Nakawa Chief Magistrate's court has extended the criminal summons against Molly Katanga and her daughter Martha Nkwanzi to January 8, 2024, when they will appear in court and answer charges of murdering businessman Henry Katanga.
Molly, 55 is the widow of the deceased while Nkwanzi is their daughter. The duo is co-accused alongside another daughter Patricia Kakwanzi, 31, who is charged with destroying evidence, 30-year-old George Amanyire, the shamba boy who was at Katanga's home at the time, and the nursing officer Charles Otai who are charged with being accessories after the fact (of murder). The co-accused were further remanded until January 8 next year.
According to the prosecution, Katanga was shot dead on November 2, 2023, at Mbuya Chwa Two Road, Nakawa Division Kampala Capital city by his wife Molly with the help of their daughter Nkwanzi. Last month on November 21, chief magistrate Erias Kakooza issued criminal summons against Molly and Nkwanzi - ordering them to appear in court today December 4.
The duo however did not show up on grounds that they are still admitted at International Hospital Kampala (IHK) and Roswell Women and Children Hospital respectively. Instead, they sent a team of lawyers led by Elison Karuhanga, Bruce Musinguzi, and Jet Tumwebaze to inform court that Molly was advised to be kept under the doctor's watch due to the severe head and brain injuries and a hand fracture she suffered on November 2.
To support their arguments, the lawyers presented a letter and still pictures explaining that Molly was operated upon for those injuries and is therefore not yet stable enough to attend court. Regarding her daughter Nkwanzi, the court heard that she has just given birth at Rosewell hospital and suffers from postpartum effects for which doctors recommended that she equally needs close supervision.
As such, the lawyers promised to bring Molly and Nkwazi to court as soon as they get well to face the offenses against them. However, the prosecution led by Mariam Kulthum asked for a warrant of arrest against the duo, saying that they snubbed the court and also added that the investigations are still ongoing in this case.
The prosecution accuses the two daughters; Nkwanzi and Kakwanza of removing or destroying diverse evidence and thus rendering them illegible for identification - well knowing that they may be required as evidence during the judicial proceeding. The state further states that Amanyire and Otai received or assisted other people who were to their knowledge liable for an offense, to enable them to escape punishment.
After hearing from both parties, magistrate Kakooza declined to issue a warrant of arrest and instead extended the criminal summons against Molly and Nkwanzi. The proceedings took place in a fully packed courtroom despite the heavy down power - with Katanga's relatives staging a silent demonstration of wearing T-shirts and holding placards demanding justice for their murdered relative.
Meanwhile, the same court refused to hear a bail application by the three co-accused who were charged earlier, and advised them to apply in the High court which has the jurisdiction to handle capital offenses.
Also, the mother of the deceased, Mirian Kyobuhoro, and his uncles have hired the former deputy attorney general Mwesigwa Rukutana to follow the trial on their behalf, something that has not sat well with the defense team which said this is akin to hijacking the trial from the director of public prosecutions (DPP) and therefore the justice of their clients is at stake because of revenge that is apparently coming from within the state.
They say Rukutana should instead tell the relatives to walk to the police and record their statements which would be used during trial. As this criminal case is ongoing, there is another pending application for an inquest before the civil division of the High court filed by Brig Gen Freddie Karara Machwa, an uncle of the deceased and Moses Bwaniaga Taremwa, a brother-in-law of the deceased who wants the court to allow their application, for understanding the clear circumstances leading to the death of their relative.
This is because they believe Katanga was shot dead but several people whom they list in their ex parte application including top army generals in the UPDF and colonels as well as some top police commanders, and a minister, to be shielding the truth of the murder from coming out and instead fronting a narrative that Katanga died of suicide.
They further accuse powerful government officials of having aided the widow and her daughter in disguising the murder as a suicide case, tampering with CCTV footage as well as a scene of crime. Katanga and his wife have been supplying items to key government agencies including the ministry of Defense.
Katanga was one of the Ankole princes while his wife Molly is a relative and close confidant to key government and security officials who are allegedly trying to save her from facing murder offenses. Another daughter, Tricia Katanga, who was called in later after the murder had happened, has not been charged with any offense. She will perhaps appear as a witness against her mother and sisters.