British soldier who married second wife in Kenya says he didn’t know as ceremony was conducted in Swahili

muloozi Daniel
muloozi Daniel

A British soldier charged with bigamy after marrying a second woman in Kenya when he had not yet divorced his first wife has claimed that he ‘didn’t understand what was happening’ because the ceremony was conducted in Swahili.

Sergeant Noa Dravikula had separated from his first wife but was not officially divorced when he tied the knot with a second woman in a Sharia ceremony.

The 42-year-old soldier had been deployed to Nanyuki, in 2021 where he started a relationship with Kenyan woman Kuki Wason. The two got married in Kenya the same year.

However, Sgt Dravikula claims he ‘didn’t understand what was happening’ because the marriage service was conducted in Swahili.

According to British law, anyone who is above 18 and above is free to marry, if they’re single, widowed or divorced, or if they were in a civil partnership which has been dissolved.

The court heard Sgt Dravikula’s first wife, with whom he shares a child, had initiated divorce proceedings after their separation in March 2017.

However, the divorce had not yet been finalised and so they were not officially separated.

The court heard Sgt Dravikula’s claims he had ‘no knowledge’ of what had happened because the service was conducted in Swahili and therefore ‘didn’t understand what was happening’.

In the UK a nikah is only considered a legally valid marriage if it takes place at a registered venue.

Otherwise, couples need to register their marriage through a further civil ceremony in order to enjoy the legal benefits and security of marriage.

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