KAMPALA – Mbale Resident Judge Susan Okalany has petitioned the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and President Museveni, seeking protection from what she describes as a mafia in Bukedea District led by powerful area Woman Member of Parliament Anita Among that is after her life.
In a petition dated October 28, 2019, Justice Okalany, through her lawyers, claims that the mafia has also compromised the Bukedea district police leadership in seeking to frustrate the search for justice.
The judge claims that the conflict stems from her intervention in the wrangle over the management of Bukedea Cattle Market.
According to the petition, the mafia using one Isaac Epilo has refused to relinquish the tender of the management of the cattle market despite the fact that their contract was terminated by Bukedea Town Council. The petition says the mafia has also assaulted all officials and threatened the life of Justice Okalany for listening to the case of the aggrieved in the matter.
The lawyers in the petition claim that on Monday, 16th October 2019, Bukedea Town Council officials, who included Justice Okalany’s cousin Charles Obonyo and Dr. Nelson Mafabi, a Veterinary officer, were brutally attacked by a group of people reportedly under the command of Epilo at Bukedea Cattle Market.
“The victims of the attack sustained grievous injuries and one of them was reportedly robbed. They are receiving medical attention and cases of aggravated robbery vide BKD CRB 289/2019, assault (BKD CRB 295/2019) and (BKD CRB 289/2019) as well as doing grievous harm (BKD CRB 291/2019), were reported,” the petition reads in part.
The petition adds that attempts to contact the area DPC were futile as he intentionally kept away from the district, ostensibly since he was bought.
“Weeks after the incident, no suspect had been arraigned, prompting our client to contact the IGP to intervene, having received information that the Bukedea police, as well as the office of the Regional Police Commander (Soroti) who are alleged to have been compromised by a woman politician, would not produce the suspects in court. The IGP dispatched Police Standards Unit officers who conducted investigations about the complaint made to the IGP. Subsequently, some suspects were arrested, charged and remanded at Soroti prison,” the petition reads in part.
Justice Okalany adds that since the suspects were remanded, the mafia group has been sending her death threats, warning that she should get off the case of the Town Council offices who were assaulted.
“Our client informs us that the brutality with which the suspects hacked and beat up their victims was extreme. In fact, the assailants before their arrest reportedly went around boasting that they are “untouchable” since they had the backing of the said powerful woman politician. They have not shown any remorse for their brutal acts of hacking victims with deadly weapons. Indeed they have been telling whoever cares to listen, that the charges will be withdrawn, or at worst, the one of aggravated robbery will be reduced to simple robbery, to pave way for them to apply for and be released on bail by the Magistrates’ court,” she says in her petition.
“The said Isaac Epilo before his arrest threatened to march naked to the home of our client if she did not stop her pursuit for justice for the market assault victims. He said this in the presence of some of our client’s family members and relatives. Isaac Epilo has sworn even while in custody that as soon as he is released, he will harm our client for ‘stepping in the tail of a snake’,” the petition adds.
The lawyers adds that the judge has become a key target of this mafia “for the simple reasons that she has helped her cousin get medical treatment and taken him to her home for protection, (lest they could finish him off to destroy evidence as they have threatened to do) and for advocating for justice for all the victims of the market incident”.
“Furthermore, our client has also received information to the effect that an assassin has already been hired to kill her and others named, who seem to be sympathetic to the victims of the incident mentioned above. Indeed, several people who have heard the threats have told our client to take extra precaution. Our client informed us that she has raised this issue informally with you as well as the IGP. We are simply putting it on record. Our client additionally informs us that through the efforts of Amojong Acham Teddy, the oppressed and vanquished people of Bukedea heard about the charging and remanding of the notorious Isaac Epilo and others, they have invaded her with several pending criminal complaints reported against the said Isaac Epilo and others but have stalled because of interference by the area woman MP as you will see the list of cases below,” the petition adds.
The lawyers claim that the mafia has been behind several crimes in the district, including the murder by hacking of a one Emukunyu Olupot Grace in Kongatunya Village, the illegal eviction of hundreds of families in Amujeju Village, Malera Kabarwa Sub County, Bukedea District and theft of 55 heads of cattle on 20/3/2013.
“Our client’s life is threatened for the first time, by some of the outlaws who have been apprehended. One key suspect still at large, a one Opolot Brigadier has been seen by witnesses being escorted by armed guards,” the petition reads.
“It is against this background that we make the following requests humbly: (i) You call for all the case files mentioned above and direct thorough investigations so that the oppressed and vanquished complainants can see justice. (ii) You disregard the plea made to you to reduce the charge of aggravated robbery to simple robbery just for the sole purpose of facilitating the suspects charged and remanded to get bail as this would tantamount to perversion of justice. (iii) You direct competent officers of integrity to investigate all the stalled criminal complaints to completion,” the petition.
Among is a long-time member of the Opposition FDC party, who ran for the Bukedea seat in 2016 as an independent candidate, emerging triumphant. She was recently hailed by President Yoweri Museveni for developing her constituency. While opening up her community radio in Bukedea in April this year, the President urged other leaders to emulate Among to change the status quo of their people.