Uganda: Man Sentenced to Community Service for Attempting to Inherit His Uncle's Wife

19 September 2019

A court has sentenced a 29-year-old man to one month of community service for forcibly attempting to inherit his uncle's wife.

Kitgum Grade One Magistrate Paul Obuya ruled that prosecution had proved that Denis Omara attempted to force Betty Aloyo, 34, into sex with the aim of making her his wife.

The community service will be done within the court premises for two hours daily.

Court heard that on May 15, while in Tangi Agoro Village, Labongo Amida Sub-county in Kitgum District, Omara sneaked into Ms Aloyo's house under the pretext of asking for bathing soap.

According to court documents, Ms Aloyo, who became suspicious of Omara's moves, quickly responded that she did not have any soap left in the house.

Prosecution adds that the accused then returned to his house only to come back with a machete and a knife, threatening to kill Ms Oloyo if she turned down his sexual advances.

This prompted Ms Oloyo to make an alarm that attracted the attention of residents, who reported the matter to the village leaders and police.

Magistrate Obuya, in his ruling, said basing on evidence from the three witnesses, Omara was guilty and deserved to be punished.

However, because he had been very remorseful throughout the trial, on top of being on remand for four months, the magistrate said a one-month sentence of community work is deterrent enough.

Mr Obuya warned Omara to refrain from making any further advances on his late uncle's wife, warning of hasher punishments.

Police had earlier preferred against the accused a case of threatening violence and threatening to cause body harm.

Ms Flavia Acheng, a mobile money agent in Kitgum Town, described the sentence as lenient considering the nature of the crime.

"To me, a three-year jail sentence would have sent a signal to others who would want to commit the same crime," she said

Mr Jackson Amone, a boda boda rider, said the ruling was fair.

"But he must learn how to negotiate for a wife and not do it forcibly. It is archaic to use forceful means to ask for a relationship," he said.

Ms Proscovia Abalo, a hair dresser, said the ruling was lenient and one form of encouraging men to forcibly inherit widows. She asked for the review of the case.

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