In his testimony, Ssebuyungo told the court that Wamala and his employee, Jamilu Kimbugwe who is still at large cut the deceased into two. Wamala pleaded not guilty to the charges with guidance from his then-lawyer, Gastone Kamugisha, Wamala, and proceeded with the full trial.
The Convict Muhammad Wamala in a dock at High Court
High Court in Mukono has convicted 45-year-old Muhamad Wamala,
a witch doctor in Kayunga district for the murder of Zulaika Nansamba alias
Mirembe and aggravated human trafficking. Justice Margret
Mutonyi delivered the verdict after finding Wamala guilty of killing Mirembe in ritual practice and trafficking humans to the shrine of his colleague Wilber
Ssebuyungo) in Kisoga, Nazigo Sub County in Kayunga district.
Court heard that in 2017 at Kisoga village, Wamala with
malice aforethought murdered Nansamba by hitting her head with a pickaxe. The prosecution relied on a post-mortem report by Dr. Sam Kalungi, a pathologist at Mulago
National Referral Hospital. The pathologist noted that the deceased had a
cracked head indicating that she succumbed to blunt trauma.
In her judgment, Justice Mutonyi, said that Wamala’s in-law Wilber
Ssebuyungo who pleaded guilty to the same offenses in 2019 in exchange for a
lighter sentence, also implicated him on the murder charges when he testified as a
In his testimony, Ssebuyungo told the court that Wamala
and his employee, Jamilu Kimbugwe who is still at large cut the deceased into
two. Wamala pleaded not guilty to the charges with guidance from his then-lawyer, Gastone Kamugisha, Wamala, and proceeded with the full trial.
The defense told the court that Wamala trained Ssebuyungo in
herbal medicine and not human sacrifice. He also told the court he reported the
incidents to the police, which didn’t handle the matter well prompting him to
proceed to the Chieftaincy of the Military Intelligence-CMI. Wamala claimed
that his information as a whistleblower led to the crackdown on the shrine and the recovery of several bodies.
He also argued that Ssebuyungo and James Kibuuka turned
against him for being a CMI whistleblower. Court then
established that the items found in the shrine namely 2 pots with what is
believed to be human blood, spears, 5 bodies, and a skull buried in the compound
did not suggest that Ssebuyungo was trained to be a traditional healer but
rather a witchdoctor.
State Attorney George Bigira also noted that at the time
of their arrest, Ssebuyungo and James Kibuuka were locked up in different
facilities and they did not know that Wamala was the whistleblower and
therefore had no reason to get back at him. Bigira prayed to the court to find the
accused guilty and hand him a life sentence on all charges, arguing that
someone who has gone to great lengths of training others into human sacrifice
should not be allowed in society.
Wamala’s current lawyer Emmanuel Turyomwe
asked the court to his client lenient sentences, which should run concurrently,
saying that he has had time to reflect on his actions and is remorseful. Justice Mutonyi found Wamala found guilty of
“The shrine is said to have been constructed by the accused
and the items found in the shrine have nothing to do with traditional medicine
but rather a human sacrifice. The accused has been masquerading as a traditional
healer yet he is a witch doctor and took another step of training others as an
expert in human sacrifice. For him to be a whistleblower is just an act of
hypocrisy,” she said in her judgment.
Adding that “Upon arresting the suspects, Ssebuyungo and
Kibuuka were put in different facilities and they did not know that the accused
was the whistleblower, therefore there is no way they could have given such a
testimony to pay back.”
She asked Wamala that since he had said through his lawyer
that he is remorseful, to the people whose bodies were found in the shrine, saying
this wouldn’t aggravate his sentence. He only named Zulaika Nansamba and one Oketch,
whom he identified as Ssebuyongo’s employee. The judge then ordered the state
to work with the police to release Oketch’s body and trace his relatives for
proper burial. She adjourned the matter to Thursday, May 26 to deliver her
In 2017, police arrested six witch doctors in
connection to the murder of Zulaika Nansamba alias Mirembe whose body was found
in a shrine at Kisoga village in Kayunga District. The suspects
included Muhammad Wamala alias Vincent Paul, Joseph Kibuuka alias Junior, Isa Walakira
alias Joseph, Wilber Ssebuyungo, James Lutwama, and Fred Kizza Ssemanda.
In November 2019, justice Margret Mutonyi
acquitted Lutwama and Ssemanda of six counts of murder and aggravated
human trafficking. It came after the accused’s lawyers said that they
were never mentioned during the cross-examination of Ssebuyungo who changed his
plea from not guilty to guilty in a plea bargain session and testified against
Ssebuyungo implicated Wamala for masterminding the murder of
Nasamba and Corporal Harriet Nabitaka. He also revealed that he only met James
Lutwama and Fred Kizza Ssemanda in the police cells and had never worked with
them before their arrest.
This prompted Justice Mutonyi to release the duo since
there was no evidence incriminating them. “I find that there is no need to
keep Lutwama and Ssemanda. It will be unfair to keep them on remand till the
end of the case. They should be released unless they have other cases to
answer,” Justice Mutonyi ruled in 2019. She convicted Joseph
Walakira to 5 years in jail after revising his charge to being an accessory to