Uwera Trial – the Sticking Arguments

Defence and prosecution teams in the month-long murder trial of Jacqueline Uwera Nsenga made their closing arguments last week.

Uwera, 36, is accused of fatally running over her husband Juvenal Nsenga, with a car, as he opened their home gate in Bugolobi in January 2013. The arguments for and against Uwera have raised several contentious issues, which Justice Duncan Gaswaga must resolve in his judgment.

Intention to kill:

On Friday, prosecution, led by Principal State Attorney Suzan Okalany, said the state had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Uwera had killed Nsenga with “malice aforethought.”

Okalany argued that Uwera intentionally killed Nsenga because at the time she ran over him, she was driving at between 45 and 61 kilometres per hour, yet she was in the driveway.

“One would wonder why a person who first parked the car would drive at such high speed yet she knew very well that somebody was opening for her… .”she said.

On Thursday, Uwera’s lawyer Allan Sserulika had argued that prosecution had miserably failed to prove that his client intentionally killed her husband. Sserulika argued that Uwera had no malice aforethought because she took Nsenga to the hospital. Okalany, however, insisted that Uwera took the deceased to hospital because she knew he was going to die.

“In her statement to the police, the accused [Uwera] said that after taking Nsenga to the hospital she called her brother-in- law PW2 [Innocent Bisangwa] and told him,’The whole world is going to think I have killed my husband because of the bad relationship,”Okalany said.

Okalany said it was strange for Uwera to make such a statement yet Nsenga was still alive.

Did the car jerk?

Okalany also asked court to reject Uwera’s claim that she didn’t accelerate the car but rather it “jerked”. The state attorney explained that expert witnesses had told court that the killer car, a Toyota Mark X, had no history of accelerating on its own.

“These facts show that the car did not jerk on its own volition and that she accelerated it herself. She further said in her police statements, which were admitted in court as prosecution exhibits, that she did not realize that she had knocked anyone until the car came to a stop’,” Okalany said.

Justice Gaswaga will also have to resolve the question of whether Uwera knew if it was Nsenga who was opening the gate. According to Uwera, she didn’t know who was opening the gate since the shamba boy who normally opened it was away. But the state insisted that Uwera knew exactly who was opening the gate that night.

“It’s not normal for persons opening the gate at night not to enquire who is on the other side of the gate lest one invites in robbers and criminals. PW 8 [John Bosco Munaku] testified that it was not possible for the person outside to see who was inside. Similarly, it was not possible for one inside to know who was outside. Identification would be necessary, either by opening the pedestrian door at the gate to confirm who is outside or through oral speech,” Okalany asserted.


In her defence, Uwera said that her in-laws brought the murder charge against her not because she killed Nsenga but because they wanted to get rid of her and take the husband’s property.

But state produced evidence that attempted to show that almost all the property Uwera claimed was solely owned by her husband was jointly owned by Nsenga, his father Donati Kananura and Brother Foustine Katuramu. Okalany asked court to reject Uwera’s assertion that the murder charges were brought against her by her in-laws.

She said the state preferred the charges against her.

Source : The Observer

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