President Museveni has rejected overtures from a cross section of Tooro leaders to release from jail murder convict John Katuramu, Chimp Corps report.
Fort Portal municipality MP Alex Ruhunda on Tuesday told president Museveni at a rally the area that majority of Batooro would love to see the former monarchy’s Prime Minister set free.
He said Museveni should use his prerogative of mercy to allow Katuramu return home after serving 18 years in jail.
In his response, Museveni said such a thing can happen if Katuramu mends fences with the family of Prince Happy Kijanangoma whom he murdered on March 25, 1999.
“On the issue of Katuramu who is in Luzira Prison,” said Museveni, “he can only be pardoned if his family reconciles with that of late Prince Happy Kijanangoma.”
This confirmed earlier reports that Katuramu has never reached out in person to the families of his victims but simply wrote to President Museveni reminding him how he made huge financial contributions to the party and why he should be freed from prison because of that.
John Sanyu Katuramu Amooti has been in detention since 1998.
Katuramu, his nephew Patrick Kwezi and Alex Twinomugisha, a former UPDF kadogo were in 2001 convicted of murdering Prince Happy Kijanangoma and a guard, Stephen Kaganda, on March 25, 1999.
The incident occurred at Palace View Bar Hotel.
In handing down the sentence, Justice J.B Katutsi said Katuramu was the one who procured the killers although prosecution did not have to prove his motive.
He said the prosecution had proved that Katuramu paid the killers, gave them transport from and back to Kampala and that they stayed at his farm the night of the murder
ChimpReports understands that President Museveni intends to release at least 300 prisoners using his prerogative of mercy.
The Supreme Court a few years ago decided that once a death penalty is not executed in three years, the convict should serve a life sentence which is 20 years.
For Katuramu who has been at Luzira for the last 18 years, he could be released in 2018 with or without a presidential pardon.
In a 2012 interview, Katuramu was asked if he felt any remorse for the crimes he committed.
He responded: “What happened was unfortunate though it was exaggerated. All I can say to my people from Toro and Uganda as a whole is that I am sorry. I pray for their forgiveness,” he said.
Many concluded that Katuramu was not sincere in his apology.
Releasing Katuramu would as well leave Kijanangoma’s family deeply wounded.
Katuramu has another criminal case that was suspended. It 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 exams.
The Killer Alex Twine, the same man who shot and killed Kijanangoma was reportedly targeting, Mirindi Kajabago, an intelligence operative who was in the company of Tumwesigye and the girl, Mary Kaitetsi.
Katuramu had hired Twine and Bob Smart, (renowned hit men and army deserters) to kill Kijanangoma on March 24, 1999.
The hit men had tracked their target Kijanangoma (whom they had christened Escobar) to Fort Portal town; they aborted the mission to kill the Prince because he had been joined by Mirindi Kajabago who knew Twine as a murderous hit man.
Twine tracked and killed Kajabago the next day on March 25 and later tracked down Mirindi in Kampala and shot him outside Makerere University gate to ensure he doesn’t testify against him in court.
This particular case of the three murders was suspended after Katuramu and Alex Twine who were the defendants had been convicted in the murder of Kijanangoma.
But Twine admitted to killing the three and the confession is on police file.