Private detectives fault police on Akena murder inquiries

Consolation. Police chief Kale Kayihura addresses mourners at the burial of Kenneth Akena in Kitgum District on Wednesday. Looking on is Kitgum Municipality MP Beatrice Anywar. PHOTO BY JULIUS OCUNGI


There has been much speculation, and less truth, about the killing of Kenneth Akena, shot dead at the weekend.

Neither do the differing accounts offer the precise scene of crime regarding the killing in the city’s Lugogo outskirt.

Police’s failure to find the gun and cartridge(s) of the bullet(s) discharged have added to the mystery, raising questions whether detectives will ever assemble incriminating evidence in the matter to facilitate credible prosecution and justice

In various interviews yesterday, some professionals who have previously investigated such killings that turn out to be of huge public interest such as Akena’s point to lapses in the way police are handling the current matter.

Mr Freddie Egesa, a private investigator, believes the police should not have divulged so much information.

“The police are panicking. Even if they are obligated to inform the public, they should first analyse the evidence before giving information. Now, they are showing unprofessionalism.”

He argues that the police have opened themselves to public scrutiny and will be condemned if things turn out differently.

“If a suspect has an alibi, you do not interrogate only once and begin issuing pointers. The facts may take a different direction,” he said.

Mr Herbert Arinaitwe, a criminologist, says the death of witnesses complicates the investigation. “There were guards in specific locations on the crime scene but nothing compels them to help the police, so CCTV footage is crucial.”

It is unlikely the victim was shot at a shopping mall, where both electronic and physical surveillance is conducted round-the-clock, as previously reported.

Our investigations show that Akena was possibly shot near the U-turn close to the gate of the Uganda Manufacturers Association showground on Jinja Road. That section of the city road, unlike others fitted with CCTV cameras, has no surveillance cameras.

And potential witnesses have chosen out of fear not to speak on the matter, fearing recriminations.

According to Mr Egesa, the police should visit witnesses on the entire stretch of the crime scene.

He faults them for failing to secure the scene. There is a police container, less than 20 metres from the suspected crime scene, and it is unclear how its personnel on duty that fateful evening were not among first responders to the close-by shooting incident.

Both investigators agree the police should not ignore Matthew Kanyamunyu’s behaviour. “He was brave and patriotic to move with the dying person in his car,” Egessa says, adding, “Maybe he was confused. What was his demeanor as he interfaced with doctors? If his lover was the target, why didn’t he immediately seek police protection? It is strange to drive at night with a targeted person unguarded. After an assassination attempt, why put a wounded stranger into your car?”

Egesa adds that the CIID cannot handle felonies because “it is run by inexperienced officers. A smart person knows the police today can be compromised, silenced, and even fooled”.

Another hurdle is Mr Kanyamunyu insisting he was only helping. Should he be sacrificed for helping? Was Akena shot in a separate incident before the accident?

“There is a gap,” Mr Arinaitwe says, continuing, “How do you link the suspect of a traffic accident to the shooting? He has said nothing about his scratched car so police have (the task) to link him to the killing. That evidence will be found in the gun; not the dying declaration ...”
Murder weapon

Tracing the weapon is key. “Is it a suppressed pistol which is noiseless?” Mr Arinaitwe asks, adding, “Can it be linked to the bullet? That gun is the police’s only hope. Without it, the case will collapse.” Two potential witnesses around Lugogo area reported to have heard a gunshot or gunshots, meaning the weapon involved was not a gun fitted with a silencer.