Friday July 6 2018

MP weeps in court over love text messages

Kabalore Woman Member of Parliament, M

Kabalore Woman Member of Parliament, Ms Sylvia Rwabwoogo. PHOTO BY ALEX ESAGALA    

By BETTY NDAGIRE

KAMPALA- A 25-year old student has been handed a two year prison sentence for confessing his “too much love” for Kabalore Woman Member of Parliament, Ms Sylvia Rwabwoogo.

Brian Isiko, a student at YMCA Jinja Branch was convicted on his own plea of guilty to counts of cyber harassment and offensive communication.

This is after Isiko dropped his earlier plea of not guilty.

He confessed that the calls and text messages professing obsessed love to the MP he had never physically seen, were from him.

Tears rolled down Ms Rwabwoogo’s cheeks as she told court that she started receiving calls admitting love from a stranger before the controversial Constitution Amendment Bill, that was passed in December to remove presidential age limits.

She said that it all started around November 2017, which made her think that someone was intending to harm her. She thought the calls and text messages were a trap her tormentors had set.

“At the start, I took it for granted thinking that maybe it was just a simple call from one of my constituents. Later, the calls became so frequent with the caller making more weird love confessions. I felt this had gone too far,” she said.  “So, I decided to report the incident to Police at Parliament. I blocked his number but the stalker resorted to text messages,” Ms Rwabwoogo testified.

One of his texts that provoked my fears read: “I love you so much and want to protect you. My love is for you alone and since there is no one taking care of you, I will do it. I have realised that you are in deep trouble.”

Ms Rwabwoogo said she received many calls and over 10 messages adding that at one time, her stalker texted asserting that he had failed to sleep at night because he was thinking about her.

The MP said she set up an appointment to meet the stalker after Police at Parliament assigned her a guard.

The meeting, according to the MP’s testimony took place on June 11, 2018 at Java House, Lugogo in Kampala.

 She testified that when they met, the stalker pulled out his identity card bearing the name of Brian Isiko. Moments later, her guard arrested him.

Brian Isiko

Brian Isiko, a student at YMCA Jinja branch who was convicted on his own plea of guilty to counts of cyber harassment and offensive communication. PHOTO BY BETTY NDAGIRE

Ms Rwabwoogo added that what still puzzles her is that even when Isiko was in police custody she continued receiving love text messages from his phone.

She said this has caused her to suffer psychological torture.

As the MP testified, Isiko stood in the dock smiling sheepishly throughout the court session at Buganda Road Chief magistrate’s Court.

This moved the trial magistrate, Ms Gladys Kamasanyu to question him why he was stalking a woman almost twice his age.

“Everything she said is correct. I wanted her to become a personal friend. I ask for forgiveness. I also wanted her to give me ideas on how to run my poultry project,” he said. “I did not have any bad intention. In fact, that is why I agreed to meet her so that we could talk.”

Isiko said he got the MP’s number from the Parliament website.

In her verdict, Ms Kamasanyu said society has groomed men to always demean and disrespect women and that is why Isiko continued to bother Ms Rwabwogo even after blocking his calls.

“I have had the benefit to listen to both the complainant and the accused. The accused kept laughing all through the session.  This is a demeanour of a person who is not remorseful,” Ms Kamasanyu said. “At some point, the complainant broke down and this kind of harassment can only be done by a selfish person and the intentions are only known to him.”

She said considering the current security situation in the country, a custodial sentence is the best punishment as there is need to deter men who find it normal to harass women.

Ms Kamasanyu handed Isiko two years in prison on the count of cyber harassment and nine months for offensive communication, which sentences will run concurrently.

bndagire@ug.nationmedia.com

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