Ms Jacqueline Uwera Nsenga, who is charged with murdering her husband, Juvenale Nsenga by running over him at their residence in Bugolobi, Kampala, in January last year, began her defence on Tuesday after the state prosecution closed its case with evidence from 13 witnesses. Daily Monitor’s Ivan Okuda was in court and brings you highlights of the court trial proceedings. Nsenga’s defence opens with her defence lawyer Nsubuga Mubiru informing court that he intends to call four witnesses.
Mubiru: My Lord, I intend to call some four witnesses, including Mr Musana, the deputy director of CID. Any of our witnesses in court please move out. But before the accused gives her evidence on oath, my lord, the defence intends to adduce evidence of how the accused and the deceased met, lived in the home from the time of marriage to the point of death. My Lord evidence shall be adduced to show the battle between the Director of Public Prosecutions and Police finally leading to the accused being charged. That is how we intend to show the innocence of the accused.
Judge: We shall record the accused as defence witness number one.
(Jacqueline Nsenga takes oath. She introduces herself as a 36-year-old woman who ran a tailoring business).
Mr Nsubuga: How did you meet the deceased?
Ms Nsenga: I met Nsenga (deceased) in Nairobi where I was living, he had come for business in 1992. I was 17-years old, we fell in love, courted for one and half years. In 1994 we married at Mbuya Catholic Church.
Mr Nsubuga: Can you describe your early marriage?
Ms Nsenga: It was wonderful, we had no secrets and went out together, we did everything together.
Mr Nsubuga: Did you have any issues (children)?
Ms Nsenga: Yes, we got our first daughter in 1996 and a son in 2001. I had him in the United States.
Mr Nsubuga: What happened when you returned from the US?
Ms Nsenga: I left for the US in June and returned in October 2001. Things had changed. Nsenga became a little secretive, he started going out alone and when I asked to accompany him, he said no. I was not working, I had children and wanted to experience that love and closeness which we enjoyed before.
Mr Nsubuga: What did you do?
Ms Nsenga: I talked to my in-laws, I talked to Innocent Bisangwa his elder brother and who was our best man. He said he would talk to him. I later spoke to my father-in-law, Mr Donato Kananura. He asked me if he was providing food, I said ‘yes’ and he told me to return home and relax.
Mr Nsubuga: Were these challenges in your relationship normal to him?
Ms Nsenga: He found them normal. As time went by Nsenga started to go out twice a week, three times a week, four times a week and before I knew it was every night.
Mr Nsubuga: Which years are we talking about?
Ms Nsenga: 2003, 2004, 2005…I talked to Innocent Bisangwa’s wife who advised me to pray about it. That is when I gave my life to Jesus Christ and we started having fellowship but things kept getting worse. One time (in 2010) he stayed out up to midday the next day. I got scared and contacted Innocent and my father-in-law whom he spoke to.
Ms Nsubuga: When did you last go for fellowship?
Ms Nsenga: A week before the accident.
Mr Nsubuga: Did you experience any domestic violence?
Ms Nsenga: Never. My husband never beat me, we never quarrelled and we discussed about any matter of disagreement.
Mr Nsubuga: Is that what your father in law would describe as challenges?
Ms Nsenga: Yes. To him this was normal. He actually once told me the story of a woman who was sent by a witchdoctor for a tail of a lion. She had to devise ways of getting it and gave the lion food which made it sleep, she caressed it and got the tail. My father-in-law said my husband was the lion and I should caress him when he comes back home and everything will stabilize.
Mr Nsubuga: Did you follow his wisdom?
Ms Nsenga: I tried but things did not improve.
Mr Nsubuga: There was a witness in court (prosecution witness and cousin to the deceased) called Roleta. At what time did you get to stay with her?
