KAMPALA: The case in which a 25-year-old student at YMCA Jinja branch was sentenced to jail for 2 years has taken another angle after details of MP ‘love searching’ interview leaked.
Mr. Brian Isiko was convicted after admitting in court that he fell for Ms Sylvia Rwabwogo the Kabarole Woman Member of Parliament, and thereby sending her love messages intruding in her privacy.
He pleaded guilty to charges of cyber harassment and offensive communication before Buganda Road Magistrate Ms Gladys Kamasanyu on Thursday June 05.
But in a twist of events an excerpt from one of the local newspapers has emerged showing how Ms Sylvia Rwabwogo actually opened up in an interview published mid last year revealing that she was searching for love and in particular a man who makes things move forward, a thing that might have compelled the young man to believe chance had knocked his way.
However, the response did not bear positive results as expected because one of the interested persons turned up to be a student almost half her age and did not match her status triggered Ms Sylvia Rwabwogo to notify Parliament Police to arrest the ‘stalker’.
Indeed Mr. Isiko confessed that the calls and text messages professing obsessed love to the MP he had never physically seen, were from him.
Tears rolled down Ms Rwabwoogo’s cheeks as she told court that she started receiving calls admitting love from a stranger before the controversial Constitution Amendment Bill, that was passed in December to remove presidential age limits.
She said that it all started around November 2017, which made her think that someone was intending to harm her. She thought the calls and text messages were a trap her tormentors had set.
“At the start, I took it for granted thinking that maybe it was just a simple call from one of my constituents. Later, the calls became so frequent with the caller making more weird love confessions. I felt this had gone too far,” she said. “So, I decided to report the incident to Police at Parliament. I blocked his number but the stalker resorted to text messages,” Ms Rwabwoogo testified.
One of his texts that provoked my fears read: “I love you so much and want to protect you. My love is for you alone and since there is no one taking care of you, I will do it. I have realised that you are in deep trouble.”
Ms Rwabwoogo said she received many calls and over 10 messages adding that at one time, her stalker texted asserting that he had failed to sleep at night because he was thinking about her.
The MP said she set up an appointment to meet the stalker after Police at Parliament assigned her a guard.
The meeting, according to the MP’s testimony took place on June 11, 2018 at Java House, Lugogo in Kampala.
She testified that when they met, the stalker pulled out his identity card bearing the name of Brian Isiko. Moments later, her guard arrested him.
Ms Rwabwoogo added that what still puzzles her is that even when Isiko was in police custody she continued receiving love text messages from his phone.
She said this has caused her to suffer psychological torture.
As the MP testified, Isiko stood in the dock smiling sheepishly throughout the court session at Buganda Road Chief magistrate’s Court.
This moved the trial magistrate, Ms Gladys Kamasanyu to question him why he was stalking a woman almost twice his age.
“Everything she said is correct. I wanted her to become a personal friend. I ask for forgiveness. I also wanted her to give me ideas on how to run my poultry project,” he said. “I did not have any bad intention. In fact, that is why I agreed to meet her so that we could talk.”
Isiko said he got the MP’s number from the Parliament website.
In her verdict, Ms Kamasanyu said society has groomed men to always demean and disrespect women and that is why Isiko continued to bother Ms Rwabwogo even after blocking his calls.
“I have had the benefit to listen to both the complainant and the accused. The accused kept laughing all through the session. This is a demeanour of a person who is not remorseful,” Ms Kamasanyu said. “At some point, the complainant broke down and this kind of harassment can only be done by a selfish person and the intentions are only known to him.”
She said considering the current security situation in the country, a custodial sentence is the best punishment as there is need to deter men who find it normal to harass women.
Ms Kamasanyu handed Isiko two years in prison on the count of cyber harassment and nine months for offensive communication, which sentences will run concurrently.