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Remembering The Late Joan Kagezi

According to President Museveni, before her death, the late Kagezi apparently first got threats from some terrorists who sent her messages that if she did not stop prosecuting them seriously, they would harm her.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has commended the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) for taking the lead in remembering the late State Prosecutor, Joan Kagezi.

“When you organise these annual lectures in memory of Joan, you are creating a culture of gratitude to the people who serve and sacrifice. It is not good for the country to have a culture of forgetting, somebody has died, you forget about him or her ,so it’s very good that you organise these annual lectures,” he said.

The President made the remarks today during the 7th Joan Kagezi Memorial Lecture at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds.

The lecture serves as a platform to honour the life and work of the late Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Kagezi who was shot dead in her vehicle in the presence of her children on the evening of March 30, 2015 in Kiwatule, a Kampala City suburb.

DPP Jane Adobo presents a trophy to President Museveni as an award during the 7th Joan Kagezi memorial lecture at Kololo on. Thursday April 25. PPU Photo

According to President Museveni, before her death, the late Kagezi apparently first got threats from some terrorists who sent her messages that if she did not stop prosecuting them seriously, they would harm her.

“That is what I was told and for her she said I cannot compromise…..That is what corrupt people do, they want to take over the investigative part of the state and the adjudicating part of the state. You compromise the CID, the DPP and the judiciary, then you are immune, you have impunity, you end up like some countries in South America where a person can be killed and nothing can be done. Why? Because the police were infiltrated by the criminals; the judiciary and the prosecution are infiltrated. Therefore, what the terrorists were trying to do here was exactly that,” the President asserted.

He further called for the need for the DPP to audit her group which was handling the 2010 bombing case because they might have been compromised.

“I think some had been talked to and had prosecuted carefully but Joan refused. Unfortunately, we didn’t know about this, that is why she was killed. Now the killers, miscalculated and this is exactly what happened in the history of Uganda in the 1960s when we were telling the political leaders of that time that please let us talk about this, they didn’t listen and, in the end, we had to sort out issues like the way we did which was absolutely unnecessary. In this case the killers of Kagezi thought they were smart; I know the Chief Justice has told us to call them suspects. Now these suspects thought they were smart, but they miscalculated, we have them and many of those who sent them from Congo are dead, we have killed them,” the President said.

DPP Adobo addressing guests. PPU Photo

“Joan Kagezi lives on because we remember her because dying; all of us are going to die, but the question is how do you die? Do you die doing a good thing or a bad thing? We are remembering Joan because she stood for the truth. Some of those who killed her are already dead because we have killed them in Congo. The problem with us, if you are still armed, we kill you even if you are still a suspect. So, if you want to be a good suspect, come out and surrender. If you come out and surrender from the forests in Congo, then they will have the temporary status of suspects which the law gives them,” he added.

On the other hand, President Museveni urged that in order to strengthen the country’s culture of remembering the people who die on the course of duty, stakeholders should support the families of the victims in order to promote the spirit of patriotism.

“What can support cowardice is for somebody to say that if I die, my family will be forgotten. I still have young children. Let me be careful so that I don’t die and they suffer. That means you and me who survive must look after the families of those who die struggling for justice,” he said.

The President also thanked the children of the late Kagezi for using the support the government gave them to succeed in their studies.

Late Joan Kagezi’s children (L) attending the 7th Joan Kagezi memorial lecture at Kololo on. Thursday. PPU Photo

“When we came from the bush, we built army schools where the children of soldiers and the veterans study free and the idea was those people, some are still serving and some died, but let the institution look after the children of those who died and if you don’t do that, you are undermining the patriotism of the people and I’m glad that we looked after the children of Kagezi. She died as a freedom fighter.”

President Museveni also assured Ugandans that the government has the suspects accused of killing the late prosecutor in custody.

On the other hand, the Director of the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) , AIGP Tom Magambo informed the President that they have good leads of the people who paid the suspects to murder Ms. Kagezi.

“Your Excellency, I want to assure you that we have good leads on the people who paid these people and sent them and Your Excellency, we are going to brief you. We now know them,” AIGP Magambo said, while responding to President Museveni’s inquiry on whether the CID now knows the people who sent the suspects.

Some of the guests attending the 7th Joan Kagezi memorial lecture at Kololo on. Thursday. PPU Photo

“I was participating in the hunt of these people but I remember these people saying that they were sent by some people. Have you got those people who sent them; the suspects?” the President inquired.

President Museveni also cautioned security agencies against beating suspects because they may confess in order to avoid the action being taken against them.

“In fact in that case you end up not following the real culprit and go for this person who has just said “I’m the one” just because he is about to die,” he said.

At the same event, the President further assured the state prosecutors that the government had started solving their welfare issues.

“Those who used to say that working for the government as a lawyer has no benefits, they will find in future that they missed the bus.”

The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Anita Among said they had gathered to celebrate the late Kagezi who was a great lady and a servant of Uganda.

“She paid an ultimate price while diligently serving this country which she called her home. Joan Kagezi was one of the committed prosecutors whose dedication was cut short on 30th of March, 2015. Today we gather here to remember the legacy that Joan left behind and to inspire and influence the cause of justice of our nation which Your Excellency has led diligently and we appreciate you,” the Speaker said.

The Chief Justice, His Lordship, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo thanked the DPP for organising the institutional memorial of which the late Kagezi deserves profoundly.

“I was the trial judge in the 2010 bombing case which the late Kagezi was handling as the prosecutor. I’m very glad to hear that some people have been arrested in her murder but let me make it very clear that the ones arrested are not the killers of Joan Kagezi but they are suspects; the people whose cases are in the courts of law and they are entitled to the presumption of innocence. the due process will be followed,” Justice Dollo said.

Some of the guests attending the 7th Joan Kagezi memorial lecture at Kololo on Thursday listening to President Museveni’s address. PPU Photo

“Your Excellency, the killing of Joan Kagezi brings out the vail that we have in our modern day of life. In the African setting, it is unthinkable to take the women’s life even in war,” he added.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms. Jane Frances Abodo described the late Joan Kagezi as an ideal prosecutor who had the passion for the administration of justice.

She said the late Kagezi died while in the line of duty and she handled high profile cases in the country such as that of Aggrey Kiyingi, Akbar Godi, among others.

“She was instrumental in the setting up of the International Crimes Division of the Office of the DPP. As you may recall Your Excellency, by the time she was gunned down, she was handling the 2010 Kampala bombing case. It is against this Background, that we are meeting here to honour the life and work of Joan Kagezi,” Ms. Abodo noted.

“This year’s memorial lecture is more significant to us because on the 6th November 2023, the four suspects linked to the brutal murder of Joan were arraigned before Court. We thank you, Your Excellency, for your tireless efforts and guidance in ensuring that these suspects were arrested. Through Your Excellency the DPP takes this opportunity to thank the security agencies for their valuable assistance in conducting the investigations in Joan’s case.”

President Museveni poses for a photo with some of the prosecutors during the Joan Kagezi memorial at Kololo on Thursday. PPU photo
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