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Cerinah Nebanda’s death raises questions

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Cerinah NebandaMuseveni, First Lady put on the spot

In life, fallen young Butaleja Woman MP, Cerinah Nebanda Arioru, was flamboyant, vocal, and controversial. When she was a first year student at Makerere University’s Faculty of Social Sciences, Nebanda who was barely 19, was the only student who had two personal cars. She immediately got immersed in the campus political life and became president of the faculty’s student body.

At 23, she was already an MP, after defeating one of the top women in her party in a hotly contested race. At 24, she was dead.


Death struck her, however, in the lowliest fashion at a local nondescript clinic.

In a moving eulogy, Butaleja MP Emmanuel Dombo told the mourners at Christ the King Church in Kampala on Dec.18 about how he encouraged Nebanda to join national politics.

“What I did not tell her however, “he said, “Is that death was one of the things she would have to prepare for as an MP.”

Nebanda’s brother, Hasashya Ronald Wandera on behalf of the siblings said, “The lioness of Butaleja is sleeping. She did not die. She was killed. “

Nebanda’s step-father, Frederick Mukasa, raised tempers of the charged congregation when he revealed how people who said they were from the government-run newspaper, The New Vision, visited him and asked him to back a report that Nebanda died of a heart attack. He said he refused to cooperate.

“That is why I am telling mourners that many people want to use us to jeopardise investigations,” he said.

Tension over burial

Immediately after Nebanda’s death questions were being asked about why her mysterious boyfriend and three others dumped her at a clinic—Mukwaya General Clinic, in Nsambya a Kampala suburb, and went into hiding? Why was Nebanda not evacuated to a proper hospital? Were they too late?

The Independent has learnt from friends of the deceased that Nebanda’s relationship with the man; Adam Sulaiman Kalungi, was just a few months old. According to them, Nebanda had not been in a relationship since her boyfriend died when she was still at University.

Tensions rose four days after her death when police blocked an independent inquiry sanctioned jointly by health experts from Mulago National referral Hospital, Parliament, and Police and arrested Dr Sylvester Onzivua, the Mulago Hospital pathologist, who was taking samples from the deceased’s body to South Africa for tests to ascertain cause of death. Police had at first denied the arrest but later released a statement clarifying why they had arrested him.

“Dr Onzivua, who is a civil servant, had not been cleared to travel out of the country and neither had he obtained the authority required to export the samples out of the country,” said Judith Nabakooba, the police spokeswoman in a statement the confirmed that he was in their custody.

By 10 pm on Dec.18, four days after Nebanda’s death, MPs were camped at the notorious Special Investigation Unit of the Police at Kireka, trying to rescue the doctor.

“How can police defy Parliament,” asked MP Theodore Ssekikubo, who was a close friend to Nebanda, “It means they are getting orders from above.”

Ssekikubo said that although the pathologist might have been arrested, natural causes were ruled out and to him the medical report is peripheral. The kind of toxin that could damage her organs to the extent of bursting her pancreas and lungs is what the pathologist is investigating.

On the same day, Parliament passed a resolution that Nebanda’s body is not buried until the government explicitly informs Parliament and her family about the cause of her death. In an emotional moment, Nebanda’s wailing mother accused police of complicity and said she no longer trusts the government.

Little sins, as they say, grow into big ones. The distrust between Parliament and the Executive, which has been simmering for some time, has also become full blown over Nebanda’s death in a suspected homicide.

The government found itself pitted against the suspicious public over the actual cause of her death.

MPs fear

Nebanda has been part of a section of MPs who have been critical of President Yoweri Museveni’s handling of national affairs, including oil resources, the fight against corruption, laxity in social service delivery, and Museveni’s long stay in power.

Her death on Friday Dec.14 came just a day after President Museveni addressed Parliament and accused the MPs, who are also mainly associated with the Parliamentary Forum on Oil and Gas, of being agents of saboteur “foreign interests” that would not be tolerated by the government. He said he had instructed the Inspectorate of Government to investigate their source of their funds.

Having been one of the small clique of critical MPs in the ruling party NRM otherwise known as ‘rebel MPs,’ Nebanda’s death has also resurrected the debate about the security of critical politicians that have been such an ache in the party’s tooth.

