Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dad kills son in "ritual sacrifice;" had possession of child after he "chased off" mother (Kisowera, Uganda)

Apart from the role played out by the witchdoctor, this story could have taken place anywhere in the world where an abusive father has "chased off " or excluded a mother from protecting and caring for her child. In this case, dad DAVID MWESIGYE suffocated his 1-year-old son to death and "partially detached" his genitals. The mother, who was separated from the father, had been attempting to see the baby, but had been prevented from doing so.


Father kills son in ‘ritual sacrifice’
Friday, 20th August, 2010

By John Semakula and Henry Nsubuga

DAVID Mwesigye suffocated his son to death. He then carried the body from his home in Kisowera along the Mukono-Kayunga road to Godfrey Ssajjabi, a witchdoctor in Kigunga, about 15km on the Kampala-Jinja highway.

Under the cover of darkness, the two dug a hole at the edge of the witchdoctor’s compound, placed the body in the hole and planted a banana sucker to avoid suspicion.

It was Saturday 23rd September, 2007. Only Mwesigye and the witchdoctor knew that little Derrick Mutebi was no more. At the age of one and a half years, he had been brutally killed by his father, a television technician, the very person who was supposed to nurture him.

By coincidence the boy’s mother, Ephransi Namuddu, who had separated from Mwesigye, felt the urge to go and see her son.

When she did not find her son in the house, Mwesigye lied to her that the boy was living with his grandmother in Maganjo on the Kampala-Gayaza road.

She went all the way to Maganjo, only to be told that Mwesigye had not taken the boy there. It was then that she reported to Police that her son had gone missing.

Mwesigye was arrested and he led Police to the witchdoctor’s place where they had buried the body. Police exhumed the body and took it to Kawolo Hospital for a postmortem.

As Mwesige confessed in court on Wednesday, he could not come to terms with what he had done to his own son.

He broke down and cried while testifying before a special High Court Session in Mukono which was presided over by Justice Jane Kiggundu.

“I didn’t intend to kill him. I was only disciplining him,” he pleaded.

Initially Mwesigye claimed that the boy had been electrocuted. But his landlord, Katende Bumali, testified that he did not have electricity in the house.

Later he changed, claiming he was only administering a disciplinary beating when they boy died. But the post-mortem report from Lugazi hospital showed that the boy suffocated to death.

The report also showed that the child’s genitals were partially detached.

Left with no other lie to tell, the two pleaded guilty. But they pleaded for lenience arguing that they were first offenders.

Mwesigye added that he had learnt a bitter lesson that it was not proper to punish a child like an animal, and that he would not repeat the offence.

Their lawyer, Musa Sembajja, also asked court to be lenient to them by giving them the minimum sentences because they had not wasted court’s time by denying the offence.

The lawyer further asked that the witchdoctor should be given a lighter sentence of seven years in jail since he did not participate in the killing. “He only accepted to have the body buried at his place.

The only offense he committed was that he never informed Police.”

But the Resident State Attorney Gladys Nyanzi asked court to give the duo a maximum sentence, which is death.

She argued that killing one’s own child and cutting off the genitals was strong evidence of ritual murder, for which the two should be severely punished.

Nyanzi said that by killing the boy, Mwesigye violated the responsibility given to him by the Constitution to protect his children’s rights to life.

“The boy suffered twice when Mwesigye chased his mother from home and when he killed him.

This is a case of murder of a child. It is one of the child sacrifice cases which are rampant in Uganda today. It is my request that in your sentence you show that murder is punishable in the courts of law,” she added.

Nyanzi explained that Ssajjabi was equally responsible for killing the boy because he did not report the matter to the Police.

“Child sacrifice is an inhuman habit that must be fought. Scenarios have shown that body parts of human beings are on a high demand by the witchdoctors.

The deceased’s genitals were partially detached meaning that they were the target,” she said. “I therefore appeal for the same sentence for Ssajjabi.”

The ruling was set to be made yesterday but the judge postponed it to Monday after the defence lawyer asked for an opportunity for his clients to make an additional plea.

He argues that much as they pleaded guilty to the murder, it was not ritual sacrifice as depicted by prosecution.