Anglican priest sentenced to 28 years in jail for defilement

Rev Gordon Muhwezi (in the dock) appears before the judge in Bushenyi District at the ongoing  hearing of 61 cases of sexual and gender-based violence. PHOTO/MILTON BANDIHO

The High Court in Bushenyi District has sentenced a priest to 28 years in jail for defiling a 12-year-old girl.

Justice Joyce Kavuma on Wednesday found Rev Gordon Muhwezi, a resident of Nyakishojwa Central Cell, Nyakishojwa Parish in Mitooma District, guilty of defiling the girl in May 2021.

Court heard that the convict committed the offence while he was deployed at Nyarutuntu Church.

“This court has found Rev Muhwezi has no past criminal record but also the court has a mandate to protect young girls. The court has to give Rev Muhwezi a heavy sentence. I found a 28-year jail sentence very appropriate for you. But also, you have a right to appeal over this sentence,” Justice Kavuma ruled.

Rev Muhwezi, a 46-year-old Church of Uganda priest, said he was wrongfully convicted, adding that he would appeal against the sentence.

“This court should repeat the process and bring the girl whom you alleged that I defiled to testify against me,” he said.

The court also sentenced a 60-year-old man to 90 years in prison for aggravated defilement.

Mr Fred Muguta, a resident of Bugango LCI, Kabingo Parish, Kyamuhunga Sub-county in Bushenyi District, was found guilty of defiling three children aged four, three and two years in 2017.

Justice Kavuma said: “I have considered all the factors but also the cases of defilement are so rampant in this region and I found that 30 years’ jail sentence on each of the account is appropriate for you but you will serve them concurrently.”

The court further sentenced 14 others to varying jail terms for defilement and rape.

For the last 45 days, High Court has been sitting in Bushenyi to hear 61 cases of sexual and gender-based violence in the five districts of Bushenyi, Mitooma, Rubirizi, Buhweju and Sheema.

This comes at the time when Uganda has joined the rest of the world to observe the annual 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.

The 16 days that started on November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) will end tomorrow, December 10, which is also the Human Rights Day that is commemorated globally.

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