There was tension during the requiem mass at Christ the King Church in Kampala on Dec.18 when, MP Theodore Ssekikubo abruptly got up and, without invitation walked to pulpit where another MP, Dr Chris Baryomunsi, who represented the Parliamentary Commission, was speaking.

Lydia Wanyoto Mutende, the NRM stalwart and former East African MP, attempted to block Ssekikubo. She told the mourners that the church administration had given the committee only five minutes to conclude the speeches. It was a bluff because the First Lady, Janet Museveni, the government Chief Mourner, Minister Tarsis Kabwegere, and Nebanda’s parents had not spoken.

“Everybody has the right to speak,” thundered Nebanda’s mother.

Like a charged battery, Sekikuubo stated that he had only two things to say. “What” and “who” killed Nebanda.

“Chief mourner, First Lady, who killed Nebanda?” he asked, “We including Nebanda, have been branded as   rebel MPS. We are not rebels but moving as original MPs of NRM. Nebanda is gone. She has been killed. Why don’t you tell us that she was killed and tell us to go home and bury our dead if you will not tell us who killed her?

For the second day after Nebanda’s death, the executive was forced to fumble to absolve itself with both the President, and First Lady publicly telling mourners that the “government did not kill Nebanda”.

“I don’t think that this government killed Hon. Nebanda. There are so many critics of the government who insult the President on radios and walk away free day and night,” said the First Lady, Janet Museveni, at a requiem mass at Christ the King Church.

In the same service, speaker after speaker accused the government of either complicity in the death or in an attempt to conceal evidence and were cheered by angry mourners.

“What is perturbing is it is the same police blocking samples which means they know who killed my daughter,” Nebanda’s mother told mourners.

Cerinah Nebanda (L) at her swearing-in ceremony as Wom an Member of Parliament for Butaleja District in 2011.

Museveni surprised

Earlier, despite President Yoweri Museveni’s efforts on Dec.17 at the deceased’s family home in Kitubulu, Entebbe to sympathise with the bereaved and clear the air about Nebanda’s death, suspicion continued to worsen.

Museveni had taken the opportunity to calm the tempers flared by some politicians insinuating foul play on the part of the government. He narrated his last encounter with Nebanda in Parliament where the deceased had disagreed with him about whether the situation in the health centres had improved, saying it had not.  He had asked to travel with her to Butalejja (her constituency) to find out the truth.

“It was totally unexpected. I could not believe it,” the President told mourners about Nebanda’s death, “Our daughter Nebanda died when she was very young, which is very painful.”

He asked the public to let the police do its work and said he would deal firmly with politicians who were ‘sowing seeds of hatred.’

“When you malign the government and interfere with the work of the police… then, the laws can handle you because police investigations are protected by the law,” Museveni said.

Museveni pledged that delivering the deceased’s postmortem report would be much easier because her case was simpler because she was not sick and the government already had leads and basic facts about the cause of her death.

Although President Museveni pledged that the government would conclude investigations and find out Nebanda’s fate, it was clear his re-affirmations were flying through the gathering’s ears. Some in the gathering booed, shouted and interrupted him, expressing their mistrust.

The deceased’s brother Hasashya Ronald Wandera, refuted media reports that Nebanda had died of drugs and alcohol.

Cerinah Nebanda Arioru was born on September 10, 1988 to the late Peter Waiga and Alice Namulwa Mukasa.  She was the second born among four children; three girls and a boy.

Reporting by Joan Akello and Haggai Matsiko


Unresolved investigations

Kasubi Tombs burnt.

On March 16 2010, at about 8.30 pm local time, the Kasubi tombs were destroyed by fire. The cause of the fire is as yet unknown.  A commission of inquiry was set up to determine the cause of the fire and the civilian deaths in the following days. Although the commission handed over a report to the Ugandan government in March 2011, up to now it has not been released to the public

Budo fires, 22 pupils killed.

On April 14, 2008 fire razed in Nassolo dormitory at Budo Junior School. Up until May 21, 2008 the police report was still speculative showing that arsonists could have set the fire. An investigations team was set up. No official report issued to date.

