By Ahmed Gita
The Former Prime Minister Tooro Kingdom John Sanyu Katuramu Saturday arrived at his home after walking to freedom from Luzira Prisons where he was serving a death sentence.
Upon being released, Katuramu was received by his son Job Katuramu on Saturday and later driven to his home in Mbuya.
As the former premier was being released, King Oyo was celebrating his 26th Coronation anniversary at his palace in Fort Portal City. When Katuramu was convicted, King Oyo was 7 years old.
Katuramu was convicted and sentenced to death in 1999, for masterminding the murder of the then Tooro Prince Patrick Happy Kijanangoma and a guard, Stephen Kaganda. The incident occurred at Palace View Bar Hotel in Fort Portal town.
Patrick Kwezi, who was convicted for transmitting the cash to the killers and Alex Twinomugisha, a former UPDF kadogo who pulled the trigger were also convicted.
Katuramu has unsuccessfully appealed against the conviction in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. Since then, there have been several attempts to have Katuramu released.
In 2016, President Yoweri Museveni hinted that he could pardon Katuramu.
The demand for parole to Katuramu dominated Museveni’s campaign rally at the Boma grounds in Fort Portal. Several National Resistance Movement (NRM) party supporters turned up at the campaign rally carrying big posters of Katuramu and asking the president to pardon him.
The posters were in-scripted with the words; “Nitusaba Otwijuke Osasire Omwana Waitu Katuramu John” literally meaning, we pray you to remember us and pardon our son Katuramu John.” masterminds of the campaign also chorused the name Katuramu during Museveni’s address to the gathering.
In response, Museveni said that Katuramu’s fate was not supposed to be discussed in a public place.
Museveni however said that Katuramu’s wife had approached him several times pleading for a pardon. Museveni told the gathering that he advised Katuramu’s wife to first seek reconciliation and forgiveness with Kijanagoma’s family.
He added that releasing Katuramu without reconciliation would leave Kijjanangoma’s family deeply wounded.
“I have no problem pardoning Katuramu. I advised Katuramu’s wife to sit down with the deceased’s family and seek reconciliation. If they accept, then I have no problem Katuramu being a free man,” Museveni said then.
In 2018, Prince David Kijanangoma, the late Happy Kijanangoma’s younger brother said that they had been approached by Katuramu’s family asking for forgiveness. Kijanangoma said that when they visited Katuramu at Luzira Prison, he was remorseful for the crime he committed.
According to Prince Happy Kijanangoma, a family decision was later reached to forgive Katuramu.