By John Semakula
Jessica Kayanja heaved a sigh of relief on Wednesday this past week when court convicted four pastors who had implicated her husband Pr. Robert Kayanja in sodomy.
When she received the news of the court’s ruling in the case, Jessica immediately sat down her teenage children.
“I explained to them the nitty-gritty of the case that had been labelled against their father,” she said. “I could not explain anything to them before the ruling.”
Jessica added that the children had been traumatised by the allegations and therefore needed an explanation.
Court on Wednesday convicted pastors Solomon Male, Michael Kyazze, Bob Kayiira and David Mukalazi for conspiring to defame Kayanja.
In 2009, the four pastors produced “evidence” that Kayanja had sodomised some members of his Church.
But Police investigations revealed that he had no case to answer. Pr. Kayanja then dragged the pastors to court for tarnishing his reputation.
The case dragged on for about three years until Wednesday, when it was finally concluded.
“It has opened a new chapter for me to rebuild my family. The case has brought out the true person in me. I thank God for keeping me strong throughout,” she added.
Jessica confessed that during the hearing, she was concerned about the reputation of her husband and their family.
“If the ruling had been made against my husband, our reputation would have been damaged beyond repair,” she said.
Pastor Kayanja has not commented on the ruling, but his supporters who attended the session on Wednesday, danced after the verdict was read.
Experts say Kayanja can file a successful civil suit against the convicted pastors. However, Jessica said her family only wanted the truth.
“We needed an explanation, not money or revenge. If you were in my house, you would understand what we have been through,” she said.
The convicted pastors were sentenced to a fine of sh1m each and 100 hours of community service.
Buganda Road Court Magistrate, Julius Borore who passed the ruling, observed that the pastors abused the right to speech.
Borore said he chose to give them a tough sentence to act as prohibitive punishment.
But the four pastors protested the ruling and have instructed their lawyers to appeal.
“Kayanja used Police and court to destroy a serious cause and that is why we are appealing,” Male said.
He added that they had three major grounds of filing the appeal.
Pastor Male said the grounds included the refusal by Borore to recall the witnesses when the case was handed over to him from another Magistrate.
“Borore was not in court to hear the evidence of the witnesses, so he had no basis of making a judgment before recalling the witnesses,” he said.
Pr. Male added that Borore also acted irregularly by making a ruling yet they had filed an appeal whose hearing had been fixed for October 10.
The case started in 2009 when four pastors alleged that they had testimonies that Kayanja had sodomised some members of his flock.
Police, however, found Pr. Kayanja innocent after probing him. The pastor then dragged his colleagues to courts for tarnishing his reputation.
The delay in expediting the case at one point forced the Chief Justice, Benjamin Odoki, to intervene and ask his team to speed it up.
Judiciary spokesperson Justice Erias Kisawuzi told Saturday Vision that the delays were justified.
“The case had a lot of technicalities which needed to be handled with care for justice to be dispensed,” Justice Kisawuzi said.
Due to the complexities and technicalities, the case kept changing from one magistrate to another.
Patrick Wekesa, the first magistrate to preside over it was dropped when the accused pastors alleged that he had been compromised by Kayanja
The case was then handed over to Borore. But the accusations and counter accusations continued until the ruling.
After the ruling, Kisawuzi advised those not satisfied with the ruling to appeal in a higher court.
But the Born-again church leaders are praying to God to intervene and find a solution to the problem.
Pastor Alex Mitala, the chairman of the Pentecostal churches in Uganda said God cares about his Church and would intervene and calm the wave.
“We are not happy with what is happening. It was not important first of all for the case to end in the courts of law. We continue to pray that God finds a solution,” he said.
If the four pastors choose to appeal, the case may take years to be dispensed off, which would elongate the period of healing.