Uganda: Police Close Investigation Into Kinkizi Diocese Witchcraft Case Involving Clergy

The police directorate of criminal investigations has closed a file in which a Reverend’s wife is accused of conspiring to poison and bewitch the Kinkizi diocese Bishop Rt Rev. Dan Zoreka and his family.

Police initiated investigations into alleged attempted poisoning of Bishop Zoreka on November 6, 2019 at Kanungu police station under file number CRB 637/219, a matter later taken up by the regional police headquarters at the dioceses’ request on December 26 2019.

In a letter dated January 22, 2021, signed by Mr Monday Johnson for the director of criminal investigations (CID) copied to the Bishop, Kinkizi East MP Dr Chris Baryomunsi and head of laity for Kinkizi Diocese former prime minister Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi, police says they could not continue with investigations following advice from DPP that evidence there in did not lead to suspicion of conspiracy.

“In Conclusion, Director of public prosecutions (DPP) opined that the evidence on record was insufficient to prove conspiracy between the suspect and any other person to commit any offense and advised the file to be closed,” part of the letter reads.

A tin containing jerry mixed with hair and other materials was recovered from a maid to the Bishop identified as Ms Kyarikora Prudence who upon interrogation revealed to police that she was given the charms cum poison by Ms Kiconco Desire Tibesigwa.

Following the accusation, police arrested Ms Kiconco as key suspect. Police also detained her maid Ms Ms Friday Vanice and Rev Tibesigwa accusing the trio of attempting to poison the bishop. Ms Kiconco was charged with conspiracy to commit a felony together with the husband and the two house maids. Rev Tibesigwa was suspended from office as Kihihi Arch deacon.

“The jerry-like substance with strands of hair suspected to be poisonous were submitted to Government Analytical Laboratory (GAL) Wandegeya for analysis. Toxicological analysis was done and the findings were that Methylparaben and propylparaben was detected. No compound of toxicological interest was detected. Methylparaben and propylparaben are preservatives with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and are widely used in pharmaceutical industries, they have no documented health effect or harm on human life,” the letter contends.

The letter identified seven grounds for investigations in an A-G of discontinuing the case with the first being the relationship between the Bishop and Rev Tibesigwa given that the key suspect was Rev Tibesigwa’s wife while their housemaids directly involved in the crime came from one village too. It also cited change in statement of Ms Prudence and finally the non-toxicological substance test.

Bishop Zoreka dismissed the investigations, the contents of the letter and the spirit behind it saying the investigations were falsified and that there may have been connivance.

“I have learnt about it (Report) but all contents are falsified. Investigations were done and to the best of our knowledge contents in there are not what the witnesses stated. What is there is challengeable. This however is like another thing that is happening in Uganda. At the moment I think it’s too early for me to make a comment because that report is not in good faith,” Bishop Zoreka told Daily monitor in a phone interview on Saturday evening.

However Rev Tibesigwa described the report as a relief for him, his family and his reputation as a Christian and a church leader.

“We have been tortured and tormented because of these allegations, I and my family feel so happy that we have been exonerated. This was the devil’s attack and it is time for us to cerebrate. All I wanted was this to end and I think justice is being done,” Rev Tibesigwa told Daily Monitor by phone.

Bshop Zoreka says they have further engaged police to make another investigation.