Crowd sides with accused soldier, want him set free
Posted Tuesday, January 15 2013 at 02:00
A UPDF soldier, who allegedly shot three people dead on December 10 last year, has been charged with murder amidst demands for release. Herbert Rwakihembo, a corporal attached to the Luzira Prison Military detach, yesterday appeared before a division court martial chaired by Col. Geoffrey Kakama for plea.
However, drama ensued in the fully packed court sitting at Luzira Church of Uganda Primary School when Rwakihembo was remanded to Luzira Prison pending hearing of his case.
A group of men and women engaged the chairperson of the court, demanding for his release. They described Rwakihembo as a ‘hero,’ saying his action was aimed at saving men who work abroad and yet their wives waste their savings.
“He worked in a very risky environment to raise money for the woman but his money was put to waste and instead the woman mobilised friends to undermine him,” said a man who declined to be mentioned, amidst applause.
Another woman, claiming to be a leader in the area accused the authorities of trying the suspect without consulting the people. “We need to be consulted and be given chance to express our views but the deceased was unfair to the man. He had no chance of getting good money in life,” she said before promising to contribute to the soldier’s upkeep while in prison.
Prosecution alleges that on December 10 last year, at Kisenyi Zone 111, Luzira in Nakawa Division; Lance Corporal Rwakihembo caused the death of Irene Namuyaba Nakibirango, Zaina Nassolo Nalongo and Loyce Kawendeke using an AK-47 sub machine gun.
Mr Ali Saazi Bavawala, a prosecution witness, denied knowing the accused person but said he had gunshots which led him to sustain injuries in the right thigh. “On the fateful day, while taking tea at a restaurant, I had gunshots and as I tried to escape with injuries I saw three women lying helpless. I could not tell immediately whether they were dead or alive but I was helped by a friend,” he said.
Meanwhile, Col. Kakama extended the hearing to today for more witnesses to testify.
He also directed prosecution to avail witness statements to the accused through his lawyer to enable them prepare for cross examination.
Anti-graft activists released
Police yesterday released all the eight anti-corruption activists arrested on Sunday morning from Rubaga Miracle Centre and Watoto church-Busega. The activists, part of the Black Monday Movement which preaches zero tolerance against corruption and impunity in government, were arrested from the two city evangelical churches where they were distributing flyers, calling for an end to wastage of tax payer’s money.
According to police, ‘they were inciting violence and circulating dangerous information to the masses which called for an immediate response to their actions.’
“The suspects have been released on police bond but a general inquiry file has been opened up as we investigate the matter,” police deputy spokesperson Vincent Ssekate told the Daily Monitor.
Activities go upcountry
Meanwhile, Black Monday activities were yesterday held in the northern and western regions.
Mr Job Kiija, the coordinator at Uganda NGO Forum, said the upcountry anti-corruption crusade is aimed at creating awareness amongst the populace who are most affected by poor project implementation due to bureaucracy and fraud.
In the western region, activities were held in Bushenyi District, with marching through the streets, distribution of anti-corruption literature and a rally at the district headquarters, which the district chairperson tried to block but failed.