By Anthony Wesaka and Cissy Makumbi
Kampala businessman, Matthew Kanyamunyu, braved a drizzle last Saturday afternoon to kneel before the Paramount Acholi cultural leader Rwot David Onen Acan II, in a bid to reconcile with the family of deceased child rights activist, Kenneth Akena, whose death in 2016 has been blamed on Kanyamunyu.
Mr Kanyamunyu willingly subjected himself to the Acholi traditional reconciliation process (traditional justice), dubbed “mato-oput”.
The process mainly involves the accused person acknowledging his/her wrong, confessing the same wrong before cultural leaders/elders and the family of the victims before compensating for the loss he or she caused.
“He (Kanyamunyu) was clear that he caused the death of Akena and that he was the one in the wrong when the accident happened and that when the late came out, a quarrel ensued which escalated and turned physical,” a source at the secret mato-oput meeting at paramount’s palace in Bar-Dege Division in Gulu City , told Daily Monitor yesterday.
“Kanyamunyu went on to say that when the quarrel had heated up, he pulled out his gun that accidentally released a bullet and ended Akena’s life, a day after the incident,” the source added.
However, Daily Monitor could not independently verify the alleged confessions by Kanyamunyu before the mato-oput meeting.
When Daily Monitor contacted Mr Kanyamunyu yesterday, he acknowledged he had a private meeting with the Acholi paramount chief at the weekend, but did not confirm or deny that he had admitted liability for Akena’s death.
“We had a private meeting with the paramount chief but unfortunately, it has gone viral on social media. I cannot comment about it now though at an appropriate time, I will say something about it,” Mr Kanyamunyu said.
Sources at the meeting in Gulu said Acholi cultural elders upon hearing Kanyamunyu’s remorsefulness, fined him 10 cows and five goats to atone for Akena’s death.
“This morning (yesterday morning), we are at stage two of mato-oput process with the last stage expected to be in the near future where the general public will be part at a function that involves prayers, which will be held at Akena’s family home,” the source said, but Daily Monitor could not independently verify this claim either.
Mr Kanyamunyu subjected himself to the mato-oput process presided over by a council of six elders.
His trial over Akena’s death was indefinitely suspended in February by Justice Stephen Mubiru. He is jointly charged with his girlfriend, Cynthia Munwangari. They are accused of murdering Akena on November 12, 2016, opposite Uganda Manufacturers Association in Lugogo, Kampala. They both denied the charges. The trial was halted after the prosecution’s 13th and the last witness had testified. The witness was only left to be cross-examined by the defence lawyer.