Katuramu release catches Tooro loyalists unawares

Sunday September 12 2021

Left: Katuramu (R) and his son Job arrive at home in Kampala yesterday.

By Alex Ashaba

Saturday marked the end of 20 years in jail of former Tooro kingdom prime minister John Sanyu Katuramu.
He was jailed on September 11, 2001, after being found guilty of the murder of Tooro prince Happy Kiijanangoma.

But news of his release on Saturday caught many by surprise.

One of his sons, Mr Bruce Katuramu, who manages his father’s radio station, Voice of Toro in Fort Portal, said his father had served his conviction for 20 years and it was time that he was freed.

“My father was convicted on September 11, 2001, and his sentence for 20 years is over; we are now waiting for him. I shall be giving you all the updates at an appropriate time,” he said in a phone interview on Saturday.

The release of the former premier of Tooro Kingdom coincides with celebrations to mark 26 years of the ascendancy to the throne by King Oyo, to be marked today, at the kingdom palace at Karuziika in Fort Portal City.
But the Tooro kingdom prime minister, Mr Benard Tungwako, expressed ignorance of the news of release of Katuramu.

“I am not aware of that news, but if it is true, that is wonderful for us as people of Tooro,” he said.
Mr Katuramu is the proprietor of the oldest radio station in Tooro sub-region, Voice of Toro, located in Fort Portal City.
The staff at the broadcast house quickly went into jubilation once the news spread.


Mr Fred Mwebembezi, the news editor at the radio station, said they have been waiting for him [Katuramu] to be released.He said he was optimistic that when he comes out of jail, he will start from where he stopped in the development of the kingdom.

“I am one of those who are happy about this news. As staff members of the radio, we are waiting to see him and we hope for many developments out of him like starting a radio station in Fort Portal and other things. We thank the NRM government for seeing that he has been released,” he said.


Former prime minister of Tooro Kingdom John Katuramu at Buganda Road Court in 2000. PHOTOS/ FILE

During previous presidential campaigns, the residents of Fort Portal have tasked President Museveni to pardon Katuramu.
In 1993, the Omukama of Tooro at the time, the late Patrick Mathew Olimi Kaboyo, appointed Katuramu as the prime minister of Tooro Kingdom.

When the king died in 1995, the royal family of the kingdom retained Katuramu as the prime minister.