Martha Nkwanzi, one of the accused In the legal proceedings surrounding the murder case of businessman Henry Katanga found herself in the spotlight as the Nakawa Chief Magistrate’s Court issued a warrant for her arrest. The case, marked by legal complexities and maneuvers, has gripped public attention as the accused navigate the judicial process.
Of the five individuals implicated in the November 2, 2023 murder of Henry Katanga, two had remained elusive—Martha Nkwanzi, accused of evidence tampering, and Molly Katanga, accused of murder. Last November, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) formally charged Patricia Kakwanza, Dr Charles Otai, and George Amanyire, casting a shadow over the entire family.
Amidst the legal drama, questions arose regarding Molly and Nkwanzi’s absence from court proceedings. Their legal teams argued that Molly underwent surgeries at International Hospital Kampala (IHK), while Nkwanzi was recovering from childbirth. The delay in bringing Molly, a key suspect, to court raised suspicions among Henry’s supporters, prompting them to storm the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
The legal tussle escalated when police officers, allegedly interfering with Molly’s medical treatment, confronted Molly’s next of kin. The subsequent confrontation, documented in recordings, led to a petition to Principal Judge Flavian Zeija to intervene and curb police interference.
Nkwanzi’s absence, initially explained as post-childbirth recovery, raised eyebrows in court. Nakawa Chief Magistrate Elias Kakooza consistently issued criminal summons for both Nkwanzi and Molly. Criminal summons, according to the Magistrates Court Act (MCA), can be served to individuals or even incorporated companies, widening the legal scope.
In Uganda’s criminal justice system, accused individuals have occasionally disregarded criminal summons. In a past murder case involving Aaron Baguma, a former Divisional Police Commander, a warrant of arrest was issued when Baguma repeatedly avoided court appearances. Despite the issuance, the charges were later withdrawn.
The pressure mounted on Nkwanzi, prompting Chief Prosecutor Jonathan Muwaganya to press for a warrant of arrest, arguing that she failed to justify her absence adequately. Nkwanzi’s legal team insisted she was recuperating at Roswell Hospital after childbirth, but Muwaganya deemed their explanations insufficient.
Ultimately, Nkwanzi, unlike her mother, decided to voluntarily surrender to the State. On January 8, she appeared in court, avoiding potential forceful arrest and putting an end to the speculations surrounding her absence.