Uganda:Man murders father-in-law for failing to return bride price

Published by Daily Monitor
On 25 September 2016 saa 01:03
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Eledu, a shopkeeper at Enagus Trading Centre in Kamunda Sub county, Soroti District, went with four cows, two goats and Shs240,000 as bride price.

Soroti. In July 2012, Margaret Anjawao introduced her fiancé, Ambrose Eledu, to her parents, Charles Asili, 51, and Stella Amuge in a pompous customary wedding.

Eledu, a shopkeeper at Enagus Trading Centre in Kamunda Sub county, Soroti District, went with four cows, two goats and Shs240,000 as bride price.

Anjawao’s relatives were satisfied with the bride price and handed over their daughter to start marriage life.

Barely a month into the marriage, cracks were already visible. Anjawao, who had already delivered a baby girl, claimed her husband was having an extramarital affair, an allegation Eledu consistently denied.

In the second month, Anjawao said she could not be trapped in a love triangle.

Without informing her husband, she picked her baby, packed her belongings and left Eledu’s home. She camped at her brother’s home several miles away.

Eledu returned to an empty house. He tried to lure his wife back but in vain, which only got him angry and he started making threats on Anjawao’s life.

Upon realising the gravity of the threats, Anjawao’s shifted from her brother’s home to her grandmother’s.

Eledu’s efforts to establish whether his wife was still at his brother-in-law’s home were unfruitful. He turned to his father-in-law, demanding the return of all the items he gave the family as bride price since their daughter had failed to meet the marriage terms.
Asili’s family members told Eledu that they had already slaughtered the animals and spent the money, so they were not in position to return the bride price.

Eledu treated the family’s explanation as rejection and continued pestering his in-laws to refund the bride price to an extent that the family felt threatened.

Asili reported the matter to the local council authorities, citing threats on his life. The authorities didn’t delve into the details since the two parties had solved the matter.
On Christmas of 2012, after having supper, Asili’s family retired to bed. At midnight, some people riding a boda boda stopped in his compound and one walked to his doorstep.
A man, who claimed to be one of his relatives, had brought coffee beans saying he was selling them cheaply. Asili left his wife in bed and opened the door to tend to the client.
Amuge later told police that she heard a bang followed by a sound of someone hitting the door. It was followed by another deafening sound.
“The shooter told him that ‘I am here to kill you today,” Asili’s widow recalled.
She ran to the door to see what had happened only to find her husband struggling to get up from the ground where he had fallen.
Amuge made an alarm that sent the people at the doorstep fleeing on their motorcycle.

Father-in-law shot

She examined her husband and found that he had been shot and was bleeding profusely. She made another alarm that attracted local council officials and residents.
The unconscious Asili was taken to Soroti Regional Referral Hospital as the village chairman, Mr George Ekau, rushed to Kamunda Police Station to report the matter.
Police officers carried out preliminary investigations and picked cartridges and fingerprints from the crime scene.

Relatives and friends rushed to the hospital to find out Asili’s health condition. Eledu too visited and offered Shs50,000 to buy drugs for the patient.

The investigating officer, Assistant Inspector of Police, Martin Enyaku, was told that Asili was on his death bed so he sent detectives to the hospital to collect any information from him.

The next day, Asili gained some energy to talk. He told police detectives that he had seen his son-in-law at his doorstep before he was shot.

No sooner had he made the declaration than he died. After obtaining a dying declaration, police mounted a search for Eledu.

He was later on seen riding a motorcycle in Soroti Town. Police were called in and he was arrested. Eledu denied killing his father-in-law, saying they had long resolved their misunderstanding.

Police detectives asked him where he was on the fateful day to which Eledu said he was at his shop. Unconvinced, police searched Eledu’s home hoping to find clues.
It was at Eledu’s home that the officers made a shocking discovery. They picked an army uniform, a motorcycle and a bullet. Eledu could not explain how government property ended up in his house.

Despite the discovery, the detectives didn’t have enough evidence that could prove that Eledu was not at home when the incident happened.

He had neither left fingerprints at the scene nor was the area bright enough for the victim to see the attackers. Asili’s widow had told the police that everything happened when she was in her bedroom, so she only heard sound. Worse still, the victim had died.

Detectives turned to records and technology. They secured a court order and made print-outs of Eledu’s mobile phone.

The results were clear-cut. He had been at the scene for more than three hours and left the area at the same time when the shooting had stopped. Detectives had managed to place Eledu at the scene, which was the most important ingredient needed to prosecute the murder suspects.

The detectives also checked records of ownership of the motorcycle and it was found to be in another person’s name. Soon, the owner of the motorcycle visited the police station with a different story.

The owner said Eledu had rented the motorcycle from him.

However, police were unable to get identities of the new cyclist. Eledu’s defence had been left with glaring gaps.

Without anywhere to hide, he made a confession that he made a half payment of Shs15,000 to another rider to take him to Asili’s home on the fateful night.

Eledu said he promised the rider more money if the mission was successful. In the plan, the duo came up with an alternative plan that in case the deceased does not open the door where he was to be shot dead, they were to pour petrol on the house to burn Asili and his family.

Eledu said when Asili opened the door and they shot him, they thought they had killed him that is why they left the scene.

Asked about the whereabouts of the gun used in the robbery, Eledu told detectives that the motorcycle rider remained with the gun.

Mr Enyaku recorded Eledu’s charge and caution statement. The hunt for his accomplice has up today not yielded results. State attorneys sanctioned a murder charge against him and he was later taken to court.

At the High Court, Eledu denied the charges. State prosecutor provided evidence showing how Eledu had a motive to kill Asili.

The State prosecutors said Eledu had earlier threatened to kill the deceased and his daughter if they had not refunded his bride price.7

The State presented a charge and caution statement that Eledu had made a confession before police officers. Although Eledu claimed he made the statement under duress, Justice Henrietta Walayo believed it.

The presentation of mobile phone printouts that put Eledu at the scene was the last blow.

In her judgment, Justice Walayo said she was satisfied that the State had proved that Eledu killed Asili.

On April 13, 2016, the court sentenced Eledu to 36 years and eight months in prison for murdering Asili.

Justice Walayo said the manner in which the old man lost his life was gruesome and the deceased died in pain. She said the appropriate sentence was 32 years.

The judgment was delivered in an open court and the convict was sentenced to serve his jail term in Soroti prison. The period on remand was also considered.

The numbers


The number of years Eledu was given to serve in jail for murdering his father-in-law.

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Asili is admitted to hospital where detectives collect more information on the matter.