Gay activist murderer sentenced to 30 years

Sidney Nsubuga Enoch (L) the man suspected to have murdered Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato has been sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for the crime. Photo by Johnson Mayamba

Mukono High Court has on Thursday sentenced Sidney Nsubuga Enoch, 22, the man suspected to have murdered a gay rights activist in January this year, to 30 years in prison.

The 30 year sentence was passed by Justice Joseph Mulangira after Nsubuga admitted to have murdered David Kato 46, on 26th January 2011. This verdict was passed based on the evidence produced in court by the lead state prosecutor, Ms. Loe Karungi.

Prosecution led by Ms Karungi alleges that on 26th January, 2011, at around 8:30am, while the duo was taking tea, the deceased demanded for sex from Nsubuga. "The deceased started kissing Nsubuga and tickling him but in the process, a one Kizza Akram knocked at the door and the deceased stopped what he was doing," Ms. Karungi told court.

After breakfast, Kizza went away to the farm where the accused followed. They both uprooted cassava and Nsubuga came back leaving Kizza in the garden. "Nsubuga prepared lunch for Kizza and the deceased. After lunch the deceased locked the house and informed Nsubuga that it was time for sex," Ms. Karungi said.

This is the time Nsubuga told the deceased that he wanted to ease himself in the bathroom after which he would come back and have sex. "While in the bathroom, Nsubuga picked up a hammer, came back to the living room and hit the deceased on the back of the head twice," Ms.Karungi narrated.

Ms Karungi says that Nsubuga then dragged the deceased to the bedroom where he started picking items from the deceased's bag. The items picked included a camera, keyboard for a computer, T.shirts, shoes and a mobile phone. He opened the door, got out, and locked the door from outside. He then threw the keys in the gumboots that were outside.

It is also said that at 2:00 PM on that fateful day, Kizza came back from the farm and found the door locked and the music was playing loud from the house. After waiting for a while, Kizza inquired from the neighbors where Kato was and they told him that they did not know. They however informed Kizza that they had seen Nsubuga leaving the house dressed in the deceased's clothes.

This prompted Kizza and the neighbors to peep in the deceased's house where they saw fresh blood stains on the living room floor that prompted them to search for the house keys. Upon entering the house, they saw blood stains leading to the bedroom, where the deceased was discovered lying unconscious on the bed in a pool blood.

"They rushed him to Kyetume Health Center, from where they were referred to Mulago Hospital but the deceased passed away before this could happen. David Kato's body was then takento Kawolo Hospital for postmortem where they discovered that the deceased had been seriously hit at the back of the head," Ms Karungi noted.

The hunt for Nsubuga culminated in his arrest when he was spotted by Nakabago residents in Mukono district, who alerted the police. He was arrested and taken to Mukono Police Station where he admitted to the murder charges brought against him. Ms. Karungi then told court that the case against the Nsubuga was very serious and she asked court for a maximum penalty basing on the evidence that had been presented and that basing on the fact that the accused had admitted to the crime.

Efforts to reach leaders of gay community, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) were futile as they are said to be out of the country to receive an award at Rafto Prize Ceremony at Den Nationale Scene recognizing them for their struggle in the fight for gay rights in Uganda.

Kato’s death was condemned by both local and international human rights bodies including United States President Barack Obama, saying it was an abuse of fundamental human rights.

They called upon the government to investigate the cause of his death and speak out against homophobia towards the gay community in the country. The police issued a statement to the effect that Kato’s killing was no way related to his campaign for gay rights.