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Sub County Chairperson Sentenced for Conspiring to Marry Off 12-year Old Girl

During the hearing, the prosecution told the court that in December 2017, Ssenkyama in his capacity as Malongo LC III chairperson unlawfully arbitrated in the matter of aggravated defilement against a twelve-year-old girl who was in primary five at Lwemiyaga primary school in Lwengo.
Simeo Ssenkyama, the Malongo Sub county LC III chairperson in Lwengo district has earned himself a jail term for conniving to marry off a twelve-year-old girl. The Masaka Chief Magistrate Charles Yeitesi convicted the LC III Chairperson after finding him guilty of aiding the sexual abuse against an underage girl and soliciting a bribe from the offender.  

During the hearing, the prosecution told the court that in December 2017, Ssenkyama in his capacity as Malongo LC III chairperson unlawfully arbitrated in the matter of aggravated defilement against a twelve-year-old girl who was in primary five at Lwemiyaga primary school in Lwengo. 

According to the charge sheet, Ssenkyama connived with the victim’s father identified as Francis Tushabe, to solicit a bribe of Shillings 1.2 million from Edison Kyalisiima, the offender and accordingly allowed him to take in the girl for a wife.   

Reuben Tumusiime, the Officer in Charge of Katovu Police Post told the court in his evidence that in addition to initiating negotiations, Ssenkyama also witnessed a formal agreement between the victim’s father and the offender who was at the time 20 years of age.    

He noted that although the victim fled from the forced marriage and sought refuge with her relatives in Ntugamo district, Ssenkyama also assisted the escape of the offender to avoid police arrest.  

Tumusiime also accused Ssekyama of sharing part of the bribe he solicited from the offender and using his influence to try and frustrate investigations and prosecution.   Ssenkyama denied the charges arguing that he only came in to resolve a bitter dispute, which had emerged between two neighboring families. 

He told the court that although he did not consent to marry off the girl, the parents from either side agreed to resolve the matter amicably because both the offenders and victim were still below the age of consent.  

According to Ssenkyama, the offender who is currently on the run was 17-years at the time he committed the offense. However, Charles Yeitesi, the Masaka Chief Magistrate found Ssenkyama guilty of overstepping his mandate as a Sub-county chairperson to the extent of assuming powers of the court to adjudicate in criminal matters.  

He, therefore, convicted him on two counts of concealing a criminal act and soliciting a bribe from the offenders. He handed them a jail term of one year or a fine of Shillings 2 million on both counts.