Dr. Mathew Kirabo has been handed a 30-year prison term by the Mukono High Court for the murder of his girlfriend, Desire Mirembe, despite the potential for a death sentence under the Penal Code Act.
Traditionally, Sections 188 and 189 of the Penal Code Act stipulate death as the sentence for murder convicts. However, recent trends have seen life imprisonment being favored over the mandatory death penalty.
Dr. Mathew Kirabo was convicted in absentia on May 30, 2022, by Mukono High Court Judge Henry Kawesa Isabirye. Kirabo was found guilty of murdering Mirembe, a student at Makerere University.
After a year in hiding, Kirabo was apprehended in Nairobi on September 13, 2023, by Interpol and subsequently extradited to Kampala on September 15.
Prosecution presented evidence alleging that following a dispute, Kirabo sedated and killed Mirembe in Lugazi, Buikwe district, disposing of her body in a sugarcane plantation in July 2015.
Judge Kaweesa ruled on the murder case, citing incriminating evidence presented by the prosecution. He affirmed that Kirabo orchestrated Mirembe’s murder, concluding that all elements of murder had been convincingly proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Despite the possibility of a more severe sentence, the court’s decision to hand down a 30-year prison term reflects the ongoing shift away from mandatory death penalties in certain murder cases. Kirabo’s conviction and sentencing mark a significant moment in Uganda’s evolving legal landscape concerning capital punishment for murder convictions.
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