On the night of October 13, Ronald Kyeyune, 30, a suspected thug, reportedly broke into Fr Richard Mugisha’s home at Bisanje Catholic Parish in Masaka City.
He allegedly gained entry into the home through the roof before breaking into Fr Mugisha’s car, a Toyota Harrier, that was parked outside the premises.
According to witnesses, Kyeyune was reportedly naked and had smeared motor vehicle oil all over his body. While inside the car, Kyeyune hooted several times, which prompted a female house help to wake up and walk towards the gate, thinking his boss (Fr Mugisha) had an emergencey.
The honking didn’t only alert the house help, but also the village security squad that patrols the area.
They quickly rushed to Fr Mugisha’s gate, which the house help had already opened.
“Upon entering the gate, we surrounded Fr Mugisha’s car and when we checked it, we found a naked man in the back seat and had smeared his body with motor vehicle oil,” Mr Joseph Mutayomba, who was commanding the village security team, said. Mr Mutayomba said they apprehended Kyeyune and alerted a police patrol that took him to Masaka Central Police Station. A few hours later, Kyeyune was pronounced dead. Police have since preferred murder charges against Fr Mugisha and Mr Mutayomba, who also doubles as the chairperson of Bisanje Village.
Mr Mutayomba insisted Kyeyune was handed to police when he was still alive and was never beaten as claimed by some people.
“It is not true that the suspect was beaten and he was taken by police when he was still alive,” he said.
This information was corroborated by Mr Muhammad Nsubuga, the southern regional police spokesperson, in an earlier interview, who said by the time police rescued Kyeyune, he had no visible signs of any injuries.
“…but he later developed complications and died as he was being rushed to Masaka Regional Referral Hospital,”
Since the incident happened, Fr Mugisha has twice been summoned to report to Masaka Central Police Station, but it is his lawyer, Mr Alexander Lule, who has been appearing on his behalf following reports that he is feeling unwell.
On Saturday, Fr Mugisha posted on his facebook page urging people to remain calm and said he was in good health.
“I take this opportunity to thank you all for your prayers and consolation in this trying moment, May the good Lord reward you abundantly, For God and My Country, Amen,” the post reads in part.
Did Fr Mugisha kill Kyeyune?
Fr Mugisha said despite hearing intruders breaking into his home, he was hesitant to leave his bedroom fearing they could be part of the machete-wielding thugs who have terrorised the area in the past few months.
“When the village security team arrived, that is when I came out,” he said. He questions the motive of the attacker, saying he started the engine of his car and also hooted several times.
Fr Mugisha further wonders why police preferred murder charges against him yet the suspect died in the hands of police.
“Why did police prefer murder charges against me when I was the last person to reach the crime scene? By the way, I would be the one complaining because the wind screen of my vehicle was vandalised,” Fr Mugisha wonders.
Kyeyune’s relatives claim the deceased had a mental disorder, which is backed up with medical forms from Butabika Hospital. A day before he died, Ms Madina Kyeyune, the wife, said her husband had been taken to Buyambi, Kyotera District to receive treatment from a traditional hearer.
“We had spent one day at the traditional healer’s place and my husband escaped from us…” she said.
Ms Kyeyune added that her husband could have been tortured in the process of extracting information from him. She says it is a police detective who informed her about the death of her husband.
The deceased was dealing in stationary on Nasser Road in Kampala and a resident of Ggangu, Makindye Division, and Kampala.
Both politicians and clerics in the region have since weighed in on Fr Mugisha’s predicament, claiming he is a victim of incessant witch-hunt from government.
Mr Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament and Nyendo-Mukungwe Municipality legislator, said: “If the police spokesperson says the suspect died while being rushed to hospital, how does Fr Mugisha come into the picture? Let the man of God not lose sleep over this matter because these are tramped up charges.’’
Mr Nsubuga said the case file for Fr Mugisha and Mr Mutayomba and the postmortem report have since been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for advice.
Fr Mugisha has in the last three years become critical of government excesses. In one of the video clips, which went viral on various social media platforms in the run up to the January General Election, the youthful priest accused President Museveni of failing to stick to his promise of relinquishing power after clocking 75 years.
Compiled by Al-Mahdi Ssenkabirwa, Wilson Kutamba & Gertrude Mutyaba