Murder Convict Mathew Kanyamunyu Released from Jail

After spending three years and five months in jail, renowned businessman Mathew Kanyamunyu was released today, Friday, April 12th, 2024, following his conviction for manslaughter in the case of social worker Kenneth Akena's death in 2016.

Kanyamunyu, who had initially faced murder charges alongside his girlfriend Cynthia Munwangari, saw his charge reduced to manslaughter by the Director of Public Prosecutions following a plea bargaining session at the High Court criminal division in Kampala.

An intriguing turn came in the form of a traditional Acholi ritual called Mato Oput, which Kanyamunyu underwent. This ceremony, held at the Ker Kwaro Acholi (Acholi Chiefdom), involves drinking a bitter portion made from the leaves of the 'oput' tree. During this ritual, Kanyamunyu reportedly confessed to the killing and was directed by elders to pay restitution of ten cows and three goats.

Earlier, Kanyamunyu had expressed dissatisfaction, claiming that his lawyers, Caleb Alaka, Mc Dusman Kabega, and Evans Ochieng, seemed to have abandoned him during the legal process.

Now, according to his current lawyer Peter Kabatsi, the murder charge against Kanyamunyu was reduced to manslaughter, and an amended charge sheet was presented to the Court. Kanyamunyu pleaded guilty to the lesser charge.

Kabatsi explained, "Therefore Kanyamunyu has accepted before court that on the 12th of November 2016 at Kampala Jinja Highway, he unlawfully caused the death of Kenneth Akena."

The tragic event unfolded when Kanyamunyu and Akena were involved in a motor accident, leading to a confrontation that ended with Kanyamunyu shooting Akena in the chest.

Justice Stephen Mubiru took into consideration Kanyamunyu's status as a first-time offender and the fact that he took the victim to the hospital after the shooting. Consequently, Kanyamunyu was spared a life sentence, with the court accepting his plea bargain of six years' imprisonment.

Justice Mubiru noted, "Kanyamunyu is aged 43 years and he is a first offender. After shooting him, he realized the gravity of his actions and rushed the deceased to the hospital where he told the doctors what had happened and attempted to save his life."

He continued, "The following day he was pronounced dead succumbing to excessive bleeding from the gunshot wound. After agreeing to the facts of the offence, Kanyamunyu has now been convicted on his own plea of guilt and now awaits sentencing."

During mitigation, the DPP highlighted the trauma caused to Akena's family by his death and expressed concern that the unrecovered gun could potentially be used in other crimes. The offense, according to the DPP, is serious and carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

In a significant development, the DPP also withdrew the murder charges against Kanyamunyu's girlfriend, Cynthia Munwangari, as confirmed by Kabatsi.

The release of Kanyamunyu marks the end of a lengthy legal process that has garnered significant attention in Uganda, particularly due to the circumstances surrounding Kenneth Akena's tragic death and the subsequent legal proceedings.

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