President Museveni has protested what he termed as lenient, the life sentence handed over to a Local Defence Unit personnel who was last month convicted of killing a 65-year-old man.
The UPDF 5thdivision Court Martial sitting at Kamdini Primary School in Oyam district last month sentenced Pte. Jolly Thomas Opoka, a Local Defence Unit personnel to life imprisonment after being convicted on his own plea of guilty for killing 65-year-old Francis Ogwang.
Speaking at a function by the Anti-Corruption Unit at State House in Entebbe on Wednesday, Museveni said lenient punishments to offenders are making the public lose trust in courts of law, citing the Oyam incident by the army court.
“I have seen the court martial give an LDU personnel that killed people in Kamdini life sentence. We don’t know life sentence. For us, when you kill, you die. That is our concept of justice as Africans,”Museveni said.
Opoka was arraigned before the army court in July together with Pte Felix Okumu, both LDU personnel and their operations commander, Lance Corporal Geoffrey Ogwang (UPDF) and charged with murder for beating a 65 year old man to death during an operation to enforce the presidential directives on curfew during the Coronavirus lockdown.
Witnesses told court that on the fateful day, the deceased was looking for food before LDU personnel arrested and stabbed him with a gun bayonet and the deceased bled so much.
He later died after losing a lot of blood.
The army court subsequently sentenced Opoka to life imprisonment, whereas Pt.Felix Okumu was sentenced to 40 years and their operations commander, Lance Corporal Geoffrey Ogwang was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.
Speaking on Wednesday, Museveni said he was not happy with the life sentence handed to Opoka arguing that it is too lenient.
“The life sentence is calculated in such a way, that after some years if the convict has shown good conduct, he could be released. Death must be answered with death,” he said.
President Museveni has in the past few years advocated for the return of the death sentence for people convicted of murder.
“You may commit a crime, carelessly taking away the lives of others; however, you will also lose your own life. We need to make this clear to the courts. It must be an eye for eye,” Museveni said last year.
Whereas many advocate for the death sentence for murder convicts, life sentence advocates say death is not a punishment and that the same would not give chance to the convict to reform and become a good person in society.