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Kanyamunyu released from prison after serving three years

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Executive Director of Quantum Express Logistics, Mathew Kanyamunyu has been released from prison after serving his sentence for shooting dead child rights activist Kenneth Akena in 2016.

Kanyamunyu was sentenced to five years and one month in jail but he has served three years and five months upon remission.

Kanyamunyu, his brother Joseph Kanyamunyu and his girlfriend Cynthia Munwangari were accused of murdering Kenneth Akena, a child rights activist on November 12, 2016 around Lugogo bypass. 

Prosecution alleges that on November 12, 2017 while at Game Stores, Kanyamunyu, in company of his girlfriend, allegedly shot Akena and drove him to Norvik hospital, where he died.

His brother Joseph Kanyamunyu was implicated on the condition that the telecom printouts indicated that he was contacted immediately after the incident, which puts him in position to be having some knowledge on the incident.

In 2020, Kanyamunyu opted for Mato Oput. He went and apologized to the cultural leaders of the deceased Non-government organisations (NGO) worker in Gulu. Sources say before his release, he had developed health condition that necessitated him for treatment. Prison authorities further transferred him from Kityala to Luzira for easy monitoring.

In the traditional ritual Mato Oput practiced in Acholi, the culprit apologizes for the crime he committed against an individual or family. The ritual allows the two families to reunite, dine and reconcile.

In Acholi, one can only undergo this kind of cleansing after accepting the crime committed. He was captured kneeling before cultural leaders for over an hour.

Mato Oput is the end result of ‘Culu kwo’ compensating the bereaved family after some time. Usually the spirit of the dead will ask for it after inflicting spiritual revenge to the killer’s family.

According to cultural analysts in Acholi region, he should undergo the truth telling to let the world know what exactly happened on that day, accept compensation or face the full wrath of ‘cen pigwang’ in Acholi or full prosecution.

Late Akena came from the Payira clan also headed by Paramount Rwot Achana. There has been protracted dialogue between the two families of Kanyamunyu and the Akena. According to the source, chief Achana did not attend the protracted meeting.

Kanyamunyu was ordered to pay 10 herd of cattle, an unrevealed amount of money and others.

This is where the justice system in Uganda may need to learn from Mato Oput which is practiced widely among Acholi. It leaves both parties united. Not bitter and divided by prosecution which is mostly corruptible given the gravity of deaths in societies.

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