Almost 14 years after his death, Court in Fort Portal today ruled that Owobusobozi Bisakas driver was negligent and he caused the death of George Kasenene Tibamwenda, a district official in Kyenjojo who was killed in a hit-and-run accident in 2004. Bisaka was however cleared of culpability.
Family members sued Owobusobozi Bisaka, the leader of the Faith of Unity religious sect, following the death of 39-year-old Kasenene, a District Probation Officer. He was the only fatality in the accident involving a Toyota Land Cruiser Registration Number UAF 053C and a Yamaha motorcycle Registration Number UAC 077Y.
The vehicle was being driven by Bisaka's driver, Evaristo Kasaija.
At the time of the accident on September 16, 2004, Kasenene was riding to Kyenjojo district headquarters for a council meeting. With him was a one Mugume who sustained injuries when they were knocked at Ngezi village, some four kilometres from Kyenjojo, along the Kyenjojo- Fort Portal highway.
In his ruling delivered today by Deputy Registrar, Lillian Mwandha, Justice Oyuko Anthony Ojok ruled that Kasaija was negligent and he caused the accident which claimed Kasenene's life. The plaintiffs, however, did not prove that Bisaka and Kings Auto Centre Limited were vicariously liable.
Court awarded 2.8 million shillings and 15 million shillings as special damages and general damages respectively. The family lawyers, Sserunjogi and Partners Advocates, will calculate the costs incurred and submit them to court at a later date.
In 2005, months after the fatal accident, the family through Nyakahuma jointly sued Evaristo Kasaija, Owobusobozi Bisaka and Kings Auto Centre Limited, a company that imports vehicles for sale in Uganda.
Kings Auto Centre Limited, the third respondent in the case, were the legal owners of the vehicle at the time of the accident, but it was in the hands of Kasaija, the first respondent, who was an employee of Bisaka, the second respondent.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Kibaale District Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), John Nyakahuma, a brother to the deceased, said they are happy as a family that they have finally received justice after 13 years of pursuing it.
"We are now happy. We know that Kasenene too is happy wherever he is. Even though the awarded money is little, we are still grateful because no amount of money would have been worth my brother's life," Nyakahuma said.
Journey of no Return
It was a bright Thursday morning, September 16, 2004, when George left home on his motorbike with a colleague, to go to work at Kyenjojo District Headquarters, where he worked as a District Probation Officer. In his backpack, was a report he was due to present during that morning's District Council meeting.
George neither arrived at work that morning, nor did he return home alive, with his journey and life ending at Ngezi village.
According to family members, there was no visible wound or scratch on his body. His neck broke on impact and he died on the spot. A young and promising life was snuffed out just 10 months shy of his 40th birthday. He left four young children who are today still in school and being raised by their grandmother, Mrs Mary Tibamwenda.
Eye witnesses told the police at the time of accident that the driver of the Land Cruiser, later identified as Evaristo Kasaija, who was driving in the opposite direction, lost control and swerved from his lane knocking the oncoming motorcycle. Copies of the police sketch maps indicate that the vehicle had crossed the centre line and moved towards the extreme end of the road.
Eyewitnesses further alleged that Owobusobozi Bisaka was in the car at the time of accident, and that he and the driver both took off after the fatal incident. While the police were able to confirm that the occupants of the car disappeared after the incident, however, they could not confirm that Bisaka, who claims to be "God" to his two-million-strong followers, was indeed one of them.
Prolonged Court Process
The long wait is - finally - coming to an end for the family that opted to seek legal redress for the death of Kasenene, which they believe was caused by negligence. In 2005, the family sued Evaristo Kasaija, Owobusobozi Bisaka and Kings Auto Centre Limited, a company that imports vehicles for sale in Uganda.
Kings Auto Centre Limited, the third respondent in the case, were the legal owners of the vehicle at the time of the accident, but it was in the hands of Kasaija, the first respondent, in his capacity as an employee of Bisaka, the second respondent.
The suit was filed under file number HCCS 0045 of 2005 and has since dragged on for 13 years. Nyakahuma explains that there have been numerous incidents of the file case getting lost.
CAO Nyakahuma says the family has been looking for justice and closure after 13 years of waiting.
"We have been fighting to see justice being done," Nyakahuma told URN on Friday.
Monica Rubombora, a sister to the deceased echoed similar views describing the court process as "an exhausting 13 years of being sent from pillar to post, looking for justice for George", a son, brother and father whose life was cut short.
According to Rubombora, Kasenene will now rest in peace knowing that his mother and siblings put up a spirited fight in what she described as a very complex justice system.
Nyakahuma explains that there have been numerous incidents of the file case getting lost.
Over the past 13 years, a lot of money has been spent on transporting witnesses and family members to the court and on hiring various sets of lawyers.
After almost a decade of going through various legal firms but making no headway in court, the family settled on Mugenyi & Company Advocates and finally Sserunjogi & Partners Advocates who have secured final judgement on the court case.
Born on July 30, 1965, Kasenene was the second in a family of eight siblings, four boys and four girls. He went to Buhinga Primary School in Fort Portal, Butiiti Demonstration School in Kyenjojo district and Nyakasura School before joining Makerere University where he studied Social Sciences.