A 45-year-old man from Uganda’s Kigezi Sub-region was given a 40-year prison term for killing his wife and three kids in a house fire.
Vianney Armstrong Ahimbisibwe was sentenced by Kabale High Court Judge Samuel Emokor on February 22, 2023, after he admitted guilt to committing the crime in Habutobere Village, Muko Sub-county, Rubanda District.
As a result of the house being set on fire, Ahimbisibwe killed his wife Rovinah Muheki, 43, his sons Edwin Tumworobire and Westlife Akampumuriza, both 17, and his 5-year-old daughter Maria Akwire Akinamushabire.
At the time of committing crime, he had separated from his wife following a misunderstanding and was staying in a different home.
Justice Emokor, while delivering the ruling, said although Ahimbisibwe did not waste court’s time, he committed a grave crime of rudely taking away the lives of his immediate family members for which he should be punished severely.
“While the convict asked for a lenient punishment, appeared remorseful and regrets his actions, the court contends that the offences he committed were grave and calls for a death sentence once proved guilty,” the judge ruled.
“Putting into consideration the submission of the state prosecution calling for a deterrence sentence by punishing the convict basing on the number of people he murdered, the fact that he did not take lives of foreigners but his immediate family members to achieve his pre-determined evil motives, he is hereby sentenced 40 years for each count of murder,” Justice Emokor added.
The judge clarified that since Ahimbisibwe had been on remand for one year and eight months, this would be subtracted from the 40 years, meaning he is to serve 38 years and four months.
Under the charge of arson, the court sentenced Ahimbisibwe to 15 years.
Court also sentenced him to two years in imprison on the charge of assaulting and causing actual bodily harm to his only son who survived the fire. But the judge clarified that all the sentences are to run concurrently, meaning the convict will spend 38 years and four months.
“The sentence shall run concurrently starting from the day of issuing this judgement and the convict has the right to appeal against this ruling within 14 days in case he is not happy with it,” Justice Emokor said.
Prosecution stated that on June 12, 2021, at around 8pm, Ahimbisibwe went to the deceased wife’s shop /bar located at Hisesero Trading Centre in Muko Sub-county, Rubanda District, where he found her with their children.
He then started assaulting one of his sons (survivor), Bob Mathius Muheki, demanding to know why he did not finish ferrying sand on his construction site. But other residents intervened and rescued the boy from his father.
Later when the wife and the children got home, a neighbour alerted them to take precaution because he had seen the angry husband hiding in an unfinished building next to their home.
Later at around 10pm, the neighbours had people screaming inside the house, and found it on fire. All the occupants died in the fire. Investigations further revealed that Ahimbisibwe had been seen earlier that night at a nearby fuel station with a jerrycan.