Kanyamunyu was arrested in 2016 on suspicion that he drew a gun at Akena after he reportedly accidentally knocked his car in a parking lot in Lugogo, Kampala. Akena had reportedly gone to apologise to Kanyamunyu after the accident, but Kanyamunyu instead lowered the window of his car and shot him in the stomach with a pistol at close range. According to the family, a postmortem report revealed two bullets inside Akena's body.
Akena died a few hours later at Norvic hospital along Bombo Road where he had been taken by the accused. Kanyamunyu has since then been on trial together with his Burundian girlfriend Cynthia Munwangari and sibling Joseph Kanyamunyu who allegedly hid the killer gun. But throughout the trial, Kanyamunyu and his girlfriend insisted that they only took Akena to hospital as good Samaritans.
Dr John Baptist Odama, the Gulu Archbishop backed by Rwot David Onena Acana II, the paramount chief of Acholi persuaded Akena’s family who in turn opened up to the negotiations. The reconcilers summoned the two families for the first meeting that was held today in Gulu.
The meeting that was held under tents at Ker Kwaro Acholi compound, was presided over by Rwot Acana II as a chief witness. A council of six elders cross-examined Kanyamunyu as a requisite step of prior to Mato Oput - a clan or family-centred reconciliation practice.
A family source privy to the negotiations says that Kanyamunyu made a step by step recount of what happened between him and Akena on November 12, 2016, at Forest shopping mall in Lugogo before he pleaded for clemency from Ogom chiefs, Akena’s clan leaders.
“He admitted that he will make the same confession before the High court in Kampala where he is being prosecuted to allow him to enter a plea bargain,” a source said.
Under the ultimate Acholi tradition justice system of Mato Oput, the accused person must admit his/her mistake through a meaningful confession and must also accept to pay reparations for the damages caused.
Ambrose Olaa, the prime minister of Acholi Cultural Institution confirmed the reconciliation meeting. He said the exercise was conducted at Ker Kwaro Acholi by the Ogom clan under the Payira chiefdom of Acholi ethnic group.
Mathew #Kanyamunyu, the prime suspect in the #AkenaShooting says he still can't comprehend "the stupidity, the foolishness, the evil that he exhibited"on November 12, 2016, when shot at Akena at close range after he accidentally 'scratched' his car at Lugogo 🎥 courtesy pic.twitter.com/9fx4ovBsXa— The Observer (@observerug) September 13, 2020
The trial of Kanyamunyu and his co-accused was earlier this year adjourned indefinitely by presiding judge Stephen Mubiru, the Gulu resident judge. However, Akena’s family members remain optimistic about the pursuit of traditional justice by Kanyamunyu’s family will not derail them from continuing with criminal proceedings already before the court.
Akena was born on November 29, 1983 in Gandyang town, Kitgum district. Akena’s father is Eng Francis Xavier Omona and his mother Suzan Omona Tiperu. He has been fifth in the family of seven children.
Akena attended Uganda Martyrs Centenary School Kitgum from 1992 to 1998. From 1999 to 2002, he attended St Mary’s Seminary – Lacor Gulu, where he attained his ordinary level certificate (UCE), and then sat his A-level in 2004 at St Joseph’s College –Layibi, Gulu.
In 2008, he attended Gulu University where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in public administration. In 2012, he acquired a certificate in administrative law from LDC.
In 2013, he obtained a professional certificate in child protection from Makerere University, and in 2014 he got a postgraduate diploma in project planning from Uganda Management Institute (UMI).
In 2008-2009, he was appointed project assistant officer for Canadian Physician for Aid Relief in Gulu. In 2009-2011, he was appointed to community development officer in Pader district local government.
In 2011-2012, he was appointed senior program officer for Avis Foundation in Gulu and in 2013, he was promoted to senior project officer –child protection and legal services at Avis Foundation in Gulu.
In 2014, he worked with Danish Refugee Council –Adjumani as a protection officer. At the time of his death, he was working with ACODEV as a child protection specialist under a USAID project.