Denying sex in marriage amounts to cruelty – court rules

Jinja, (UG):- The High Court Judge at Jinja City’s Family Division has ruled that denying your spouse conjugal rights in marriage amounts to cruelty.

Justice Celia Nagawa also ruled that substance abuse, especially one that puts one’s spouse in danger and extends to their livelihood and source of income, also constitutes cruelty.

The court ruling came during the dissolution of a 10-year-old marriage between Mr Nick Chiles Muramira, a senior foreign service officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, based in Egypt, and his wife, Ms Harriet Generosa, an employee of Emirates, based in Dubai.

“In this case, the respondent [Muramira] brought drugs to the petitioner’s [Generosa] place of employment. Infecting the petitioner with sexually transmitted infections, silent treatment and financial irresponsibility, and fathering a child out of the marriage amounts to cruelty as they go beyond the ordinary wear and tear of married life,” the judge ruled.

 The Court also found that Ms Generosa was subjected to various forms of torture, including silent treatment, psychological abuse, rejection, ridicule and lies, contrary to the principles of the sanctity of marriage.

Justice Nagawa said cruelty can be mental and it may include injuries, reproaches, complaints, accusations, taunts, and denial of conjugal rights, among others. 

Additionally, the court held that the marriage between Muramira and his former wife Generosa had broken down irretrievably and there was no point in keeping together parties that no longer want to be married.

 “The petitioner underwent spinal fusion surgery and although the respondent was on leave in Uganda, he never made any attempt to visit her. The respondent denied the petitioner conjugal rights and failed to visit the petitioner in Dubai despite tickets purchased by her, leading to the loss of a lot of money. This is as evidenced in the WhatsApp correspondence between the parties,” Justice Nagawa ruled.

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 “… the respondent’s conduct extending to his failure to reply to this petition shows that he was already mentally checked out of the marriage and that the marriage has hit the end of the road. Despite marriage vows, marriage is a voluntary endeavour; parties cannot and should not be bound in marriage when it is clear they no longer wish to be,” the court ruled before dissolving the disputed marriage.
 The court also ruled that Ms Generosa had proved adultery as the ground for her divorce and that she, to the knowledge of the court, did not condone, connive or collude with her former husband in seeking for the court decision.

 “…During the subsistence of the marriage, the respondent (Muramira) committed adultery and fathered a child with an Ethiopian lady, that he signed up to dating sites like Tinder and when she visited the respondent in Cairo, she found feminine items like makeup and hygiene products that did not belong to her. She also stated that she contracted sexually transmitted infections after being sexually intimate with the respondent,” the court found.

The court further observed that the respondent abused drugs and during some of his episodes, he demanded that the petitioner be intimate with him.

 “The petitioner found small bags of the said drugs in his key holder on one occasion and on another in his shorts when he visited her in Dubai, putting her employment in jeopardy,” the court observed.

The court therefore ordered Mr Muramira to compensate his former wife with Shs4m for her contribution towards their tree planting project and another Shs1.5m as payment for supervision of the tree project as well as legal costs incurred.

However, the judge declined to make orders regarding the matrimonial home, reasoning that the property referred to as matrimonial property containing their matrimonial house comprised at Bukoto in Kampala is registered in the name of a third party, Harriet Muramira, who is the respondent’s mother.

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The court ruled that it could not decide against a third party who cannot be condemned unheard and the court shall leave the determination of ownership in this property to the case filed at the Land Division of High Court.

Reported as first appeared on Monitor on March 21, 2024.  

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