Ms Nsenga: She lived with us from 2001. One of her sisters was moving to Uganda from Canada and she (Roleta) asked me if she would join us in our home. I told her it was fine since our home was their home too. We lived together for close to a year. One evening, my husband was downstairs (the house is double storied) watching television. Roleta was clad in a see-through blouse and skimpy skirt. I saw her go down. Around the same time, one of our relatives [cousin] visited and asked her why she was dressed skimpily before Nsenga. She said he [the deceased] does not mind. My cousin slapped her.
Mr Nsubuga: What happened after?
Ms Nsenga: I started to notice change in her attitude. One time she left her phone on the table and a message came through. I checked and it read, “I don’t hate you. I am just tired. I love you.” It was from my husband.
Mr Nsubuga: Did you confront her?
Ms Nsenga: No. I talked to my husband and kept quiet and requested Roleta’s sister to take her away from our home as I was not comfortable with her there anymore. This was in 2011.
Mr Nsubuga: Roleta also told court that you uttered threats before the accident. Did you do this? Was she lying to court?
Ms Nsenga: On that she lied. I did not. I expressed my dissatisfaction with her mingling with my children and staying in our house in the presence of my husband and her sister.
Mr Nsubuga: Let us move to the day of the accident. Can you narrate to court what happened from that day’s morning to the time of the accident?
Ms Nsenga: I got up and prepared to take my son to school. We had three workers (baby sitter, cook and shamba boy). As I walked to the kitchen where my son was having breakfast, I bumped into the shamba boy who said he had lost his sister and needed his salary so he could go for burial. I told him to wait as boss (Mr Nsenga) was still asleep. I took my son to school, had a lunch appointment with my cousin and rushed to pick him from school. When I returned, my husband was having his late lunch, I told him about the shamba boy’s request and he gave me money which I passed to the shamba boy.
Mr Nsubuga: But court was told that there was no communication between you and your husband. That the marriage had broken to that extent.
Ms Nsenga: That is a total lie.
Mr Nsubuga: How did you have meals?
Ms Nsenga: We had meals together whenever both of us were at home and I did serve my husband food.
Mr Nsubuga: Court was also told that you had actually separated bedrooms.
Nsenga: Another lie. Nsenga only slept in the guest room when he returned home very drunk but when that was not the case, we shared a bedroom.
Mr Nsubuga: Okay, so what happened after he gave you the shamba boy’s salary?
Ms Nsenga: I reminded him about the visitation day of our daughter who was studying in Nairobi. We visited in turns. I actually told him he should visit her with his brother, Innocent who also had a child there. I then asked to leave as I had three meetings. One was fellowship, plus a business and wedding meeting where I was the treasurer.
Mr Nsubuga: What did you eat during those meetings?
Ms Nsenga: I took some water and biscuits.
Mr Nsubuga: And some liquour?
Ms Nsenga: No. I do not take booze.
Mr Nsubuga: Apart from fellowships, did you go out in the night?
Ms Nsenga: No.
Mr Nsubuga: Can you tell court what time you got home?
Ms Nsenga: The last meeting (at Nakumatt) ended at around 9pm so I got home at around 9:20pm.
Mr Nsubuga: Did you speak to the deceased between the time you left him at home and 9:20pm?
Ms Nsenga: No.
Mr Nsubuga: So what happened after?
Ms Nsenga: Usually, when my husband and I were returning home, we would call the shamba boy, he switches off the phone to alert one that he is coming to open. Now that he had gone for burial, I knew it was the two girls to open for me.
Mr Nsubuga: Which girls are these?
Ms Nsenga: The baby sitter and cook.
Mr Nsubuga: Please proceed.
Ms Nsenga: I did not expect Nsenga at home since he even used to go out without telling me where he was going. So I got out, pressed the bell twice (at the gate) and went back to the car, sat and waited for two minutes. No one came to open. I went back, pressed the bell and before I could press it again, I saw movement of the gate and dashed to the car. I had left the door open. I put the left leg in, reached for the door and as I was going to close the door, the car jerked and I reached for the steering.