The Deputy Chief Justice has questioned the usefulness the death penalty after attending the graduation ceremony of a former Death Row inmate inside prison.

Justice Owiny Dollo attended the party for Susan Kigula at Luzira Maximum security prison in Kampala this week and came out wondering if having the death penalty is after all something to be proud of.

Dollo told the BBC:”When you attend such a function even as a judicial officer you begin questioning whether we need a death penalty in this country. You question because a person who is on the wrong side of the law today could be a person of great influence tomorrow.”

Justice Owiny Dollo with Susan Kigula at her graduation party this week

Susan Kigula was convicted of murder when she was 21 years old and sentenced to death. While serving her sentence and awaiting execution, she studied for a law degree and graduated this week.

It was while on death row that she was convinced to study law. She told the BBC: “We had no classes – I was studying under a tree. I weathered the sun, I weathered the rain. Some of my fellow inmates and some of the staff did not understand why a death row inmate would study law but it was because of the determination, the commitment, the perseverance and hardwork that I put in because I had set a goal to change my life for better.”

Kigula successfully challenged her sentence in a landmark ruling and now wants the death penalty to be abolished: She said: “I want people to know that we do not need a death sentence in our country. Had I been executed I would not be here sharing my story with you”.

Kigula was convicted of the murder of her husband Constantine Sseremba on July 9, 2000. A vital piece of testimony came from her stepson, three years old at the time of the murder; he said he had witnessed Kigula, together with her house maid, Nansamba Patience, cutting his father’s throat with a brand new panga, she had brought home the previous evening and hid under the bed.
In September 2002, Susan was sentenced to death and went to Luzira to await her fate. But Susan refused to sit back and wait for her execution. She fought back and led a petition in the Supreme Court.
The case; “Susan Kigula and 417 Others vs Attorney General” featured petitioners all on death row in an attempt to have capital punishment declared unconstitutional and abolished. Abolition of the death penalty failed. But they won partial victory.
The first victory: The Judges ruled that the death sentence should not be mandatory. And two: they ruled that the condemned person should not be kept on death row indefinitely, therefore, if a convict is not executed within three years, the sentence is automatically turned into life imprisonment.
Kigula has been out of prison since 2016.


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12 thoughts on “Top Judge Questions The Death Penalty

  1. She deserves to die. She Intentionally planned and killed her husband. It was not man slaughter or something done in self defense. Studying does not make her innocent. Uganda is full of unemployed people, we have enough out there who can make a contribution. So who murder others like her should pay a price in the same currency. After all, we are over populated and weeding out such people is very ok.

  2. Pingback: Main questions of the judge The death penalty – Red Pepper Uganda – TECH2
  3. Rubbish she ll kill again now she studied law she can defend herself what a crap she is enjoying just 15years for killing a hasband she deserve. Death raw I don’t care even if she became who.

  4. She should have faced the full extent of the law but somehow lackadaisical behavior on some one in the prison saved her.
    Her law degree will benefit similar characters like her. She should die.

  5. I would not support Death penalty because it does not deter the culprit nor does it benefit the community. However there is a worry especially in Uganda that when such an in-mate becomes an expert of law might practice it negatively by providing toxic legal education, defense and or any empowerment to the criminals in the society so that the criminals become resistant and evasive to the policing and judicial systems that are already corrupt! A unique curriculum for such in-mates could majorly focus on courses that are mind reforming and skill-based, and avoid those courses that might expose them to more tricks of criminality. I think courses such as Counseling and psychology, theology could transform themselves and their colleagues to leave a further responsible lives, While skill-based ones such as Medicine could make them save many lives out there to “compensate” what they killed!!!!!!

    1. I’m sorry to be harsh but your reasoning is clearly flawed.How can death sentence not deter the culprit is she is killed? We have many like Kanyankole who come out and do it again. Also, as one of the comments put, Uganda is full of people who can deliver, so the community has nothing much to lose but more to gain if such put are done away with. I want to remind you that uganda is a poor country and public resources spent on training such murders on courses you suggested can be better spent training good people or streets kids to learn some technical skills.

  6. Where is the world heading? its God who Gives and rests life , May his name be lifted on high

    1. She should be hanged. Human beings play a big role in preserving and protecting lives. You slunder all that and have no good means to prevent and investigate crime, gangsters take over and kill good people.

  7. change is dynamic, prison is for reformation and a very dope place to reflect on past mistakes so its better to abolish the death sentence since sentencing another person to death doesn’t solve the problem

  8. How come, there are many more people whoc committed a similar crime and are very much in Luzira, did her lwa Course convince the Judge to let her off the Nook, she deserves exactly what she did to her Husband, and what will she tell her Son, that she killed his father accidentally when the Boy remmbers having seen her hide a apanger under the Bed!

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