Fifty-year-old Ali Hatibu, a resident of Bukooli village, Iwemba sub-county was fined sh100,000 and publicly subjected to 20 strokes of the cane on Wednesday for vehemently denying a child he fathered out of wedlock.
The minor’s mother, Hanifa Namulindwa revealed that when she informed Hatibu of her pregnancy last year, he immediately denied any responsibility.
Hatibu claimed that his ongoing struggle with prostate cancer rendered him unable to father any more children. Namulindwa further explained that Hatibu accused her of conspiring with his business rivals to tarnish the reputation of his family within the community. Despite the accusations, Namulindwa resolved to support and raise her son through odd jobs.
However, in mid-May 2023, Hatibu made an unexpected demand. He insisted that Namulindwa surrender their son for a ritual cleansing before their clan leaders.
According to Hatibu, the purpose of the ritual was to determine whether he was the child’s biological father. Disturbingly, Hatibu warned Namulindwa that if the paternity test proved negative, the child would die in front of a crowd of witnesses.
Reluctantly, Namulindwa agreed to the process, and the clan members began the ritual cleansing by applying undisclosed herbs to the child’s body for 30 days. Despite the ordeal, the child remained healthy. As a result, more herbs were applied, and the boy was handed over to Dukuli clan leader Suleiman Wabwire, who conducted additional undisclosed rituals for 15 days.
After 45 days of ritual cleansing, during which the child remained in good health, Wabwire called for a public meeting to officially recognize the child. Hatibu publicly apologized for denying his child and admitted that he had suspected Namulindwa of infidelity, which had strained their relationship.
However, his suspicions were shattered when Namulindwa became pregnant just four months after their separation. As a result, Wabwire sanctioned Hatibu with a punishment of 10 strokes of the cane, a fine of Shillings 100,000, two goats, and a rooster. These measures were intended to cleanse Hatibu and his family from any curses resulting from the denial of their own child.
Wabwire emphasized that conducting such disciplinary actions in public was necessary to deter future cases of child neglect and denial within their community. Additionally, he ordered Hatibu to officially marry Namulindwa as his second wife, which he believed would restore her reputation after months of being wrongly labelled a prostitute by some community members who accused her of having a child out of wedlock.