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Wednesday,October 21,2020 22:29 PM

Magara jailed for 14 years

By Vision Reporter

Added 24th June 2009 03:00 AM

Ramadhan Magara has been convicted of manslaughter for the 2006 killing of two supporters of opposition leader Kizza Besigye at Bulange, the headquarters of Buganda kingdom. Magara was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.

Ramadhan Magara has been convicted of manslaughter for the 2006 killing of two supporters of opposition leader Kizza Besigye at Bulange, the headquarters of Buganda kingdom. Magara was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.

By Anne Mugisa & Edward Anyoli

Ramadhan Magara has been convicted of manslaughter for the 2006 killing of two supporters of opposition leader Kizza Besigye at Bulange, the headquarters of Buganda kingdom. Magara was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.

Justice Wilson Kwesiga said, however, that Magara, 55, had no malice against the victims but was provoked when he was insulted and his car windscreen smashed.

“The acts of insulting the accused and criminally damaging his car amounted to provocation. In the heat of passion, he acted suddenly. He, therefore, committed manslaughter in count one and in count two,” Justice Kwesiga told a packed court. For each count, he was sentenced to seven years, to be served one after another.

Magara, a Special Police Constable who worked in the office of the resident district commissioner in Rubaga, had been charged with murder following the shooting incident on February 15, 2006 in which Vincent Kavuma and Gideon Makabayi died.

The shooting in the run-up to the 2006 presidential elections had heightened tensions. The opposition at the time charged that it was a calculated move by the Government to intimidate its supporters.

Magara was also charged with attempted murder of Haruna Byamukama, who said he sustained gunshot wounds during the incident.

Byamukama, who is now confined to a wheelchair, testified against Magara during the trial. But the judge said no evidence was tendered in court to show that Byamukama was injured by Magara, that he was injured in that particular incident, or even that he sustained gunshot wounds.

According to the evidence, the judge said, a big crowd had gone to the political gathering at Bulange Mengo, attended by Besigye. They blocked the roads and denied motorists way. When Magara wanted to pass, the mob confronted him and engaged him in a bitter verbal exchange.

Police witnesses said they stopped Magara from getting into a heated discussion with the mob and he seemed to comply when he got back into his car.

However, when someone threw a stone which broke his windscreen, he angrily got out of the car and started shooting.

“The accused tried to pass but he was attacked. They exchanged bitter words. They insulted him and showed him V-signs. An unknown person threw a stone at his car and smashed his screen,” detective Isaac Wekoyera said.

When Magara shot in the air, the crowd took cover, after which he turned his gun and shot directly at them, according to the witness. The witness denied that the crowd tried to remove Magara from the car or take his gun. He also said that apart from Magara’s, there were no other gunshots.

Justice Kwesiga rejected the argument by Magara’s lawyer, McDusman Kabega, that he shot in self-defence. He said this theory was advanced as an afterthought.

He also rejected an alternative defence of accidental shooting, saying Magara “picked his gun from the car, removed the safety catch and shot.”

The judge also noted that Hamed Mulega, one of the witnesses who testified in defence of Magara, told the court a pack of lies. He said Mulega was the only one who saw Magara fighting with strong youth and bleeding. He also rejected his testimony that Magara drove his car back to the RDC’s office when he was attacked by the mob.

After the conviction, the state attorney, Fred Waninda, asked the judge to give Magara the maximum sentence of life imprisonment, both to punish him and deter others.

But Kabega pleaded for a milder sentence that would be both a deterrent and reformatory. Speaking in Luganda, Magara also asked the judge for leniency, arguing that he had many dependants, including two wives and eight children, the youngest being a nine-month-old baby.

In his sentence, the judge said Magara had been entrusted with a gun to protect life but he used it to take life away.

He, however, said he discounted life imprisonment. Instead, he gave him a seven-year sentence for each of the deceased.

Magara, who had been out on bail, was taken into the cells from where he was transported to Luzira Prison to serve his sentence.

Magara jailed for 14 years

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