Fort Portal, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The release of former Tooro Kingdom Premier John Sanyu Katuramu after serving his term at Luzira Prison has generated mixed reaction in Fort Portal.
Katuramu was convicted and sentenced to death in 1999, for masterminding the murder of the then Tooro Prince Patrick Happy Kijanangoma and a guard, Stephen Kaganda. The incident occurred at Palace View Bar Hotel in Fort Portal town.
Katuramu’s sentence was commuted to life in prison after Susan Kigula and 400 other death row inmates successfully appealed against their sentences in the Supreme court in 2009.
The Supreme Court then 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.
Robert Mutuzi a resident of fort portal said he was excited that Katuramu has been finally released from prison. He says that the people of Tooro should welcome Katuramu and forgive him because he could have reformed.
Michael Muwhezi, says that there is no harm in releasing Katuramu. He says that the former premier was a bright man with ideas of business. He cites the establishment of Voice of Tooro by Katuramu.
Isaiah Muhereza, a resident of Gweri says that Katuramu is a pillar in Tooro’s development and since his conviction and imprisonment, many development projects he had initiated have collapsed. He says that Katuramu’s release is good news for the business community in the area.
Tom Bright the Kyaka Central Member of Parliament in Tooro Kingdom said he was happy that Katuramu had been released. Bright says that is optimistic that Katuramu will stir more development of Tooro region.
He says that Katuramu initiated many economic and developmental projects in the whole of Toro Kingdom and also offered educational and financial support to the needy.
However, Annet Ruyonza says that she feels heartbroken that Katuramu has been released and yet Kijanagoma died and can’t be replaced. He says that Kijanangoma died defending the properties of Tooro Kingdom.
Prince David Kijanangoma, the younger brother of the late Happy Kijanangoma says that the family forgave Katuramu after a process of reconciliation. According to Kijanangoma, a family decision was later reached to forgive Katuramu after he was remorseful for the crime he committed.