Dr Kirabo’s defence in murder case

What you need to know:

  • Three members of the church, however, came up to testify in court that the doctor was in church for overnight prayers on the night Mirembe was killed. One of the witnesses was a petroleum engineer and a friend to Dr Kirabo.

Dr Matthew Kirabo, a young doctor convicted of the murder of his girlfriend, Desire Jemimah Mirembe, was a member of the Deliverance Church, Makerere Hill. Three members of the church, however, came up to testify in court that the doctor was in church for overnight prayers on the night Mirembe was killed. One of the witnesses was a petroleum engineer and a friend to Dr Kirabo.


The engineer, who had known the doctor since 2008, told court that on July 10, 2015, he (the engineer) came to Deliverance Church, Makerere Hill with members of his family and that they arrived at the church at about 10pm when the night prayers had not yet begun.

The engineer was one of the ushers in the church that night and had the responsibility of making sure everybody was settled down and also ensure the property of the congregation was safe.

It was, therefore, his responsibility to make sure that the door of the church at the back was closed and that the only access to church was through the front doors.

The engineer was, as a result of his responsibility, stationed close to the stage and in front of the door that he was overseeing.

According to the engineer Dr Kirabo walked into church exactly 15 minutes to midnight and the doctor came in through the area that the engineer was overseeing as an usher.

Dr Kirabo at church

The engineer saw the doctor come in and was excited to see him as the two had not seen each other for a while and the engineer waved to the doctor who also waved back.

The doctor then walked to the back of the church where he then sat at the extreme corner next to the elder brother of the engineer; there were very few people at the back of the church. The engineer kept on checking on the two personally throughout the preaching that started at midnight up to 3am. It was only after that that the doctor left his seat when deliverance service, which was quite hectic, started. It was during the two hours of the deliverance service that the engineer did not keep his eyes on the doctor. He, however, saw the doctor at 5am when the overnight service ended and they said bye-bye to each other.

The engineer’s elder brother, Anthony, corroborated the testimony of the engineer. Anthony told court that they came to church as a family and arrived at about 10pm.

Dr Kirabo walks out

According to Anthony, he walked out of the church, before the start of the service, into the parking yard at the back of the church where he was engaged in a conversation with his cousin.

However at about 11:30pm the gatekeeper opened the gate and new model car, a Mitsubishi, back in colour, with a hatch back, was driven in. To his surprise the car was driven by Dr Kirabo. Anthony and his cousin were excited to see Dr Kirabo as the two had not seen each other physically for quite a time.

The car that Kirabo drove in to church that night also caused a lot of excitement in the parking yard. A number of people actually came to see the car and some of them wanted to test drive it but Dr Kirabo refused and locked the car as he continued to chat with Anthony.

The chat

One of the issues the two talked about was relationships. Anthony informed the doctor that he was actually getting married later that year as his relationship with his fiancé had improved; the two had had challenges in their relationship in 2013 and Dr Kirabo had been privy to these challenges as he and Anthony were buddies.

Dr Kirabo was apparently happy for Anthony that he was getting married. Dr Kirabo then told Anthony that he had actually just come from the hostel, checking on his girlfriend. Dr Kirabo, however, did not say anything about the visit to the hostel or who the girl was. The music in the church started and Anthony and Dr Kirabo then entered the church and sat at the back of the church where there was still some space.

Dr Kirabo sat on the right of Anthony while a one Martin sat on the left. Anthony told court that he was with Dr Kirabo up to 6am and that Dr Kirabo told him (Anthony) that he (Dr Kirabo) was going to pick his little brother whom he had to take to school.

More evidence

Another piece of evidence came from a retired civil servant serving a deacon in the Deliverance Church. The deacon told court that he knew Dr Kirabo very well as a son of his close family friends and that the doctor and his children were quite close. He stated that he saw Dr Kirabo at the overnight prayer service seated at the back of the church.

He also said that Dr Kirabo came to the front to be prayed for at about 5am. The deacon was perturbed that he (Dr Kirabo) was being accused of murder and on his own volition went to the Central Police Station Kampala to make a statement in respect of what he saw and knew that night.

He did this as a responsible citizen and also as a family friend. Under cross-examination the deacon confessed that he did not know where Dr Kirabo came from before the overnight service.

There is undisputed evidence that Dr Kirabo and Mirembe were at Oasis Mall between 9pm and 10pm and Mirembe withdrew some money from an ATM machine.

Mirembe’s body was however discovered the following day 50 km away from Kampala on the busy and often traffic-jammed Jinja highway. Is it realistic to believe that between 10pm and 11:30pm Dr Kirabo drove with Mirembe up to Lugazi, helped slit her neck and then drove back to Kampala, went to Mirembe’s hostel and then went to attend an overnight prayer session?

There is certainly more than meets the eye in this twist of events. It is also very unfortunate that the time Mirembe died (time of death) was not scientifically established as this would have put to rest many of the unanswered questions.