On Thursday July 6, Ms Gladys Kamasanyu of Buganda Road Magistrate’s Court handed Mr Brian Isiko, a student of YMCA College of Business Studies, Jinja, a two-year sentence for cyber harassment and offensive communication.
The charges were in connection with calls made and texts sent to the Kabarole Woman MP, Ms Slyvia Rwabwogo, “confessing his love” for the legislator.
What struck most of those who attended the trial was that Mr Isiko did not seem to appreciate the gravity of the offences even when Ms Rwabwogo testified against him amid tears.
Ms Betty Ndagire, the journalist who covered the trial reported, “As the MP testified, Isiko stood in the dock smiling sheepishly throughout the court session”.
That conduct seems to have had been at the magistrate’s mind when she handed out the sentence.
“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 while handing out the sentence.
Who is Isiko?
But just who is Brian Isiko? The third born in a family of four children born to Bernard Maluma and Rachel Nakamya, Brian Isiko was born in 1995.
His cousin, Mr Godfrey Matende, says the beginning of a life of hardship for the boy and his siblings came in 2000, when Mr Maluma abandoned his family.
He is believed to be staying in Seeta, Mukono District.
Their mother took a job as a matron at Trinity Junior School in Kamuli Town, but the pay was not enough to cater for the family’s needs. The children were split and sent to whichever relative could help.
Struggle for education
Brian Isiko was farmed out to Mafubira in Jinja District to live with his maternal aunt, Ms Prossy Isiko, who got him enrolled at Lwanda Primary School where he completed his primary school education.
Early in 2009, his paternal uncle, Dr Justus Maluma, a medical doctor attached to Soroti hospital, took him under his wing and enrolled him in Jeresar High School in Soroti where he sat his Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) passing in Division Two, with 34 for 10.
Copies of his results slip indicate that he got a Credit 3 in History; four Credit 4s in Christian Religious Education, Agriculture, Biology and Commerce; thee Credit 5s in English Language, Geography and Physics; and two Credit 6s in Mathematics and Chemistry.
He should have been back in school for A- Level in 2014, but there was no one to pick the bills so he returned to Jinja where he remained idle for two years until early this year when another aunt, Ms Phoebe Matende, sent him to YMCA College of Business Studies.
He began the two-year course in accountancy in February
The principal of the school, Mr Lambert Okure Drata, says he stopped attending lectures in May.
“We were shocked in the last week of June when some police officers showed up and asked about him. The lecturers didn’t know who he was. They told the police that he was not one of our students. The next we heard was that he had been convicted,” Mr Drata says.
His fellow students also knew little about him. The guild president, Mr Francis Arinaitwe, says that Isiko preferred to keep to himself.
“I used to see him around, but I cannot point out anyone who can be said to have been his friend. No one knows about his social life on campus,” he says.
Mr Godfrey Matende, insists that his cousin is not an introvert. He believes that he always preferred to keep to himself because of his socio- economic status.
“Life has been very hard for him. He has had to struggle a lot since he was young. It must have affected his confidence. That is why he prefers to keep to himself. He does not associate with or talk to many people,” he says.
Before the sentence was handed out, Isiko told court that he had wanted MP Rwabwogo to become a personal friend who could also advise him on how to run his poultry project.
“May be that is why he did what he did,” says Mr Matende.
Only Isiko can tell what it was that drove him into months of phoning and texting Ms Rwabwogo.