Minister Accused of Influencing Crime Investigations

2207 Views Nakasongola, Uganda

In short
More than 500 residents led by Kakooge sub county councilor, Geofrey Ssemanda Mwesigye, blame Mukasa, who is also Member of Parliament for Budyebo Constituency, for using his position to influence the release of suspects in the murder of Steven Kato, a student of Kitangaala Secondary School and Fred Kyeyune, a pastoralist on February 14, 2012.

Residents of Kyeyindula parish in Kakooge Sub County, Nakasongola have accused Security Minister Muruli Mukasa of interfering with criminal investigations in the area.

More than 500 residents led by Kakooge sub county councilor, Geofrey Ssemanda Mwesigye, blame Mukasa, who is also Member of Parliament for Budyebo Constituency, for using his position to influence the release of suspects in the murder of Steven Kato, a student of Kitangaala Secondary School and Fred Kyeyune, a pastoralist on February 14, 2012.

The suspects include Bosco Ssenyonjo, David Ssenyonyi, Richard Ssemanda, Buruhan Jjuuko, James Kankiriho and Godi Sunday. Police in Nakasongola arrested the six suspects and were remanded in Nakasongola government prison but they were released early this month after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Richard Buteera dropped the charges against all of them citing lack of evidence.

The action has since angered the residents who threatened to demonstrate and avenge the killings.

The police director for special duties Andrew Sorowen rushed to the area on Thursday and convened an emergency meeting at Kyeyindula village to diffuse the tension.
 
Councilor Geoffrey Ssemanda told Sorowen that Muruli Mukasa is a maternal uncle to the wife Kayikala Ssenyonjo whose two sons Ssenyonjo and Ssenyonyi are among the released suspects. Ssemanda alleges that the minister, who also oversees the presidency and Kampala ministries, used his position in government to order the DPP to release the suspects despite the overwhelming evidence against them.

He explained that the three had a land wrangle with the late Fred Kyeyune before the incident and were reportedly heard in the village on numerous occasions threatening to kill him if he didn’t pull out of the matter. Ssemanda further alleges that Ssenyonyi and Ssenyonjo hired the other four suspects to execute the murder. According to Ssemanda the suspects admitted after being arrested that they committed the crime but people were shocked to see them out just three months after being remanded.

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Kyeyune’s widow Rebecca Nakiyingi claims that the same suspects are now threatening to kill her if she doesn’t stop her demands to have them re-arrested. She asked Sorowen to have the suspects re-arrested and the minister investigated.
 
Godfrey Ssekawe, a resident also accused the police officers of Nakasongola of serving the interests of politicians and demanded that they be investigated. He explained that four other people have been killed in the last three months but police are yet to arrest the suspects.

Residents gave Sorowen an ultimatum of three weeks to investigate the murders and re-arrest the suspects or else they will launch an operation to attack them.

Sorowen said that the murder files have been recalled for fresh investigations but defended Minister Mukasa saying that the office of the DPP is independent.
 
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The minister could not be reached as his known mobile phone numbers were unavailable on Friday afternoon.

This is the second time the residents of the same parish are protesting the release of the suspects. In March they destroyed their properties after police released two of the six suspects on police bond. Police had released David Ssenyonyi and Bosco Ssenyonjo but were later re-arrested and remanded until recently when they were cleared of the charges by the DPP.

 

About the author

Brian Luwaga
Since Brian Luwaga joined Uganda Radio Network in 2011, he is still amazed how, "URN is a place that gives journalists a chance to enhance their skills . It gives a journalist an opportunity to adopt and master various aspects of journalism that include radio broadcast, social media, photography and television production."

A practicing journalist since 2009, first with Star FM, Luwaga has always been keen to write about the concerns of the "common person." Based for much of his career in Luweero, Luwaga takes it as a compliment if politicians complain that his reporting is too harsh.

In his journalism, Luwaga likes to merge the past with the present. He believes you cannot understand what is happening now, if you do not have a grounding in the past. Brian Luwaga is the Luweero URN bureau chief. Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Mityana, Mubende and Wakiso districts fall under his docket.

Luwaga is interested in humanitarian work and is a keen Rotarian.