Archives: Akbar Godi, the MP who killed teenage wife he had to marry after defilement
Akbar Godi was facing possible defilement case over his liaison with a teenage Caesar Rehema when he decided to marry her. She was 19 when her lifeless body with two gunshot wounds was found not far from Godi's Mukono home. All evidence put Godi at the scene, his gun found to have been the murder weapon.
MURDER | On December 4, 2008, Henry Tamale, of Lukojjo village in Mukono District, witnessed an event that sent chills down his spine. At about 11pm, under the cover of darkness, he witnessed what looked like a man ending life of a young woman, on the verandah, two meters away from his house, using a pistol.
The man had then dragged the corpse by the legs towards the main road where he dumped it near a kiosk run by one Kateregga.
The man, according to Tamale, wasn’t done; he discharged a coup de grace bullet into the lifeless body.
Tamale wasn’t the lone witness that night. Muhamood Lwanga, a boda boda operator, said he collided with a vehicle apparently being used by the killer. Lwanga too heard a gunshot at Lukojjo on the same day Tamale did.
Lwanga estimated the time it was fired to be between 10pm and 11pm so he was at per with Tamale.
Unbeknown to Tamale at the time was that he had witnessed one of the most prominent murders in contemporary Uganda. The murder, at least, unlike others, would go through all the appellant processes to the Supreme Court, for the either side to get a final resolution.
The man Tamale had seen rolling a lifeless body of a woman was Hussein Akbar Godi , a youthful opposition legislator who at the time represented Arua Municipality.
The body of the person Godi was turning upside down in the mud before shooting for the second time was that of Caesar Rehema Nassur, his estranged wife.
The movie like scene that Tamale had seen was properly captured by High Court judge Lawrence Gidudu in his February 11, 2011 judgment which was up held by the Court of Appeal and later confirmed by the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land.
In both cases, it was Godi who had appealed, seeking a lifeline that never came.
In his pursue of Rehema, Justice Gidudu’s observation was that Godi had acted like “a skillful hunter, mafia style.”
“Her parents were powerless to protect her. She could run but she could not hide from him,” the judge said of Rehema, later characterizing the marriage she in as a form of slavery in which she was constantly assaulted, harassed and stalked by her husband, Godi.
So far, Godi has served only seven years of the 25 Judge Gidudu handed him but it would have been worse hadn’t the judge summoned his lenient side.
Slain prosecutor Joan Kagezi, who led the prosecution team, had asked Gidudu to condemn Godi to the utmost penalty–the death sentence.
Gidudu didn’t let prosecution have its way on this. He reasoned that the death penalty would be too much since Godi and the deceased Rehema were a young couple that lacked guidance and counseling, although the legislator had acted “recklessly.”
Though it was established that Godi indeed killed Rehema, the motive remains point of contention to- date.
According to court reports and prosecution evidence, Godi’s marriage to Rehema hit the rocks three months after the wedding in December 2007.
At the time, Rehema was a 17-year-old high school student residing in Nana Hostel since she was going to Old Kampala Senior Secondary School.
Rehema’s brother, Nasur Kafu, it’s said had not bought into this relationship. He moved and filed a police case of defilement against Godi, which case was later dropped by Rehema’s family after he decided to marry her to avoid prosecution for defilement.
Initially, the couple was staying in their matrimonial home at Bwebajja along Kampala – Entebbe Road, Wakiso District but soon the honeymoon was over as seeds of discord were sowed.
While Rehama was complaining to whoever cared to listen of how her husband was threatening to shoot her with a gun, Godi on his part accused her of returning home late after her school hours falsely claiming to have been staying at her parent’s home at Martin Road, Old Kampala.
Godi was accusing Rehema of infidelity.
The discord escalated, court records show; Rehema moved to her parent’s home at Martin Road, and later to Nana Hostel, near the Law Development Centre, Makerere.
At the hostel, she stayed with two female Tanzanian student friends, court documents showed. Though Rehema had left her matrimonial home, it didn’t satisfy Godi who would from now and then telephone her quarreling and at one point confronted her, at her new abode, Nana hostel, to drive his point home.
So at this point, something had to give way and it did on December 4, 2008. At the house of her father, Rehema was seen by her family responding to a call apparently from Godi. The student was seen
dressing up and left telling her two sisters that she was going out for dinner with someone, whose particulars she did not disclose to anybody.
That was the last time Rehema was seen alive. Later in the night, her lifeless body was found dumped on Mukono-Kayunga road, in Lukojjo Village, Nama Sub-county, Mukono district, by passersby.
