The plot to kill Robinah Kiyingi

What you need to know:

Investigations led to the recovery of a gun and other items close to the scene of crime

On  the night of July 11, 2005 at around 9pm a prominent city lawyer, Robinah Erina Kiyingi, was returning home in Konge, Buziga, Makindye Division in Kampala alone, when she was shot in cold blood in her car at the gate of her home. She died instantly. Her assailants had been waiting for her arrival, trigger happy. Soon after the incidence, her husband, Dr Aggrey Kiyingi, called from Australia to find out what was going on before issuing instructions for burial arrangements.

Investigations begin

Investigations led to the recovery of a gun and other items close to the scene of crime. Further investigations led to the arrest of Dr Aggrey Kiyingi, a one Charles Berwanaho and a police officer, detective constable Bob Mugisha. The three were indicted for the murder of the lawyer and when arraigned before court, the three pleaded not guilty.

The position of the law, as stated in the constitution, is that any person accused of any crime is innocent until proven guilty and that the charge against the accused person ought to be proved by the prosecution beyond all reasonable doubt.

General speaking proof beyond reasonable doubt means that:

• Before verdict, the court should consider the evidence as a whole to determine the guilt

• The court should not examine facts in issue separately and in isolation

• That where issues of credibility arise between evidence of prosecution and the defense, it is not necessary to believe the defense evidence on an issue, it is sufficient if in the context of all evidence, a state of reasonable doubt is left as to the guilt of the accused person.


If there is reasonable doubt created by evidence given by either the prosecution or the accused person, the only conclusion which ought to be drawn is that the prosecution has not made out the case and the accused person is entitled to acquittal.

It is, however, instructive to observe that beyond reasonable doubt does not mean proof beyond any shadow of doubt or absolute certainty. Beyond reasonable doubt must, nevertheless, carry a high degree of probability or certainty.

The law would fail to protect the community if it admitted fanciful possibilities to deflect the course of justice.


According to the prosecution the plot to kill the lawyer involved the three people as they had a lot of communication among themselves around the time of the murder.

Berwanaho was the chief coordinator who hired Private John Atwine, the person who pulled the trigger of the gun that killed the lawyer. Private Atwine died under mysterious circumstances while on remand. The police officer, Mugisha, is thought to have provided the killer gun through Berwanaho; Mugisha was overheard by some people talking about arrangements by his friend, who was outside the country, to have his wife killed. The police officer was also heard saying he knew the killers.

Eye witness account

A witness told court that at one point Dr Kiyingi plotted through his uncle, one Laban Kiwanuka to kill his wife, and that the matter was still pending in Buganda Road Court by the time Robinah Kiyingi was killed. Another alleged plot was that Dr Kiyingi requested the housemaid, Prossy Nabossa, to help in killing his wife, a request the housemaid turned down on the strength that she was a born again Christian.  After the murder of Robinah Kiyingi, the police put an advert requesting for information that would lead to the arrest of the killers. Subsequently one Sadha Nasuna gave police information that she had been in contact with one Private Atwine who narrated to her how the death of the lawyer had been planned by Dr Kiyingi, coordinated by Berwanaho and executed by himself (Atwine) with the help of one Bernard using a gun provided by Bob Mugisha. Nasuna testified that the late Atwine talked to Dr Kiyingi on her phone. From that information the police arrested Private Atwine from the home of one Nickolas Musiime who also confirmed that the late used to stay with him and that Atwine was on a mission of killing the deceased.

Two of the children born to Dr Kiyingi and his deceased wife testified against their father. They said soon after receipt of information about the death of their mother, they knew it was their father Dr Kiyingi, who had a hand in it because of his past threats and also his behavior during the funeral and burial of their mother; their father never consoled and comforted them and neither showed any sense of mourning even during the funeral service. He was cold, reserved and never talked about the deceased during his speech.

A police detective sergeant told court that when he saw the police advert requesting for information about the death of the lawyer and made comments that it was bad for Dr Kiyingi to plot kill his own wife, Bob Mugisha told him that he knew the killers of the lawyer. When pressed to reveal more details, Mugisha declined saying that the family of Dr Kiyingi was very rich and would kill him if they knew about his revelation.  There was also evidence to the effect that in May 2005 Mugisha received a call and later told his colleagues that there was a friend of his living abroad who had a girlfriend in Uganda who had conned him and wanted him (Mugisha) to help in killing her and that the mission was to cost Shs50m. A police officer testified that on July 12, 2005, two men came looking for Mugisha at Old Kampala Police Station and one of the men was later identified as a suspect in the killing of Robinah Kiyingi.

To be continued