Ms Jacqueline Uwera Nsenga, the woman accused of killing her husband started her defence yesterday, telling the High Court that she was in a “wonderful relationship” with her husband at the time of death contrary to earlier information that their marriage was on the rocks.
Ms Nsenga is accused of killing her husband Juvenal Nsenga, a prominent businessman, by running over him with a car as she drove into their residence in Bogolobi, Kampala, in January 2013. She told court that the murder charges against her were engineered by her husband’s family due to a disagreement over management of the deceased’s estate.
Ms Nsenga, a mother of two, said her in-laws had not raised the murder claim before the property dispute came up. She insisted that running over her husband to death was an accident. “When we returned from burial, my brother in Kigali called me and said my brother-in-law, Joseph Kananura had gone out drinking and said he will kill me. Indeed Joseph posted on his facebook page “I will kill her.” I knew he had a gun and has used it before,” she said. She said she was compelled to seek police protection when her in-laws started threatening her with death. The trial is before Justice Duncan Gaswaga.
Ms Nsenga said her father-in-law, Mr Donato Kananura, approached her around the same time with their family lawyer, Mr Sam Bitangaro and asked her to sign documents pertaining to the deceased’s estate without giving her a copy.
Police investigations into the husband’s death were already ongoing. The property dispute went to the Family Court, which gave them a month to amicably agree on the management of the estate, estimated at about Shs50b. “After one month, Mr Kananura shocked me when he told the Family Court that I have a case to answer and he cannot manage the estate with me.
I returned to Kireka [police base] and my lawyer told me my in-laws wanted me to withdraw the caveat on the property and they stop pursuing murder charges. I declined till I was brought to court,” Ms Nsenga submitted.
She said she was under police protection for more than six months until she was produced in court. She is currently on remand at Luzira prison. She recounted the history of their relationship that started in 1994, but said it went sour in 2001 and forced her to turn to Jesus and became a born-again Christian.
When her lawyer, Mr Nsubuga Mubiru, asked her whether the knocking of her husband was intentional, Ms Nsenga insisted it was accidental. “I explained to my in-laws and they all understood it was not intentional. My father in-law even told the mourners and media to stop blaming me,” she said.
Ms Nsenga, who broke down as she recounted how the accident occurred, said: “The car jerked, I reached for the steering and I don’t know how I got inside in that panic.” Principal State Attorney Susan Okalany asked court for time to prepare for cross-examination because the accused had raised several new issues that required time for analysis. The trial was adjourned to today for cross-examination of the accused.
stronHighlights of the trialstron
Ms Jacqueline Uwera Nsenga, who is charged with murdering her husband by running over him at their residence in Bugolobi in January last year, began her defence yesterday after the State prosecution closed its case with evidence of 13 witnesses. Ivan Okuda was in court and brings you highlights of the court trial proceedings. Nsenga’s defence opens with her defence lawyer Nsubuga Mubiru informing court that he intends to call four witnesses.
Mubiru: My Lord, I intend to call some four witnesses, including Mr Musana, the deputy director of CID. Any of our witnesses in court please move out. But before the accused gives her evidence on oath, My Lord, the defence intends to adduce evidence of how the accused and the deceased met, lived in the home from the time of marriage to the point of death. My Lord evidence shall be adduced to show the battle between the Director of Public Prosecutions and police finally leading to the accused being charged. That is how we intend to show the innocence of the accused.Judge: We shall record the accused as defence witness number one.
(Jacqueline Nsenga takes oath. She introduces herself as a 36-year-old woman who ran a tailoring business).
stronNsubuga: How did you meet the deceased?stronNsenga: I met Nsenga in Nairobi where I was living, he had come for business in 1992. I was 17-years-old, we fell in love, courted for one and half years. In 1994 we married at Mbuya Catholic Church.
stronNsubuga: Can you describe your early marriage?stronNsenga: It was wonderful, we had no secrets and went out together, we did everything together.
stronNsubuga: Did you have any issues (children)?stronMs Nsenga: Yes, we got our first daughter in 1996 and a son in 2001. I had him in the United States.
