Are these people really uncivilized? This story got me wondering. There are many African Cultures that despite the National laws in place still insist and adhere to long practised traditions. In this case a man got his sons sentenced to death for raping their sister. In these types of cultures obviously, incest is beyond taboo and is punished by death. Is this extreme or is it simply a necessary evil?
Karimajong holding some sort of community meeting
K’jong kills son for rape of sister
Nakapiripirit, North Eastern Uganda.
A man in Karamoja chaired a traditional court and sentenced his two sons to death for raping their sister, Daily Monitor can reveal.
Mr Abura Apalalu chaired the court, set up under traditional cultural rules, that sat at Longorinyangai village, Namalu Sub-county in Nakapiripit District on October 3 and sentenced the two men, both his sons, to death, UPDF 3rd Division Spokesman, Capt. Henry Obbo confirmed.
The incident has also been separately confirmed by the Karamoja Regional Police Commander, Mr Okot Obwana. He said Mr Apalalu was arrested after one of his sons, Piyan Lokalei, was canned to death after the sentence was passed. The second son, whose name was not readily available, sustained severe injuries from the beating he received.
Mr Apalalu and other family members, who constituted the court will be prosecuted, the deputy Regional Police Commander, Mr Francis Bratti, said without giving details of the charges.
“We are tracing the other family members and shall have them arrested,” said Mr Bratti.
According to Mr Andrew Keem Napaja, the Nakapiripit RDC, the two young men sneaked into their sister’s room and raped her. “This is abominable in Karamoja, it is equated to wizardry and one in traditional Karamoja society is supposed to be hanged for committing such an act,” Mr Napaja told Daily Monitor.
However, the RDC said it was wrong for the family, led by the father, to mete out a punishment that led to the death of Lokalei.
Karamoja, in northeastern Uganda, is one of the remotest and poorest regions of the country and many residents still live traditional lifestyles governed by local rules and customs.
Rape is a capital offence that is tried only by the High Court.The traditional courts have no powers to try and hang suspects.
Capt. Obbo told Daily Monitor earlier in the week that the UPDF, which runs a disarmament programme in Karamoja, is opposed to the traditional justice system there. The army last year saved two people who had been sentenced to life imprisonment in an illegal detention centre – a pit dug in the ground – on orders of a traditional court.
Five people have been hanged on orders of the Karimajong traditional clan court sitting at Namalu in the last year. Last May, a village court in Karamoja condemned to death three men and hanged one of them before the UPDF intervened and rescued the others. The three had been accused of murdering a man who had beaten them in a cards game.
The victim allegedly won Shs80,000 in the gamble. Challenged by his fellow players, the victim refused to refund the money and walked away. The three reportedly ran after him and beat him to death. Capt. Obbo said mid last year they rescued another three people who had been sentenced by the traditional clan court to death and arrested the culprits.
However, the UPDF’s efforts to charge the elders behind the traditional court system were frustrated because the local people declined to come to court to give evidence.
“The traditional justice system in which majority of these people believe in is another challenge for us,” Capt. Obbo said. “Even some of the educated Karimojong believe in their traditional court system. It is as if the area is not governed by the laws of Uganda. It is like a jungle.”
The Karamoja sub-region United Nations human rights desk confirmed they have registered cases of abuse through the traditional court system presided over by local chiefs trying especially cases of thefts, adultery, rape and defilement.
“We have not heard about this particular one but last year we registered cases at Kakuwam and Kakomongole parishes where people were hanged while others were rescued by police and UPDF while in life imprisonment detention locally,” said Francis Oluka, a United Nations official.