THE STORY OF IVAN KATONGOLE ‘JENUS’, ‘MAIN SUSPECT’ IN THE 2017 SERIAL MURDERS OF WOMEN IN ENTEBBE TOWN. PART ONE
On 3rd May, residents of Nansana West Zone were shocked to stumble upon the violated body of an unidentified woman. Police said she was strangled. By 25th July 2017, the body count in Nansana had risen to 8 women. All strangled.
On 7th June, residents of Abaita Ababiri in Entebbe town woke up to a grim discovery: the lifeless body of Nansubuga Goretti. She had been raped and strangled. Her private parts stuffed with a cassava stick. And the body was then dumped along Kasenyi road. By end of August 2027, 11 women had been murdered in similar style. Raped. Strangled. Cassava stems inserted in their privates.
Key among those victims was a one Rose Nakimuli, a hairdresser. Her decomposing body was recovered from a banana plantation behind Keba Inn at Kitala village in Katabi Town Council, Entebbe. Apparently, on the night of 24th July, she had been raped, strangled and her birth canal stuffed with a cassava stem.
By Sept 20, the victims had risen to 23 women. Latest victim? Sarah Nelima, a waitress at Friends Restaurant & Takeaway in Katabi. ”Afande Kaihura will camp here [until the perpetrators are found],” @Akasingye, then police spox, comforted the terrified residents.
But who were the killers? No body knew. Except that @PoliceUg had a clue: Ivan Katongole alias Jenus, a Nkumba resident.
Ivan, about 28 years then, was a prominent and wealthy businessman based at Kasenyi Landing Site in Katabi Town Council, Entebbe. He dealt in fish exports, particularly the lucrative fish maw (dried swim bladders/enuuni) which he exported to China. A kilogram of the delicacy retailed at about UGX 27 million ($8,000) as of January 2019, and earned Uganda about UGX 190B in 2018 alone.
On Sep. 7, Internal Affairs Minister Gen. Jeje Odongo announced that the regime had got its man. “Whereas the police initially treated the murders as isolated incidents, technical evidence and witnesses now point to one serial killer known as Ivan Katongole…”
“… he’s the mastermind. He contracts people and at times participates in the murder himself. Some suspects were found with forms [Ivan gave them] to enlist in Illuminati. Others have 999 (sign of Illuminati) tattoos.” Odongo went on. An open and shut case, huh? Read on.
Eventually, Ivan was arrested and formally charged with the murders vide HCT-00-CR-SC-0238-2018, Uganda v Katongole Ivan & 2 Ors. His co-accused? Andrew Kizito, a bar tender, and Hellen Nabaggala, a hairdresser. Out of 40+ suspects arrested, only these three were prosecuted.
Later in September, Ivan’s partner at the time, Ronah, Guild President at Nkumba Uni, dashes into the law firm where I was volunteering during my undergrad. She unsuccessfully requests firm to represent Ivan in the trial, so she ends up with Alaka, Esq.
While my firm ended up not representing Ivan, I continued following the story, via @NewVision, Bukedde and daily news reports. From my observation, there was something fishy in Ivan’s prosecution. And as I eventually learnt, the devil was in the details. The details:
On Jan 27, 2019 the Saturday Vision ran a story narrating “behind-the-scenes maneuvers by rogue police officers who arrested [Ivan] and framed him with the women murders in Entebbe”. Apparently, in June 2017, agents of a retired UPDF General approached Ivan with a deal:
The General wanted to partner with him in the fish maw business where Ivan had cultivated a niche. The former gave Ivan an offer: UGX 5 billion. The money would be in form of a loan, except that Ivan would sign for less than the amount as a sign of ‘generosity’ from the General.
The deal was too good. Ivan had purposed to accept it until he consulted his dad, Mzee Kaweesa, about it. Mzee Kaweesa took the wind out of Ivan’s sails. “Reject it, he just wants to take over your business,” dad advised son. He listened. The offer?