stronNsubuga: What happened when you returned from the US?stronNsenga: I left for the US in June and returned in October 2001. Things had changed. Nsenga became a little secretive, he started going out alone and when I asked to accompany him, he said no. I was not working, I had children and wanted to experience that love and closeness which we enjoyed before.
stronNsubuga: What did you do?stronNsenga: I talked to my in-laws, I talked to Innocent Bisangwa his elder brother and who was our best man. He said he would talk to him. I later spoke to my father-in-law, Mr Donato Kananura. He asked me if he was providing food, I said ‘yes’ and he told me to return home and relax.
stronNsubuga: Were these challenges in your relationship normal to him?stronNsenga: He found them normal. As time went by Nsenga started to go out twice a week, three times a week, four times a week and before I knew it was every night.
stronNsubuga: Which years are we talking about? stronNsenga: 2003, 2004, 2005I talked to Innocent Bisangwa’s wife who aised me to pray about it. That is when I gave my life to Jesus Christ and we started having fellowship but things kept getting worse. One time (in 2010) he stayed out up to midday the next day. I got scared and contacted Innocent and my father-in-law whom he spoke to.
stronNsubuga: When did you last go for fellowship?stronNsenga: A week before the accident.
stronNsubuga: Did you experience any domestic violence?stronNsenga: Never. My husband never beat me, we never quarrelled and we discussed about any matter of disagreement.
stronNsubuga: Is that what your father-in-law would describe as challenges?stronNsenga: Yes. To him this was normal. He actually once told me the story of a woman who was sent by a witchdoctor for a tail of a lion. She had to devise ways of getting it and gave the lion food which made it sleep, she caressed it and got the tail. My father-in-law said my husband was the lion and I should caress him when he comes back home and everything will stabilise.
stronNsubuga: Did you follow his wisdom?stronNsenga: I tried but things did not improve.
stronNsubuga: There was a witness in court (prosecution witness and cousin to the deceased)alled Roleta. At what time did you get to stay with her?stronNsenga: She lived with us from 2001. One of her sisters was moving to Uganda from Canada and she (Roleta) asked me if she would join us in our home. I told her it was fine since our home was their home too. We lived together for close to a year. One evening, my husband was downstairs (the house is double storied) watching television. Roleta was clad in a see-through blouse and skimpy skirt. I saw her go down. Around the same time, one of our relatives [cousin] visited and asked her why she was dressed skimpily before Nsenga. She said he [Nsenga] does not mind. My cousin slapped her.
stronNsubuga: What happened after?stronNsenga: I started to notice change in her attitude. One time she left her phone on the table and a message came through. I checked and it read, “I don’t hate you. I am just tired. I love you.” It was from my husband.
stronNsubuga: Did you confront her?stronNsenga: No. I talked to my husband and kept quiet and requested Roleta’s sister to take her away from our home as I was not comfortable with her there anymore. This was in 2011.
stronNsubuga: Roleta also told court that you uttered threats before the accident. Did you do this? Was she lying to court?stronNsenga: On that she lied. I did not. I expressed my dissatisfaction with her mingling with my children and staying in our house in the presence of my husband and her sister.
stronNsubuga: Let us move to the day of the accident. Can you narrate to court what happened from that day’s morning to the time of the accident? stronNsenga: I got up and prepared to take my son to school. We had three workers (baby sitter, cook and shamba boy). As I walked to the kitchen where my son was having breakfast, I bumped into the shamba boy who said he had lost his sister and needed his salary so he could go for burial. I told him to wait as boss (Mr Nsenga) was still asleep. I took my son to school, had a lunch appointment with my cousin and rushed to pick him from school. When I returned, my husband was having his late lunch, I told him about the shamba boy’s request and he gave me money which I passed to the shamba boy.
stronNsubuga: But court was told that there was no communication between you and your husband. That the marriage had broken to that extent.stronNsenga: That is a total lie.
stronNsubuga: How did you have meals?stronNsenga: We had meals together whenever both of us were at home and I did serve my husband food.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor