Kampala Capital City Hall Court has remanded 62-year-old Muhammuddu Iddi Zingo alias Taata Medi to Luzira prison on charges of aggravated defilement of his three granddaughters.
Zingo who is alleged to have defiled and infected the minors aged three, six and nine with HIV on Wednesday was arraigned before court presided over by Grade One Magistrate Jane Tibagozenka for plea taking.
The Court has heard that between March 2020 and 2022, Zingo a resident of Namuli zone in Bukoto Kampala Central unlawfully performed sexual acts with the three girls well knowing that he is HIV positive.
In a separate file, prosecution also alleges that on March 25, 2023, he unlawfully performed sexual acts with a three-year-old girl.
Zingo however has not been allowed to say anything to the charges read against him on grounds that the City Hall Magistrate doesn’t have the powers to try the case of aggravated defilement because it is capital in nature.
The Magistrate has informed him that such charges can be tried by the High Court which has the jurisdiction also to grant him bail if he so wishes to apply for it.
“This court has no jurisdiction to hear this matter being capital in nature,” Ms Tibagozenka said.
She then remanded him to Luzira prison until April 26th 2023 as investigations continue.
“You can apply for bail, if you so wish, before the High Court that is seized with powers to try capital offences,” she added, before adjourning the case to April 25 for mention.
In an interview, the mother of the three-year-old, who requested to speak on condition of anonymity, said she reported to Kira Road Police after noticing changes in her child’s movement.
“I always leave my daughter at my mother’s house every day as I go to work because I have nowhere to leave her and my mother shares the compound with the suspect, who is her brother,” she said.
The mother said she always comes back with dates which they normally eat while breaking their fast late in the evening.
She further claimed that on a fateful day, the suspect lured her daughter into his house, promising to give her more dates and then defiled her.
The mother also noted that her three-year-old daughter was put on Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for six months while other victims did not get a chance to be taken to the hospital early since they decided to keep quiet.
What son says
However, one of the accused’s sons, who also preferred to speak on condition of anonymity, said his father was being victimised due to a family land wrangle.
He said the piece of land on which their family house stands was given to them by their late grandfather who cautioned them never to sell it.
“At the time of dividing among themselves, my father (Zingo) was not around and when he came back, he found part of his land was used as the family’s burial grounds and they did not want him to use the remaining vacant part,” he said.
He added that his father owns a company that takes care of vulnerable children of whom the alleged defilement victims are part and that he was surprised that they had turned against him.
The Penal Code Act provides for a maximum sentence of death on charges of aggravated defilement.
The Annual Crime Report of Police released a month ago showed that in 2022 over 8,960 cases of defilement were reported to police countrywide compared to 10,653 cases reported in 2021.