By Kampala Sun writer
After Joel Isabirye’s split with singer and radio presenter Rebecca Jingo in April 2014, they soon became a forgotten couple.
Many concluded that hooking up and splitting with women had since become part of Isabirye’s DNA, their marital woes were shelved.
Last week, Rebecca Jingo in a kiss-and-tell interview equated her marriage to peeling onions. Her tear ducts were always open and tears freely flowed. She said the only person who matters in Isabirye’s life was Isabirye who she describes as so mean; he would make a good bank manager during an economic recession.
In a long winded letter, an emotionally laden Isabirye says he was there for her and spent up to the last coin giving money to Rebecca Jingo’s dad (Isabirye showed them money when he hired a chopper for the wedding).
He also claims that during their marriage, Rebecca stopped him from taking a job as a professor in an American university and yet the perks came with travelling with family. He also reveals that the ex-wife is big headed and stubborn and once chased him with a knife ready to slaughter him over a missing wedding ring. He’s shocked as to why she has come out 2 years and seven months since their split.
• Joel Isabirye’s response to Ex-wife.
I have just seen two video recordings of Rebecca Jjingo making claims about our marriage which after a bit of reflection I think need to be responded to in the same forum that she used.
I never stopped her from taking care of her father nor did I stop her from visiting her father. On the contrary knowing that there could be a limit to how far Rebecca could support the dad, I regularly supported the dad morally and financially and even when they were doing upgrades to his modest home I made contributions to some of the furniture bought for the house. I was not required to do so and I was not asked either but if I did not think he was part of our lives I would not do so.
Every week for all the years I was in a relationship and then marriage with Rebecca I gave her money to buy things for and take to the dad on Saturday afternoon after her show Amaka Magungyufu (on Beat FM) . She even mentioned this in front of her relatives and my relatives at a birthday party I held for her at a hotel in Kampala in 2014. I also have phone records of the money transferred for that purpose.
I did this because besides the need for us children to look after our parents, I knew that he was elderly and fragile and of course you cannot alienate family from your spouse. It is bad to expose how you help people. It is only necessary when a lie is told about you.
Every Saturday she would go to visit the dad with items for the home and even put me on phone to talk with him. I would talk and he would tell me how he studied at Buddo and still remembered the names of his teachers. He spoke exceptional English in a very clear baritone voice.
So I wonder how she can make such claims.
I also never stopped Rebecca from visiting other members her family. Realistically, I do not think you can ever stop an adult from going anywhere they want to go. All they do is say I have a meeting at work and go to see their people. So to say that I stopped her from seeing her father or relatives cannot be plausible, unless she says I locked her in the house for all her life.
What I recommended was for me to know where she was. But she did not want to tell me where she was going. Yet I was aware that if something happened to her, I would be the first to be asked.
But Rebecca is not someone who you can tell or advise what to do. She is strong headed. Some might call it stubborn. Or maybe I was wrong to ask.
About performing, I never stopped Rebecca from performing or being a musician. In fact some of the songs she released after we started our relationship I actually financed as a show of support to her career. One of them was ‘Ndi Ntya’ recorded at Paddy Man’s studio.Even some songwriters would bring to me songs and ask if I thought we could buy those songs. One case in point is the man who wrote bed cover by Irene Namatovu. I forget his name.
Radio Simba (Mandev), CBS Radio (Chris Luwugge), and Bukedde FM (Farid Mpagi) can all acknowledge that I moved to them to talk to them to promote Rebecca’s songs because I was in support of her career.
Why would I help the music to move when I was not interested in her singing career. At one point I paid for a website for Rebecca Jjingo the artist so that she would be promoted abroad to begin getting more concerts from outside the country, which are well paying. It was www.rebeccajjingo.com I remember buying the domain from Tuzze Media, during an outing I held with her at the restaurant at Kabira Country Club to discuss how we could improve the music.
The reasons I mentioned these things is to explain that Rebecca can sometimes tell lies. And it is a weakness I learnt of my spouse quite early in the relationship and I was willing to put up with it.
When we got married, Rebecca told me not to take up a highly paid job in America because she would not have what to do in the United States of America. I had got a job at an American university as a Professor. They were willing to take me and my whole family. My basic pay was more than all the income I get from what I do in Uganda in one month. The benefits were even more attractive. But in the interest of her opinion and the marriage I opted out. I do have the emails where I wrote to the head of department saying due to family reasons I have opted out.
The reason she gave me to abandon the job was that she could not find work there bearing in mind that her career is radio (Luganda) and music (Luganda) yet she had to also work to look after her family through her income. While I thought she could still find a job in America or even study more to be able to access white collar jobs, I was conscious of the father’s aging condition and she needed to be near to him. I thought that was a reasonable argument and also believed that if you are married it is now a team not a one man affair, you have to make some adjustments basing on your spouse’s concerns.
At the time we were discussing how to handle the marriage like people are supposed to do at the beginning of the marriage. I asked her how she was going to balance her night shows that took place all through the week and her home. She told me that she knew that her performing up to 4am daily was a problem for any man in a family and that she was going to concentrate on performing from Friday to Sundays only. Previously she was performing from Monday to Sunday all year round. I said that was good to know.
