Former Tooro PM freed after 20 years

Ex-Tooro Kingdom Prime Minister, John Katuramu in handicuffs.

The former Prime Minister of Tooro Kingdom, John Sanyu Katuramu has been released from Luzira prison this (Saturday) morning September 11, 2021.

Katuramu has been serving a life sentence after he was in September 2001 convicted for the murder of Prince Happy Kijanangoma.

Court presided over by Justice John Bosco Katutsi found that on March 25, 1999, financed the murder of Prince Kijanangoma and his body guard, Stephen Kaganda, at Palace View Bar in Fort Portal Town in Kabarole District. He was handed a death penalty.

Later, Katuramu’s penalty was commuted to life imprisonment after Susan Kigula and 400 other death row inmates successfully appealed against their sentences in the Supreme Court in 2009.

The court ruled that if someone is convicted and sentenced to death and is not hanged within three years, then the High Court would revisit his or her sentence to a maximum of life in prison for 20 years.

Katuramu, therefore, got his death row commuted to life in prison for 20 years in 2009.

The Commissioner General of Prisons, Can Dr Johnson Omuhunde Rwashote Byabashaija, confirmed that Katuramu was released from prison this (Saturday) morning.

“Yes, it is a normal release”. Mr Byabashaija confirmed.

Patrick Kwezi, who was convicted for transmitting the money to the killers and Twinomugisha, a former National Resistance Army (NRA) young soldier who pulled the trigger, are currently serving death sentences at Luzira prison.

Former Tooro Kingdom Prime Minister, John Katuramu.

How it started

It all began in 1993 with the death of Omukama of Tooro, Patrick Olimi Kaboyo.

Fights shook the monarchy over the management of the kingdom’s vast prime properties with kingdom Premier, John Katuramu, against the royals especially Prince Happy Kijanangoma and Princess Elizabeth Bagaya.

The royals petitioned court seeking revocation of Katuramu’s powers to manage the kingdom properties purporting that the prime minister was having an appropriate affair with the queen mother, Best Kemigisa.

During the same period, Kijanangoma was mobilising the royal clan to move a vote of no confidence against Katuramu. His position in the kingdom lay in balance.

To preempt the move to have him removed from office, Katuramu hired goons who killed Kijanangoma on March 25, 1999.

Before travelling to Fort Portal to attend the court case against Katuramu on March 25, 1999, Kijanangoma had asked a one Karamagi to inform his friend a one Mboijana that he had heard information that had hired gunmen for Shs6m to kill him.

On that evening while enjoying drinks with a friend, Ferri Babara, at Palace View Bar in Fort Portal town, an unknown person entered and whispered to Alex Twinomugisha (A1) and the two went out quickly.

Shortly after, they returned and Twinomugisha shot Kijanangoma and the bar’s night watchman, Sephen Kaganda. Both died on the spot and Babara was injured.

Twinomugisha was arrested in Kireka, Kampala, by Capt Kayanja on July 23, 1999 before being taken to the Directorate of Military Intelligence now Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) and to Kampala Central Police Station.

It is reported that later the families of Katuramu and Kijanangoma reconciled allowing President Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni to exercise his prerogative of mercy.

In 2006, President Museveni said at a rally that: “Issues of Katuramu can’t be solved at a rally. I need to sort it out with the families but not at a rally. So, if the two families settled (agreed), I have no problem with releasing Katuramu.

Katuramu (R) chauffeured in a SUV by his family out of Luzira prison premises today (Saturday) morning, September 11, 2021.

Another charge

Katuramu has another criminal charge that was suspended.

This is related to the murder of Richard Tumwesigye who was shot dead with his two friends outside the Eastern Gate of Makerere University on the day he had finished his law examinations.

The killer, Alex Twine – the same man who killed Kijanangoma was reportedly targeting Mirindi Kajabago, an intelligence operative who was in company of Tumwesigye and a young girl, Mary Kaitetsi.

Katuramu had hired Twine and Bob Smart (reknowned hitmen and army deserters) to kill Kijanangoma on March 24, 1999.


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