Ronald Mbayo who claimed that his “gods” had delivered a missing national identity card on a goat’s skull to the owner’s home has earned himself a one-year jail term for theft and burglary.
Kibuku grade one magistrate Abubaker Hassan Matanda found Mbayo guilty and convicted him on the two charges. The prosecution told court that on March 31, 2023, in Bukatabala village, Kadama sub-county, Kibuku district, Mbayo, along with Ronald Kawanguzi, broke into the house of Irene Nankoma with the intent to commit theft.
They stole a laptop bag containing various documents including a national identity card, primary seven and senior four result slips, school identity cards and testimonials from Mbale School of Nursing and Midwifery valued at Shs 3 million.
According to court proceedings, Nankoma was at her sister’s home when the theft occurred having just rendered support through labour. Upon her return, she discovered that her laptop bag containing her valuable documents had been stolen. She reported the matter to the police. Days later, Nankoma’s mother informed her that Kawanguzi had contacted their herdsman, claiming to have connections with a witch doctor who could help recover the stolen items.
Nankoma engaged Kawanguzi, who, confirmed the offer but stated that the witchdoctor’s services would come at a cost of Shs 1.5 million. Kawanguzi then connected Nankoma to Mbayo, and negotiations commenced. Eventually, the stolen national identity card was delivered, affixed to a goat’s skull to Nankoma’s sister’s home late at night. Police intervened leading to the arrest of Mbayo and Kawanguzi.
During the trial, Mbayo denied the allegations, claiming that he did not know Kawanguzi and that his involvement stemmed from a friend named Mugoya, who had a deal involving the stolen property. Mbayo stated that Mugoya delivered the items to him, and upon realizing their value, he attempted to track down the owner and eventually decided to hand them over.
He further claimed that his “gods” were responsible for delivering the national identity card with the goat’s skull to the complainant’s home. In his judgment, Matanda found Mbayo guilty of theft and burglary and acquitted Kawanguzi due to insufficient evidence. Matanda noted Mbayo’s contradictory statements, including claiming to be a witch doctor and receiving the stolen items from Mugoya, as well as stating that his “gods” delivered the items.
“I am not convinced with his account, which was contradictious in terms of him claiming on one hand, that the said Mugoya gave the items to him for them to extort money from the complainant by posing as a witch doctor, and then on another, that he is actually a witch doctor and the skull and ID were delivered by his gods to the complainant’s home,” said Matanda.
Considering the prevalence of burglary and theft in Kibuku district, the magistrate concluded that a custodial sentence of one year for each count was appropriate due to Mbayo’s involvement in both the theft and an extortion attempt.
Matanda also took into account the calculated and cunning nature of the crime, including the delivery of the goat’s skull with the national identity card in the early hours of the morning. The court proceedings resembled a thriller movie, with the magistrate emphasizing the meticulous execution of the ploy.