Museveni tells DPP to go for Kagezi killers abroad

President Museveni (C) poses for a photo with the children of late Assistant DPP Joan Kagezi during her 5th memorial lecture in Kampala on April 26, 2022. PHOTOS/MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI

What you need to know:

  • The President says if the extradition process of the alleged killers has been frustrated, then they should be tried from wherever they are.

President Museveni has asked the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Ms Jane Frances Abodo, to go after the killers of Assistant DPP Joan Kagezi and prosecute them even from out of the country.
The head of State said if the process to have the alleged killers brought back home to face the long hand of the law has been frustrated, “we should go after them abroad where they are hiding”.

“…But I know the story, these people (suspected killers) were identified, they were seen clearly,” President Museveni said at the 5th Joan Kagezi Memorial Lecture in Kampala yesterday. 

Deceased: Joan Kagezi

He added: “So, I was asking my girl there in CID, (Grace Akullo), what happened, ‘…ooh, we are still what what…transboundary;’  what Susan (Justice Susan Okalany) was saying. But if it is transboundary, if they say that we can’t bring back that person here because we are killers (still having death penalty on law books), okay, you try him there, is that allowed? Why can’t this person be tried there and be sentenced to prison for life?”
Ms Kagezi was intercepted by assailants who were trailing her as she returned from work and gunned her down in Najjeera, a Kampala suburb, on March 30, 2015.
In an attempt to find her killers, police arrested several people, but were later released after none of was them was found to have a link to her murder.

Seven years later, no one has ever been arraigned before courts of law and prosecuted.
In June last year, President Museveni, during one of his televised national Covid-19 addresses, said Kagezi’s killers were hiding abroad.
He added that they were supposed to have been produced in the country through the International Police (Interpol) unit.
But yesterday, Mr Museveni, in the absence of Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka, tasked Ms Abodo to explain to the more than 300 prosecutors who had gathered for the memorial lecture why this has not happened.

DPP Jane Frances Abodo hugs the children of late Assistant DPP Joan Kagezi during her 5th memorial lecture in Kampala on April 26, 2022.

“Isn’t crime trans-national also? Isn’t accountability transnational? Abodo, come and help me here…why can’t we say, if you don’t want to bring this person here (Uganda) try him there, tell me what the problem is,” the President demanded.
In response, Justice Abodo, who rushed to the podium, explained that there are a number of issues when dealing with extradition of suspects.
“…Sometimes because we have a death penalty in our laws... We can do that but it depends on what relationship or treaties we have signed with particular countries…” she explained to Mr Museveni.

But before she could finish her explanation, Mr Museveni said Ugandans are demoralised because Kagezi was killed and it appears “as if we don’t know the one who killed her”.
After failing to get a satisfactory response from the DPP, Mr Museveni tasked Justice Okalany to give an explanation why Kagezi killers can’t be tried from wherever they are.
But Justice Okalany’s explanation did not help either because she also told the President that there is need to sign treaties with the countries (hosting the suspects) to facilitate their extradition.  

Some of the prosecutors who attended the 5th Joan Kagezi memorial lecture

On case backlog
The President advised the office of the DPP to try cases in a cluster manner given the scarcity of resources and also as a way of tackling case backlog.
Mr Museveni also promised to look into the welfare issues that prosecutors had detailed out to him through the DPP.
On recruiting more prosecutors, the President argued that it is better to raise the salary of the current prosecutors than recruiting more, a suggestion the prosecutors welcomed.
This year’s Joan Kagezi memorial lecture theme was “Human Trafficking Challenge: Addressing Emerging Trends”.
Two out of four of the late Kagezi children; Phillip and Carol Kagezi, attended the function.