Kampala, Uganda | URN | President Yoweri Museveni has tasked the Attorney General to pursue the alleged killers of former state prosecutor Joan Namazzi Kagezi, who he says are triumphantly living abroad.
Kagezi was shot dead on March 30, 2015, in Kiwatule, a Kampala suburb on her way home. At the time of her death, she was the lead prosecutor in the case where 15 suspects were being tried for the 2010 bombing by al-Shabaab which claimed more than 70 people in Lugogo and Ethiopian Village in Kabalagala.
Speaking at the 5th Memorial Lecture of Kagezi on Tuesday 26, April 2022 in Kampala, Museveni said that her killers are known to government but he is surprised that seven years down the road, they have not been prosecuted anywhere.
Museveni said he wonders why the Attorney General has not been able to extradite them to Uganda to face justice. The seemingly puzzled Museveni tasked the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Jane Frances Abodo after trying to spot the Attorney General in vain to explain why Kagezi killers who are in a country he didn’t mention, have not been either brought to Uganda or prosecuted from where they are.
In response, Abodo said there is a need to have a treaty with the said country alleged to be harbouring Kagezi’s killers adding that they disagree with death penalties which are in the laws of Uganda.
Feeling dissatisfied with Abodo’s response, Museveni called the deputy head of the International Crimes Division of the High Court Justice Susan Okalany who also informed him that what Abodo had stated was the correct position in law.
Okalany added that Uganda needs to sign a treaty with the Arab countries but the reserved Museveni was quick to interject saying the killers are not in the Arab countries.
Museveni added that even if that country abroad “convicts the killers and sentences them to serve their punishment in hotels, which they call prisons,” Uganda will be satisfied that justice has been achieved.
Meanwhile, Museveni has also advised the prosecutors to give priority to murder cases to avoid being overwhelmed with too much work yet they are understaffed. According to Museveni, government will be increasing the salaries of prosecutors so that the current number in the DPP’s office is empowered then issues of human resources will be addressed with time.
This came after the DPP Abodo had decried low pay among her staff and being understaffed operating with only 323 out of the required 800 plus prosecutors.
“I think there is some contradiction in what you’re saying. You’re now 300 something – you’re understaffed, you want to be 800. For me as a bush fighter, I would say, let’s first pay these 300 well…yes they will be overworked but somebody with a full stomach can work harder,” said Museveni.
The issue of demanding a pay rise has featured prominently among the prosecutors in the last five years. In 2017, the prosecutors laid down their tools citing poor remuneration, and went ahead to sue the government over its unfulfilled promises.
The High Court later in 2020 found that the government was in breach of a commitment letter issued in 2017 that they had signed with the association prosecutors, a few days after their sit-down strike.
The government had pledged to increase their salaries, waive tax on it, provide professional and responsibility allowances and also help in fast-tracking the passing of the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions Bill within a period of 90 days.
The pledges are yet to be implemented.