Rwanda’s divorce rate is gradually increasing regardless of the changes in the laws regarding inheritance, rights to collectively own land and property, as a couple.
In an Interview with The New Times, Enid Uwimana Muragira, author of ‘Divorce is Self-defeat’ and Director of Internal Audit Department, National Bank of Rwanda, explains why people should not opt for divorce due to marriage misunderstandings.
“I’m the kind of person who is always interested in knowing new things. I enjoy watching films and reading. When I got married in 1996, it was a new kind of life that I didn’t know required learning,” Uwimana said.
She says she was not prepared for the challenges that came with marriage.
“Each marriage has its own share of problems and when couples have disagreements, most will rush to divorce before attempting to find a solution,” Uwimana explains adding that, “three things I know which are applicable when saving a failing marriage include; prayer, having faith and actions.”
According to a document ‘Family Law in Rwanda’ by Charles Ntampaka, the Civil Code lays down the grounds for divorce: fault on the part of spouse, mutual consent, three years de facto separation, or desertion for twelve months. These are the only grounds on which the court can pronounce a divorce.
It further states that in a case of de facto separation, the court weighs up the grounds put forward and confirms that the parties’ life in common has ended. Spouses apply and produce proof to back up their application. Divorce has, thus, become their private concern, to be evaluated by the court without reference to the effects on inter-family alliances.
Despite the above statements, a few people including Uwimana, argue that divorce is not the ultimate solution to solving misunderstandings in marriages.
The soft-spoken Uwimana said that most of the lessons and stories in her soon-to-be-launched book are based on things she has seen couples go through as well as lessons learnt from an online course on the ‘Fascinating Womanhood’.
“It was after I read the book, ‘Fascinating Womanhood’ by Helen Andelin that I realised so many mistakes couples make—and this had nothing to do with our African culture,” she says adding, “the author of ‘Fascinating Womanhood’ seemed more theoretical but my book adds the practical experiences.”
For example, Uwimana’s book has a ‘remedy’ of dealing with a cheating spouse, where she discourages revenge and encourages ‘letting go’ and forgiveness as the best way of solving unfaithfulness in marriages.
“I know it’s a tablet that is very sour to swallow but the best medicine for a cheating spouse is to ignore what they are doing as it’s better than opting for revenge. You assume like you don’t have the eyes to see or the ears to hear what’s being said,” Uwimana says.
Uwimana’s views may be controversial; however, she insists her remedy has worked for many estranged couples. She further quotes Bible verses that discourage divorce; in Mathew 19: 8-12.
“Jesus said we have to forgive all—unfaithful partners too,” Uwimana says. “Like all partnerships with a constitution, for marriage to work, the Word of God (the Bible) should be its constitution. With God everything is possible.”
She also encouraged the youth to commit to marriage when they are ready to deal with it.
Uwimana was born on September 25th 1971 in Uganda, where she obtained both her primary and secondary education. She later attained a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Kigali Institute of Science and Technology in 2000, before pursuing a Masters in Audit Management and Consultancy from the University of Central England, currently known as Birmingham City University.
“As a child I always wanted to be a mother because I grew up in a village and all I saw was my mother. She was my friend, the best person around me. All I dreamt of was being a mother because I had never seen any educated girls in my village that I would look up to as role models,” she says.
Uwimana says she is living her dream, since as she is happily married with three sons and a daughter.