By Gad Masereka
Fort Portal: Amos Nyaminji 34-years a resident of Kasenyi Village in Buhuhira Subcounty Kasese District, has been sentenced to 32-years in Jail for killing a Uganda People Defense Forces (UPDF) soldier.
Nyaminji was sentenced after Justice Wilson Masalu Musene found him guilty of hacking to death a UPDF soldier attached to Mbuya Military Barracks identified as Yosiah Kananire.
Prosecution led by Kasese Resident State Attorney, Filbert Murungi told court that on the night of May 24, 2017, Nyaminji raided Kananire’s home in Butohyo village and hacked his neck with a machete and chopped off his hands, causing him instant death.
However, Nyaminji had earlier on refuted allegations, claiming that he was only told about Kananire’s murder by an anonymous caller, who informed him that he was the prime suspect.
He further told court that it was because of this said suspicion that he had fled into hiding prior to his arrest by police.
However, Fort Portal High Court Judge Wilson Masalu Musene said Nyaminji’s decision to stay in hiding for six months until his arrest wasn’t an act of an innocent man.
According to Musene, Nyaminji should have handed himself to police and argued his innocence. He thus found him guilty of murdering Private Kananire.
The defense counsel Chan Masereka prayed for a lenient sentence on grounds that the convict was still a young man who can still be useful to the country given an opportunity to reform.
During the trial, the deceased’s brother Isaac Kananire told court that on that fateful day, Nyaminji’s wife Rucia Ithungu told him that she had been beaten by the convict on suspicion that she was involved in an extra marital affair with the deceased.
According to the witness, Ithungu told him that the convict had threatened to kill him on suspicion of having been in a secret affair with his wife. He also reportedly threatened to kill the deceased or Ithungu for cheating on him.
Another witness called Joel Kananire, also a brother of the deceased, told court that he posted the accused’s picture on social media especially Facebook to trace him down.
He said social media platforms enabled a volunteer to recognize the accused and subsequently sent the witness details of where he was hiding in Kyaterekera village, Kagadi district. Kananire said he engaged police and the office of Kagadi District Internal Security Officer, which helped to track down Nyaminji and picked him up from his in-law’s home where he had spent six months in hiding.
He explained that upon arrest, Nyaminji pleaded for forgiveness and confessed that he had committed the heinous crime because he had been provoked by his friends who laughed at him that his wife had been taken by the deceased. Kananire also disclosed that the deceased’s family offered them two goats, bags of rice and one million shillings in an attempt to resolve the matter amicably.
He said the convict’s father begged him to allow them meet the funeral expenses so that they could forgive each other since the families had been close for a long time. But Nyaminji pleaded not guilty to the murder charges and instead argued that he was away in Fort Portal on a business trip the day the deceased was killed.
In his judgment, Justice Musene agreed that the public must appreciate that it is wrong to take the law into their hands and desist from rumors. “I call upon the general public to be patient and tolerant in handling domestic affairs and avoid rumours. The serving UPDF officer’s life was abruptly cut short at just 34 years of age when he was still useful to this country. He was mercilessly murdered on allegations of being involved in a love affair,” he said.
Musene urged the public to seek redress from police, court and local authorities as a way to resolve their differences. He handed the convict 32 years in jail inclusive of the two years spent on remand.