Brig Nobel Mayombo.

The for Director of military intelligence and permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence died mysteriously on April 30 2007 in Kenya were he was admitted to the Aga Khan Hospital. To this day the press, politicians and his family remain in speculation as what exactly led to his death is unknown. President Museveni appointed a committee to probe Mayombo’s death but the report of the inquest, handed to him in Nov 2007 seven months after the death, and has never been made public.

Francis Ayume.

The late Speaker of Parliament and Attorney General died on May 16, 2004 in an accident at Nakasongola while returning to Kampala from upcountry. Ayume was supposed to make a presentation to cabinet on the morning of Monday May 17, 2004 at 8am. He died about eight hours before the cabinet meeting. About the accident itself, it emerged that Ayume’s official car plus its driver had been withdrawn. The car in which he died and the driver were new.

Andrew Kayiira, March 7, 1987.

He was the energy minister after the capture of Kampala by NRM. He battled treason cases before his death, but the court acquitted him on all the charges and was released from Luzira prison. Gunmen killed him after his release. Not satisfied that the killers were from Lubiiri barracks, President Museveni requested specialised crime investigators from Scotland Yard in Britain to carry out investigations. The report was given to the president and the then minister of internal affairs, Paul Kawanga Ssemwogerere but 22 years down the road the report has never been made public.

Compiled by Sarah Namulondo


Comments (58)Add Comment
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written by Gen Adam kifaliso, December 23, 2012
The fact that the boyfriend has run aways says it all , the level of criminality must investigated , the panic is security apparatus , the high level denials all show some kind of conspiracy .Digested opiates don't kill like that unless injected in the blood stream
Mr
written by Denis Tibbs, December 23, 2012
The death of Cerina is something Ugandans should take seriously.
Kayihura should be investigated for saying that the Late MP died of drugs even before the medical findings were realesed.
The intresting part is that,he blocked an Independent medical investigation,sent his boys and they came up with exactly what he had speculated.
Finally, I want to thank the Independent Magazine for the right information on Fred Mukasa.It was a shame for all the news papers for failing to establish the real Father of a whole MP.
Fred Mukasa is a step-Father not Cerina's father.

Cerina RIP
Society should investigate
written by victor, December 23, 2012
The society should come to terms that obesity could also be an issue that can cause death. Ugandans should come of it that fat people are healthy and not sick. In fact it is a risk to be fat. Always try to find off fatness. Also too much comfort, cars and all that can not guarantee someone's health. One needs to walk, run, exercise, or eat non-oily food to remain healthy. It depends on what one reads also for a healthy mind. Being vocal alone is not a sighn of toughness. In fact some silence can exhibit strength and power and ability to digest what is going on around in the society. Being too vocal could be a sign of weakness. A look at Nebanda's family suggests extreme obesity.
Protected by the law?
written by Steven Nsubuga, December 24, 2012
Did the president say police investigations are protected by law? Really? Really? Doesn't the law as well protect free speech? Why then threaten people who speculate? Aren't they free to speculate ? Doesn't the law also protect demonstrations? How come the police comes out and brutalize demonstrators? Uganda is really a sick country.
...
written by essayjazz, December 24, 2012
This post is awesome! Thanks to the author.
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written by A.M, December 24, 2012
I really feel for the government. What necessitated the panic they are are in? Who even accused it? How come they knew the cause of her death even before the postmortem results were out? Why wasn't the nation informed the very night of her death that she had died? That initial media blackout didn't help government at all. Atlist the who killed Nebanda is known to the creator, the deceased and the executioner? R.I.P Cerinah we shall dearly miss the youthful exuberance that you had brought parliament.
THERE IS MORE TO NEBANDA'S DEATH
written by elamu denis ejulu, December 24, 2012
the fact that so many previous officials have died in suspicious circumstances related to death by poisning which is synonymous with the NRM and her being critical of the party's policies at the critical stage of Museveni's political career raises fears of foul play
...
written by George, December 24, 2012
On seeing Maama Nabenda tear his speech at the burial, Museveni said that it is the MPs who organized hooligans to disrupt the burial. Museveni cannot believe that after 20 years in power people simply get tired of you. You run out of “newness“, get stale and ultimately inconsequential. You could in fact become the enemy! That is the truth about Museveni's predicament. Every additional year in office appears to be downhill.

