Madness, real madness and total madness. This is the only way the outgoing year can be described in Uganda. 2018 has surely not been starved of acts of madness right from the beginning to the very end. East to west, south to north, moments of madness were experienced and they came in plenty.
To mention a few cases, cruelty and madness welcomed the year in February when the body of Susan Magara, a beautiful innocent woman who had gone missing for some time was finally found, dumped along Kampala-Entebbe express highway. This was after a big ransom had been paid by the family in order to secure her release from her kidnappers.
The madness intensified when a housewife and her children in May confessed to have conspired and murdered the family head, Abel Katende, the former Monitor Publications senior accountant. They later carried the deceased’s body in a car boot and dumped it in a pit latrine in Luteete.
As if competing for the worst act of madness, in September in Kashanda village, Kaharo sub-county in Kabale the nation was shocked when Osbert Bakebwa a 38-year-old man beheaded his wife with a machete. The two were tending to their garden when the husband committed the murder and ran home, hiding himself in the house before being found.
And it was sometime in August when a primary school girl accused her dad of having continuously defiled her after separating with her mother. “The first time it happened, dad gave us two tablets to swallow with my sister. The following morning, I found myself naked in dad’s bed,” she testified to Police.
Surprisingly, the year’s acts of madness did not even spare God’s men. In Luweero, Reverend Canon Kezekiah Kalule, a priest in charge of one of the Archdeacons allegedly defiled and impregnated a 16-year-old girl and reportedly went into hiding after securing a questionable police bond. The priest was later replaced by Luweero bishop Eridad Nsubuga.
In a related development, a lay leader at St. Philip Bajjo Church in Bamunanika was picked by the Police for allegedly defiling a 13-year-old girl at Nkuluze village.
Elsewhere, the trend continued with Harriet Nassali, a 38-year-old woman and resident of Lwesuubo village in Wakiso District allegedly killing her husband, Siraje Kawuma after she had found a new man and wanted their relationship to blossom without any interference. She dug a three-foot hole inside their bedroom where she buried her husband’s body.
It was their 13-year-old daughter that alerted the police about the murder.
Another horrible case happened at Naluvule in Wakiso District where two children, three-year-old Dorcus Nakiwunga and her six-year-old brother, Israel Namulanga went missing in May only for their bodies to be discovered a few days later. Whatever such innocent children did to deserve death remained a big puzzle.
In November, a 32-year-old man in Ganda village in Nansana, was arrested for allegedly defiling a seven-year-old girl before bribing her with a Shs500 coin never to tell anyone.
VILLAGE OF MADNESS
At Kitawulizi village, LC I in Mutundwe near Nateete Township, west of Kampala, another form of madness was witnessed during the year. A secondary school boy stabbed his friend to death after he failed to repay Shs2,000 he owed him. The victim was Brian Lwegaba, 18, a Senior Three student at Lubaga Mixed Secondary School in Ben Kiwanuka Zone of Lubaga Division.
The suspect, Mudashir Lukambwe acted as cruel as his name suggests. He was arrested and confessed to having committed the offence. He begged for forgiveness saying he too could not believe how he came to kill someone he regarded as his best friend.
Lukambwe had some time back sold a pair of shoes to Lwegaba at Shs5,000 with the latter paying the former part of the money (Shs3,000), remaining with a balance of Shs2,000 to clear.
So on that Sunday evening, November 4, 2018 Lukambwe came demanding for the balance but Lwegaba begged to be given some time in order to look for the money. Out of the blue, Lukambwe pulled a sharp kitchen knife from his pocket and pierced Lwegaba’s belly.
The victim was rushed to a mission hospital in Lubaga Division with intestines protruding out. At the hospital, another form of madness on the part of medics was seen. The doctors demanded a down payment of Shs500,000 from the patient before they could operate him. The family then went searching for the money as the patient became weaker.
By the time they returned with the cash, it was too late. The boy breathed his last the following day and his body was taken to the hospital mortuary. The hospital then demanded for another payment before they could release the body. What madness!
In Kitawulizi village, Mutundwe where Lwegaba was stubbed, a woman staying nearby, who identified herself as Nakimera Suzan, said she had seen a lot during her eight years stay.
She summed it all in Luganda saying, Eno zooni yaggwa eddalu, meaning, “This village is full of madness”.
With a sad face, Nakimera continued her description of the village, “Here no one seems to care about the young ones with a good number of them not attending school but rather seen spending most time watching films in video kiosks and at times collecting scrap metals for sale.”
According to Nakimera, on the very day Lwegaba was stabbed, another youth in the village hit a colleague with a huge stone on the head, leaving him unconscious. The two developed a misunderstanding as they played zaala (gambling).
I also came to learn that sometime back, in this very neighbourhood, another youth below 20 in the dark of the night strangled two family members before fleeing.
The secretary for Kitawulizi LC I, Godfrey Ssenyonga, said it was difficult to believe that Lukambwe could commit such a cruel act for he had always known him to be a peaceful resident besides the two having been great friends.
Ssenyonga blamed the high crime rate in the area among the youth to being neglected and left alone by their families. According to him, the village has so many non-schooling children.
“They have been left to live on their own and often watch violent acts being committed by adults. It is these that shape their future. Besides, we have so many orphans and those belonging to single parents who have been brought up in difficult circumstances.”
Politically, the year 2018 was also rich in so many acts of madness. To start with, what transpired in Arua during the by-election of the municipality Parliamentary seat previously occupied by the late Moses Abiriga was mind blowing.
Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament, Francis Zaake will forever remember it for being arrested, beaten into coma and yet managing to escape “the Rambo style” all the way to Lubaga hospital in Kampala where he laid “dead” for days before being rushed to India for further treatment.
Strangely, Zaake’s dramatic escape from Arua was also confirmed by none other than the President of Uganda.
Elsewhere, Zaake’s colleague in Arua, Kyadondo East Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, also left Ugandans speechless for skilfully beating the 24 hour security at the entrance of Pacific hotel in Arua and managing to sneak into his room two big guns. Kyagulanyi was initially arrested for illegally possessing these two big guns.
Finally, another form of madness involved a Reuters journalist, James Akena. This was when Akena was covering protests in Kampala over the arrest of Bobi Wine when he was clobbered by security people. Later, the army apologised for this act and it was later explained they had mistaken the journalist to be a thief who had stolen a phone from someone.