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Akena Murder: Kanyamunyu released from jail after three years

The Uganda Prisons Service has confirmed that Kampala businessman Matthew Kanyamunyu has been released from prison after serving his sentence for shooting dead child rights activist, Kenneth Akena in 2016.

Kanyamunyu who was sentenced to five years and one month in jail was released Friday morning, according to Prisons spokesperson, Mr Frank Baine. This means he has served three years and five months upon making his earliest period of discharge.

“He is being integrated into society after serving his punishment. We are optimistic that he will not re-offend,” Mr Baine said, adding that Kanyamunyu was discharged like any other prisoner.

Case Background

Kanyamunyu was sentenced to prison for manslaughter on November 12, 2020, after pleading guilty. The DPP withdrew murder charges against his girlfriend Cynthia Munwangari who was in his company at the time the offence was committed.

Initially, he was charged with murder and he denied the charges. But later as the trial progressed, and with growing evidence, a twist happened when Kanyamunyu changed his plea from “not guilty” to “guilty,” which accelerated the disposal of the case.

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Mr Kanyamunyu had secretly and voluntarily approached the Acholi cultural leadership and elders to reconcile with his victim’s family. He voluntarily pleaded guilty under the traditional justice mechanism mato-oput.

He proceeded to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and requested to remove his name from the criminal trial to enable him to complete the justice process under the mato-oput process. He also requested for plea bargaining.

The DPP, Justice Jane Frances Abodo, and trial judge Stephen Mubiru were opposed to postponing the trial but were open to alternative dispute resolution.

Mr Kanyamunyu opted to embrace plea bargaining with the DPP lessening the murder charge to manslaughter on account that Kanyamunyu did not have prior intention to kill Akena but rather the homicide was prompted by an instant brawl between the duo.

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His girlfriend and co-accused then, Ms Cynthia Munwangari, saw the same charges dropped altogether and she was freed.

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