Busia assistant chief handed 115 years sentence for incitement

By Mourice Seretta 

A court in Busia has sentenced an assistant chief to 115 years in jail aftyer finding him guilty of incitement.

Andrew Odato was handed the heavy sentence after he was also found guilty of instigating arson that saw several houses razed down by angry residents he had allegedly incited.

Busia Senior Principal Magistrate Patrick Olengo in his judgment said the 115-year jail term was arrived at based on the evidence submitted before the court by the prosecution and defence lawyers.

Odato was arrested in 2016 alongside other suspects and charged with arson after at least 10 houses belonging to one family were razed.

Odato publicly made inflammatory remarks regarding the death of Ceremin Ongamo who died after an illness in the process blamed a family in Okame village, Teso South for the death of Ceremin, instigating the torching of the houses and destruction of property.

But Odato in his argument claimed that the incident happened at night and he could not visit the scene for security reasons an argument the magistrate said the prosecution had proven beyond reasonable doubt that Odato played a key role in the events that contributed to the arson that left more than 32 family members homeless.

“When the houses were being burnt, he did not bother to find out what was going on despite being in-charge of security of that area. I am satisfied by the testimony of the prosecution witnesses who revealed that they were able to see the first accused person at the scene and even recognised him by his voice on that fateful night,” Olengo said in his judgement. 

The magistrate said Odato betrayed the people he was charged with the responsibility of taking care of as an administrator by taking sides.

“A prosecution witness said she identified the first accused through the crack of the door. She even identified the clothes the accused person was wearing. I find the identification free from any error if indeed the first accused person was at the scene,” read the judgment.


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