Sunday, February 18, 2018

Teacher condemned to hang for killing Rukungiri headmistress

 

By Tom Malaba

Rukungiri District had recorded one of the worst grades in years. And this time round, the district performance did not only capture the attention of the locals but also the government through the Ministry of Education.

So the ministry resolved to dig out the source of problem, only to discover that several of its primary school teachers lacked proper academic papers to work as teachers.

The ministry then tasked the Rukungiri District authorities to take action.

Rukungiri District then decided to have all its primary school teachers present their academic papers for verification.

Unknown to both the ministry and the district was the underlying danger in what they were trying to address. Unfortunately, both did not debrief the teachers and made the verification exercise appear a district issue and not the work of an individual head teacher.

So Lydia Rutafururwa, the headmistress of Kitaziguruka Primary School, saw nothing wrong with undertaking the exercise and duly asked all her teachers to submit their papers.

 

Verification

Among those who submitted their papers for verification was Mr Job Mukasa, a Primary Three teacher.

It was somewhat curious that teacher Mukasa, a known non-Muganda, had a Kiganda name.

Teacher ‘Job Mukasa’ was born Henry Turyatemba of Munyeganyegye Village, Masya Parish in Nyakagyeme Sub-county, Rukungiri District.

To the district officials, it was a true representation of the extent of the problem that was causing poor Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) grades in the district.

Mr Henry Turyatemba, alias Mr Job Mukasa, had used the academic papers of a one Job Mukasa to get employment as a Mathematics teacher.

There was very little, teacher Mukasa could do as the district soon scrapped him off the payroll.

Married to two women, guilt and shame got the better of Turyatemba and he found headmistress Rutafururwa an easy target to blame for his plight.

Turyatemba then hatched a plan to revenge his dismissal.

Police Investigators, who handled the case, say on the morning of July 17, 2006, Turyatemba left his home, which was near Kitaziguruka Primary School, and went to Rukungiri Town where he bought a machete and bag.

He got the machete sharpened and proceeded to his second home.

The next day, Turyatemba went back and hid the bag behind some shops near the primary school to wait for the headmistress who was expected at the school that day.

“People near the shops, who had risen early to ready their children for school, saw Turyatemba steal some curious peeps, but brushed it off. But Turyatemba kept stealing glances at one direction and kept going back to check on his bag,” recalls the detective.

All along, Turyatemba was waiting for the sound of a motorcycle, which the headmistress was expected to be riding.

 

Attack

“He chose a spot where with a steep gradient, where the headmistress would need to engage another gear to ascend. It’s at that point that he attacked the headmistress, hacked her on the head and when she fell, he continued hacking her until the headmistress died,” the detective said.

Onlookers raised an alarm and people gathered, but there was none who could dare him since most of them were women, and the men were away in the garden.

The detective who handled the case said he was at Rukungiri Police Station when he heard police officers outside cocking their guns.

“When I peeped out, I saw a police officer threatening to shoot Turyatemba. I told them not to shoot him. Other people at the station had run away. I asked him what he was carrying and he told me: ‘I have finished what I wanted,’” the officer recalls.

Right behind was a huge crowd of people following Turyatemba to the police station.

The detective told Turyatemba to put down the machete and sit down behind the counter, which did.

Turyatemba sat behind the police counter and narrated to the police officer how he had killed the headmistress.

“I have finished killing the headmistress,” Turyatemba said when he was asked about the blood-stained machete.

The detective got other clothes from the store, gave them to Turyatemba and took away the blood-stained clothes that Turyatemba was wearing for DNA analysis.

The police carefully kept the blood-stained machete and the clothes and removed more blood from Turyatemba’s body.

“I had to preserve the blood using indirect sunrays so that its texture is not lost before proceeding to the scene of crime,” recalls the detective.

“My family is suffering because of this woman, my children are not studying because of this woman,” Turyatemba told the detective.

“It was not the [fault] of the woman but [of] the ministry policy. Later during investigations, we found that similar verifications had been done in other schools. I found that instead of Turyatemba’s papers beginning from primary to university, he only had a university degree, which was in the name of Job Mukasa,” the detective says.

Turyatemba did not set off from his home near the school because he would be asked where he was taking the machete. That’s why he set off from the home of his second wife, who was likely not to ask about the bag and the machete.

When giving the police his statement, Turyatemba explained how he had been discontinued from school.

“I asked him whether he was ready to put it in a statement. He said yes. So we went to visit the scene of crime with a doctor who examined the body at the scene,” the detective adds.

“It’s always important to examine the body at the scene of crime because you get a true picture of what happened.”

The body was removed and taken to the hospital mortuary.

“I worked the whole night. I asked him [Turyatemba] whether he would make the same statement to the magistrate and he accepted.

He told me: “I know what I did and I know why I did it. I am sorry I did it but I did it,” says the detective.

The detectives then took Turyatemba to Rukungiri Hospital where a doctor confirmed that he was of sound mind.

When taken before the magistrate, Turyatemba confessed to killing Rutafururwa before he was taken back to the station and locked up.

Turyatemba was later charged with murder and remanded to prison.

In May 2009, Justice Katutsi found Turyatemba guilty of intentionally killing headmistress Lydia Rutafururwa, the wife of Mr Henry Rutafururwa.

Turyatemba was sentenced to suffer death by hanging, and Justice Giduddu maintained the sentence during the resentencing in 2014.

Unfortunately, Turyatemba died of sickness in Upper Prison in Luzira before the sentence was carried out.

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