Two foster parents of American origin have been charged and remanded to prison over the torture of their 10-year-old son.
The territorial police in Kampala Metropolitan stated that they placed charges of aggravated torture on the accused after thorough investigations were done.
The accused are identified as Nicholas Spencer, 32, and his wife, Mackenzie Leigh Mathias Spencer, also 32, according to police reports. On December 9, 2022, the duo was charged at Buganda Road Court and remanded until December 14, 2022.
The preliminary findings of the police indicate that Spencer and Leigh have been keeping the victim, identified as John Kayima, a Ugandan by origin, barefooted and naked all day.
Police further revealed that for a period of two years, the couple would make the victim spend nights on a wooden surface without a mattress or bedding and would occasionally squat him in an awkward position with his head facing the floor and hands spread out widely on top of being served cold meals from the fridge.
According to additional information, Kayima’s situation as a student at Dawn Children’s Center in Ntinda, Kampala, drew the attention of neighbors, who recently alerted the police at Kira Road Division and investigations began.
Police believe that between 2020 and December 2022, the victim could have endured more severe acts of torture away from the camera.
Information provided by the police confirms that Spencer and Leigh came to Uganda in 2017, and Nicholas Spencer started working with the Akola Project, which deals in handcrafted jewellery and is based in Jinja.
In 2018, they decided to foster three children, including the victim, from Welcome Ministry, which is located in Jinja. However, they later moved to Kampala after joining Motive Creation Agency with their children and have been staying together at Upper Naguru.
Child torture is one of the cases that have been on the rise in Uganda. In 2019, a situation analysis report on child abuse from the African Network for Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect indicated that physical violence against children was listed among the highest-ranking violations of children’s rights in Uganda.