Asanairi Masereka Seketere a resident of Kizungu cell in Nyamwamba Division of Kasese municipality was facing murder charges at Fort Portal High Court.
Prosecution led by Resident State Attorney Filbert Murungi argued that on August 4, 2017, Seketere and Julius Bwambale arrested and severely assaulted Joseph Mbaju before subsequently causing his death.
The High Court in Kasese has sentenced a 40-year-old man to 27
years in jail for murder.
Prosecution led by Resident State Attorney Filbert Murungi states that
on August 4, 2017, Asanairi Masereka Seketere a resident of Kizungu cell in
Nyamwamba Division of Kasese municipality and Julius Bwambale arrested and
severely assaulted Joseph Mbaju before subsequently causing his death.
Court had heard from Assistant Superintendent of Police Thomas
Okello, the former Officer in Charge of Kizungu Police Station that on August
4, Seketere and Bwambale came aboard a motorcycle to the police station
carrying Mbaju who couldn't support himself.
Okello told court that Seketere told him that he had sought the
service of Bwambale who was a crime preventer to arrest Mbaju because he had declined
to pay his debt of 100,000 shillings for a long time.
Okello revealed that when he saw the deplorable state in which the
deceased was, he decided to arrest Seketere and his colleague and then called
the Central Police Station for a police van to rush Mbaju to the hospital for
medical attention. Mbaju who was bleeding profusely died before the police
vehicle could arrive.
Rev Dr Peter Kibingo the Kasese Municipal Health Officer who carried out the
autopsy had told court that the deceased succumbed to cardio-respiratory arrest
and shock. He also revealed that the deceased had suffered extensive bleeding
from nose, ears and throat before his demise an indicator that he had sustained
Dr Kibingo said the liver had been damaged and spleen raptured
which is a health emergency that was not attended to in time subsequently
causing the death of Mbaju.
Although Seketere agreed that the deceased owed him 100,000 shillings, he
denied having participated in the arrest and beating of the deceased which led
to his death. He even denied knowledge of the whereabouts of the deceased and
only said he had heard rumours that he had died.
But his co-accused Bwambale had earlier pleaded guilty to a lesser
charge of manslaughter under plea bargain and had been sentenced to 13 years in
Fort Portal High Court Judge Wilson Masalu Musene dismissed the defence by
Seketere and found him guilty of murdering Mbaju.
Chan Masereka the counsel to the accused prayed for a lenient
sentence on grounds that the convict was a sickly man who had undergone three
different operations in a space of less than one year.
Masereka also said Seketere is the sole breadwinner of his family
of a wife and four children thus the need for a lighter sentence.
But Murungi argued that there is need to send a message to the
public against individuals taking the law in their own hands and prayed for a
50-year-sentence for an offence whose maximum penalty is death.
Justice Musene concurred with prosecution that life is a God-given
gift which should not be taken away because of a paltry 100,000 shillings.
“Courts shouldn’t fold their hands and watch people kill others with impunity.
Even if the deceased had a debt of millions of shillings, there was no need for
such reckless and dangerous assault and beating to the extent he couldn’t walk
or speak on his own. Such behavior is reminiscent of the dark days of Amin.”