Kanyamunyu’s original murder charge was reduced to manslaughter by the director of public prosecutions (DPP) after a plea bargaining session held at the High court criminal division in Kampala today.
Kanyamunyu who was facing murder charges alongside his Burundian girlfriend Cynthia Munwangari, recently went for a traditional ritual known as Mato Oput, an Acholi term that means “to drink a bitter portion made from the leaves of the ‘oput’ tree” making his case rather interesting and challenging for his lawyers.
In this ceremony held at the Ker Kwaro Acholi (Acholi chiefdom) Kanyamunyu reportedly admitted to killing the deceased and was asked to pay ten cows and three goats by the elders in Acholi.
He had previously pleaded not guilty before the trial judge in Kampala. Last week, Kanyamunyu told court that his lawyers Caleb Alaka, McDusman Kabega and Evans Ochieng abandoned him after they failed to pick or return calls.
Now according to his new lawyer Peter Kabatsi, the DPP reduced Kanyamunyu's murder charge to manslaughter and an amended charge sheet has been presented to court in which Kanyamunyu has pleaded guilty to the lesser manslaughter.
“Therefore Kanyamunyu has accepted before court that on the 12th November 2016 at Kampala Jinja highway, he unlawfully caused the death of Kenneth Akena. On the fateful day, Kanyamunyu and Akena got involved in a motor accident which resulted into a scuffle and Kanyamunyu shot Akena in the chest,” Kabatsi says.
Justice Stephen Mubiru has said that since Kanyamunyu is a first-time offender and also took the victim to the hospital, he won’t get life sentence and court has accepted his bargain of six years imprisonment. Mubiru says that court has reduced the sentence by 11 months, meaning he is to serve 5 years.
He has been advised to appeal the sentence if he considers it harsh.
“Kanyamunyu is aged 43 years and he is a first offender, after shooting him, he realised the gravity of his actions and rushed the deceased to hospital where he told the doctors what had happened and attempted to save his life," said justice Mubiru.
The DPP in mitigation says Akena's death caused a lot of trauma to the family and the unrecovered gun could be used in the commission of other offences adding that the offence is grave and carries a maximum of life imprisonment.
The DPP has also withdrawn murder charges against Kanyamunyu’s girlfriend Munwangari according to Kabatsi.