A GUILTY CONSCIOUS WRONG DOER NEEDS NO ACCUSER
written by Jimmy Wambede, December 25, 2012
The gov't of President Museveni has already accused itself openly of the mischief. If the IGP, Kale Kayihura, is the one who must rush first to the scene of crime, then what is the role of his juniors? Is he the only one who was/is in position to detect drugs and alcohol?
Cerinah Nebanda’s death
written by Ketesi john, December 25, 2012
What do you expect a president who has been in power for 27 years and still want to rule for life to do? Definitely has to start killing all his critics before next elections 2016. I do not know why Ugandans are surprised. What did you expect detectors s to do? I do not not difference between this Government and Amin, Museven claims removed.

The only thing can assure Ugandans is that everything has its time, Museven time is approaching, and will go whether he likes it or not. By the way remember how all these detector have existed??? Gadafi, Mubuto, Amin etc.
GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY
written by Sam, December 25, 2012
M7 stop panicking. The actions and statements you are engaging prove guilt.
1 When you went to Namirembe for the conscration of Ntaga;i you did not memtion Nebanda, you thought it will go away. Whuch leader would have missed to convey shock then!
2. When suddenly comments started flowing in you run to the family house that you now wanted to convey condolences
3 Then you issued statements that NRM did not kill her
4 Then you issued statements intimidating anyone who spoke of the crime you committed
5 Then you order the arrest of the pathologist
6 Your wife then claims you are innocent
7 Then you issue statements that Nabenda took drugs
8 Then you order arrest of Members of parliament
being a simple psychology student I detect guilt in your actions.
Why are you panicking so much?
address the illicit drug problem
written by victor, December 26, 2012
The president should encourage the police to address the drug abuse problem in the country. In fact not just the policy but the civl society should help address the drug problem. The churches too should be involved in their faithfuls' lives and counsel them. Many of them have gone the wrong way unknowingly.
mr.
written by Martin Byakuleka, December 26, 2012
The Nabenda saga reveals one pertinent fact: No present leader or his cohorts can plan on leading Uganda for life ... Ugandans are seemingly meek but could be inflamed by those who seek to endlessly perpetuate themselves in power. And when inflamed, Ugandans can be pretty revolutionary ... ask the people of Luwero.
...
written by Muyanda wa Muyanda, December 26, 2012
After viewing the president's media briefing several times, I can conclude that he's not accountable to anybody but to his single handed fight against Idi Amin and other dictators. He went to ambushes alone and fought the wars like the popular Rambo movies. The fact that he repeatedly used "I" fought, supports my conclusion. On the other hand, his message at the state house services that he would not tolerate civilians that criticise his authority is subject to further analysis. Was this message packaged to offer clues on how comprehensive investigations should be?
...
written by Bogere, December 26, 2012
Kifaliso, when and who promoted you to the rank of "general"?
Ugandans, please, rationalize!!
written by Nkongih lll, December 27, 2012
My fellow Ugandans, pleaseeee!!!! .. as much as we want change just as much as we feel let down by the NRM government, we just cannot discard 'basic common sense' because we are very frustrated .. hell NO!!! Come off it, my fellow country people, there is NO WAY UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCE WHATSOEVER the government would have wanted to kill Cerinah Nebanda ... NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS. Please, people, please, we are better than this. Let us not behave like hottentots, for doing so, we are doing more harm than good to our country. I honestly think that some members of parliament and the speaker of the parliament have behaved very poorly and unprofessionally. In a 'manufactured crisis' like this, you expect members of parliament to lead and not to add salt in the wound.
M7 & Kayihura KILLED NEBANDA
written by rob, December 27, 2012
Nebanda was duped into appering in munyonyo then wisked to state house then poisoned by M7 himself then droped her dead body into clinic by kayihura himself..by end of this year museveni will be dead himself.
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written by Hank, December 27, 2012
I have gone through all these comments and i realise that some comments are from high school holyday makers whose intellectual capacity is really miserable. Actually i advice that if one cant advance a sensible point silence is wisdom.