Justice Gidudu stated that while motive is generally irrelevant in criminal cases, it is useful because someone in their normal faculties would not commit a crime without any reason.
Infidelity had been paraded as perhaps the reason as to why the novice politician decided to do the unthinkable but court evidence proved there was more to it.
Rashida Bizu, Rehema’s sister, in her court deposition, had opened a Pandora’s Box. Bizu claimed that her sister and Godi had been fighting over a laptop. The laptop which was now in possession of Rehema, according to Bizu, contained information linking Godi to the LRA rebels.
Godi feared that Rehema would hand it over to authorities.
Realising he was in deep hole, Godi’s legal team led by criminal law giant MacDosman Kabega tried to put in place an alibi insisting that he was not anywhere near Mukono the night of December 4, 2008.
They claimed that he was at the National Theatre in Kampala and later retired to his Entebbe home for the night.
But this line of defence collapsed the moment Kagezi and her team tendered in court phone printouts from Warid (now Airtel) and MTN telecommunication companies. Godi, at the time Rehema was murdered, the phone printouts proved, was moving between Bweyogerere and Mukono.
To make matters worse, the printouts showed that the last communication between the Godi and Rehema took place at 7:30pm, just a couple of hours before the murder.
Possibly the most incriminating evidence in the case came from Robinah Kirinya, the ballistics expert, who testified as prosecution witness number 23. Kirinya , whose evidence Godi’s lawyers tried to weaken at all levels of appeal — without success — examined the two cartridges that were recovered from the two crime scenes at the verandah and where Rehema’s body was found lying.
Upon analysis, Kirinya concluded that they had been fired from a pistol that not only Godi owned but he was in its control on the fateful day of December 4, 2008.
“In the absence of a plausible explanation on the part of Godi, this evidence put his pistol and hence himself who had it in his possession, control and use to the scene of the crime, where the deceased was killed,” Court of Appeal justices Constance Byamugisha (now deceased), Steven Kavuma (now retired ) and Remmy Kasule (retires next month) ruled.
“So too is the evidence that an examination of the bullet recovered from the deceased’s body showed some similarities in rifling marks impressions like those fired from the appellant’s pistol, even though the analyst could not be of a definite opinion.”
Last nail in the coffin
The final nail in Godi’s coffin arguably came via soil samples found on his pair of black shoes whose size was 42.
Prosecution witness number 28, Justine Mike Ocen, who testified as a soil analyst, confirmed to court that soil found on Godi’s pair of shoes matched the soil at the scene of crime where Rehema was murdered.
Despite the fact that that Godi’s lawyers had tried to discredit this evidence contending inter-alia that Police had failed to clearly show the exact spot where they had collected the soil sample at the crime
scene and also that Police failed to explain why the Rehema’s shoes found at the crime scene had also not been examined but all courts in Uganda were having none of it.
“This witness clearly and in detail answered and explained all the questions that were put to him by defence counsel as to how he carried out the examination and analysis of the soil samples to reach the conclusion that the soil found on the pair of shoes recovered from Godi’s house matched and was the same soil as that from the scene of crime,” the Court of Appeal judges ruled in defence of Ocen’s evidence.
In a rare moment of reflection, Caleb Alaka, a criminal lawyer, said that there was nothing the defence team could have done to save his kindred. Alaka hails from West Nile, just like Godi.
,“Prosecution and the investigators did a good job,” Alaka told this website, “Once it was proven that it was his gun that fired the bullets and Godi possessed it at the time of the event, then prosecution had got their man.”
By the time Godi gets out of prison — barring presidential pardon — he will be 54 years old but the question remains what could have been.
Besides storming Parliament on the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) ticket in 2006 at a youthful age of 25, making him one of the youngest legislators, Godi had graduated as a Law student from Kampala International University (KIU).
In order to obtain this bachelors, Godi had somehow found himself onto the list of people who benefited from the state house scholarships allotted to former fighters of Uganda National Rescue
Front (UNRF) I and later UNRF II.
Godi took advantage of being a nephew of the late Ali Bamuze who was the eternal leader of the rebel outfit, which mainly operated in the West Nile, and he got the scholarship.
Throughout this court process, he kept on telling the media that President Museveni or state agencies were behind his wife’s murder, but in court he never bothered to bring up that claim categorically — he only insinuated it.
For instance, during his mitigation session in 2011, he told Judge Gidudu to invoke his discretion and show him leniency, insisting that everything had happened the way “certain forces had dictated.”
In response, the judge asked him to ‘tickle my mind’ with more information about the nature of these forces, but Godi declined to comment further.