All I requested of her was: Tell me where you are going to perform, so I know. In fact the first time Rebecca fled from home in April 2014, she told her brother that I did not like her being a musician yet the reason she was creating this lie was because I asked her to tell me where she was going to perform. When I spoke to her brother Paul about the issues I told him, that I had no problem with her music but I need to know where she is at 2am in the morning. Her problem still was she did not want to be accountable.
You cannot tell Rebecca what you think and she accepts it yet in marriage you have to balance your options with that of your spouse.
Personally every single meeting I held after work I would tell her where I would be going and I would ask her to escort me if she wanted to for accountability purposes. I would hear about Rebecca being in Lwengo, Kikyuusa, on radio adverts or on Facebook posts of people attending the shows and yet I was living with her in the house. Remember concerts are booked at least two weeks in advance so you have all the time to tell your spouse.
One night her car got a flat tyre on Northern Bypass at 2am I believe from a concert. I was woken up by a phone call and asked to look for a mechanic to fix her car. We eventually parked the car at a Petrol Station in Kalerwe until morning because she did not have a spare tyre and there was no garage operational at the time. Imagine if she had been attacked and I did not know where she was.
The period running up to the time she left home in October 2014, for twelve weeks Rebecca was coming home at 4am (three months) Monday to Sunday. She would come back briefly in the evening at 6pm up to 8pm and I see her again at 4am. She would not tell me where she was going. When I asked her repeatedly what was going on, she said she was looking for money to take care of her father who was going to go for an operation. I thought it was a reasonable thing to do. I told her that I was willing to contribute to the operation and I did.
I told her I understood that but she needed to tell me where she would be going and what time she was going to come back. She did not want to do so. After twelve weeks I drew the line. I told her that we cannot run a home like a market. I need to know where you are late in the night let me know whether you are in Wobulenzi or Seeta or Masaka so I know. If anything happened to you I need to know where you are.
That sparked the events that led to her leaving home.
Because she can be dramatic and exaggerates things and has no problem telling a lie, she created mountains over that incident (when I asked her to tell me where she was going) and next thing I heard, I had taken her wedding ring and disappeared with it, next thing I saw was I was chased with a knife to produce the wedding ring and I had to flee for my dear life. A woman who takes a knife to stab the husband is not realistic because at the altar you pledge to protect your spouse not to injure them.
Rebecca is violent. She has no problem throwing plates or cups at you or beating you up as the 16 house maids we had in eight months of marriage can testify. If you require their contacts they can be availed to you. Some spent only one day at the home and took off because she was violent towards them. She was unbearable. So when I saw the knife I thought it was something serious. In April 2014 she had tried to cut me with a scissor at home over a small argument.
Some people asked me how do you continue staying with someone who took a scissor and a knife to injure you? I would answer that this was a marriage not a fling. Misunderstandings take place and people sometimes act so irrationally. But we are all different.
That notwithstanding, when she left home, like a sensible person I tried to save the marriage. I first tried to talk to her relatives and her brother Robinson was very helpful but no one appeared to listen to him. He explained what she was saying and I explained what I thought. When he failed (in fact he was accused of being bribed by me to speak in my favor, because in their meetings he was telling them on some things I had a good point), I went to her Senga, Rebecca refused to go to the Senga when she called her to discuss the matter. I thought we are supposed to respect the elders. I would have expected that at least she would have come to the Senga and said “I am done with that marriage.” But if you introduced people to your parents and relatives and you get a disagreement and he goes there to try and reconcile, you show some respect and appear.
After failing at the relatives, I went to the church (both Namirembe and Pastor Namutebi who was our pastor). She refused to listen to both churches. Sometimes she would even put Pastor Namutebi on call and not speak as the pastor would beg her to come and they talk about their marriage.
If I am someone who just loved women the moment Rebecca left home I would just put someone else in the house the next day. I worked on mending the marriage for months after she left. On her part she was acting like we were in high school dating, something that I did not understand.
Trying to reconcile your marriage is not a sign of weakness, it is not a sign of bending low, it is a sign of respect for the marriage that you undertook. And I did so with a clear conscience and mind, in spite of hearing from the sidelines that Rebecca was telling her friends how I was begging for her to come back and she was going to show me what she was made of. I was not bothered by that high school kind of talk because I knew that this was something a responsible person would try to resolve. I was also told by all sorts of people to just forget the marriage. That a marriage filled with knives and scissors etc was not one I needed to belong to, but I did what I could to save it.
To sum it up: I must say Rebecca has been gone for two years and seven months. In all that time since she left, she never communicated a word except through fake accounts on Facebook. But I communicated for several months trying to resolve the marriage.
Secondly as a human being I do have weaknesses. Very many weaknesses, but none of what Rebecca points out is true. Rebecca also has very many strengths (positives). She is not entirely a bad person in spite of the weaknesses that I pointed out here in response to her video recordings.
Thirdly Rebecca used to say I will never move on from her because I fear what the media would write. Does that explain why she acted very difficult in the marriage?
I think Rebecca Jjingo is on a public relations campaign at the moment. Because these videos if they held merit would have come out in 2015 a few months after she left home full of anger for being told to be more open to her spouse and say where she would be going.
And the best thing for me to do in such circumstances of public relations videos is for me to listen more to video recordings about me that she has planned for in future.