Kampala. A witchdoctor has been remanded to Ntenjeru prison following charges of attempted murder in a foiled ritual sacrifice of a juvenile in Kayunga District in 2009.
Awali Kivumbi was remanded until May 30 for mention of the case.
Mr Kivumbi was arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court in Kayunga following his arrest last week, about six months after the High Court ordered a retrial before the Chief Magistrate in Mukono District.
He appeared before Grade One Magistrate, Mr Wilson Wandera, but he was not allowed to plead to the charges as the magistrate’s court does not have powers to hear such a case.
In November last year, Mukono High Court Judge Margaret Mutoni ordered the arrest of Kivumbi and his co-accused Paul Ngaswireki for retrial.
In 2012, the Chief Magistrate’s Court acquitted the two suspects on charges of attempted murder, citing lack of sufficient evidence but the High Court overruled the decision and said the lower court had made errors of fact and law during the trial.
It is alleged that in October 2009, Kivumbi and Ngaswireki attacked the juvenile, Allan Sembatya, at his grandparents’ home in Kayunga, hacked him on the head and cut off a piece of his head skin, drained blood and also chopped off a part of his genitals.
The prosecution evidence says the victim, then aged seven, after regaining consciousness for three months, identified Ngaswireki and Kivumbi, who were living in the neighbourhood, as his attackers.
Justice Mutoni ruled that the trial chief magistrate did not conduct the required legal process before taking the evidence from the child victim, which resulted in a miscarriage of justice.
“The process to assess whether the child (victim) was possessed with the requisite intelligence to testify was not conducted leading to a miscarriage of justice. No record to show that there was a dialogue session conducted before the child testified and or documentary evidence admitted on record for consideration,” the judge observed.
Kivumbi was arrested on Thursday last week from Kamwenge District in a joint operation of police and children rights body, Kyampisi Childcare Ministries (KCM).
The executive director of KCM, Pr Peter Sewakiryanga, said the suspect had eluded prosecution and kept in hiding until his luck ran out.
“We petitioned the court to have the 2012 Magistrates Court proceedings reviewed to accord the victim deserved justice. They (suspects) appeared during the hearing but disappeared before the judgment. We are grateful to the police for the support to have the suspects arrested,” Mr Sewakiryanga said.
He said Ngaswireki was arrested early this year and has since been on remand.