi said.

This was the first wedding in Kasese to involve an army band and the locals were impressed. The music was strictly patriotic songs. In fact, one would mistake the function to be one of those army anniversary celebrations.

Managing the big numbers

Ssajjabbi says his friends supported him a lot.

"I had just returned from Mogadishu and so was not around for the meetings but my friends did a great job."

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