By Mable Nakibuuka
The long-running controversial murder case of Kenneth Akena, who was shot dead in November 2016, near Shoprite Lugogo, seems to have been closed after his family performed the Matto Oput ceremony onto the suspected killer Mathew Kanyamunyu, thereby exonerating him of the murder.
Kanyamunyu travelled with a few of his relatives to Akena’s ancestral home in Acholi sub-region, where he knelt before them as they performed the Matto Oput.
According to those who know the Acholi culture well, this ceremony is done to prevent the spirit of the dead person from disturbing the purported killer.
The elders reveal that it is also done for reconciliation purposes and washing the deceased’s blood away from the purported killer’s hands.
Furthermore, it is also for reconciliation purposes between the families who have been made enemies because of that particular death.
Consequently therefore, following the reconciliation ceremony, it is unlikely that Akena’s family will continue pursuing the murder case that they had filed against Kanyamunyu and his girlfriend Cynthia Munwangari at the High Court.
Kanyamunyu and Munwagaru, who denied having been involved in Akena’s murder and said they were only Good Samaritans who rushed him to hospital after finding him lying in a pool of blood, were charged together with his elder brother Joseph Kanyamunyu.
Kanyamunyu is jointly charged alongside his Burundian girlfriend Cynthia Munwangari and his elder brother, Joseph Kanyamunyu.
The trio was arrested and remanded to Luzira prisons for some weeks although they were later granted bail pending hearing of their case.
Last year in December when they appeared before the High Court for hearing of the case with their lawyers Caleb Alaka, Evans Ochieng and state prosecutors Jonathan Muwaganya and Ann Kiiza Justice Steven Mubiru adjourned the matter from 8th to 10th January 2020, although it was never heard even then.
The same court also appointed two court assessors; Juliet Kasengwa and Simon Mateeka for the case.
Prosecution alleged that on November 12, 2016, along the Kampala-Jinja highway near Malik Car bond, opposite the main gate of Uganda Manufacturer’s Association in Lugogo Nakawa Division, the accused murdered Akena by shooting him dead after he allegedly mistakenly ‘scratched’ Kanyamunyu’s vehicle.
Joseph Kanyamunyu faced alternative charges of being an accessory to the murder.
It was alleged that on the day Akena was killed while at Nakasero hospital, Joseph removed the alleged killer pistol from Mathew’s car registration number UAW 548M and hid it, although he denied the allegations.
Previously, the trial was supposed to start in January 2019 but it was adjourned because it had been fixed in a special criminal session and thus the then judge couldn’t finish hearing the case. The suspects have been on bail since 2017.
Following the Matto Oput ceremony performed on Kanyamunyu, the family is yet to pronounce their final decision about Akena’s murder case.