One fundamental question can give substantial leads into who pertuated the death of Cerinah.
Who benefits from Cerinahs Nebandas Death in this particular political Climate in Uganda?
s**t
written by JFA, December 27, 2012
We have to put the criminals to Sleep NOW
"mysterious death"?
written by anteros, December 27, 2012
the sequence of events surrounding nebanda's death is more revealing than any post mortem report could ever be.
who still doesn't know what happened?
it's really all very sad.
...
written by Keishima, December 28, 2012
I have read comments, very interesting topic, one stand out in particular, who would bnefit from her death given the current political climate in Uganda?
Andrew would come in as well to give your view, I know you have views on this becuase you are well placed, you know what I mean?
Emotions apart, what do you think happened? your readers Andrew would welcome your analysis.
I think Police were at fault, Kale Kaihula made the situation worse why pronouce her dead?, the incosistencies, incompetence on the part of police point to something and what would that be Andrew?
Analysis the behaviour of the paranoid Mzee? call the media and label every one 'idiots and fools' why get sucked into this Mister brainy? the only man who fought in the luwero jangles
...
written by samedayessay review, December 29, 2012
This info is very useful for me! Thanks for sharing.
Hearsay is not a key evidence in court of law, we need evidence to be adduced in Nabenda's death
written by Capt hajj sadat mohmed ssemakula, December 30, 2012
Dear fellow Ugandans may mercy and blessing be to you all.
In regard to Celina saga, this is not the first incidence, remember that prominent people have died in such vegetative state, eg Mutesa was said to have been poisoned by Tatu, no report or pathological report has even been produce in UK, where he died.Many other e.g Kafumbe Muksa, mayombwe, kayira,Kigundu, Avemar tycoon have all be linked to poison,no government report or any enactment has been published for almost 3o years to handle such problem.The words in heat of moment of Museven shouldn't be used to wreck the parliament we need a solution .
This has been one of the most contraversial death ever in uganda
written by Tina, December 30, 2012
The death of our dear MP has a cocktail of assumptions, twits and turns. every party involved wants us to believe that their version is right and the others' is wrong what are we poor Ugandans supposed to believe?. it looks like Parliament has become the most "holy" place in Uganda at this rate Uganda will soon be called a disorganized state filled with drama of the highest order acted by supposedly respectable citizens.
...
written by Jake Seks, December 31, 2012
In any crime some basics are sought:
1. Who is to benefit
2. Did he have the opportunity to execute the desired atrocity?
3. Did he have the means?
I believe the government has the the three ticks up on these. They did it and should be held responsible. Once we people in the diaspora come over to sort that country out, may we will be left crying but not Dead. as we believe that a dead person is a non hurting one. God for bid thou shall not kill!

May the fallen commrades rest in peace.
...
written by julius, January 01, 2013
Its no doubt. The government in Nakasero is a "Serial killer". It is not by coincidence that Museveni hides the reports after spending millions of tax payers' money on them.
We wait for him to be investigated soon. ...............................
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written by julius, January 01, 2013
What about the drug Arinaitwe used on Dr. Besigye. Who imported (manufactured ) it?
...
written by julius, January 01, 2013
MPs, I wish (advise) that after collecting signatures to recall the Parliament from recess, try considering the process of impeaching president Museveni.
reader
written by Tom, January 02, 2013
the review of all comments leads to one conclusion.NRM Government under M7 is moving totally naked in public. This makes me believe that the likes of Kayira, Brians, the young 20 girles under Buddo infernal and now Nebandas are turning in their graves to witness the drama of once a proclaimed liberator now turning pre to his subordinates..... What a shame!!!!. Bye Do you also recall Kayihura was the first at the scene in Buddo infernal and to silence all parents commenting on the vice?. Your day seem to be comming to the end.
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Museveni had taken the opportunity..
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Museveni had taken the opportunity to calm the tempers flared by some politicians insinuating foul play on the part of the government
Tensions rose four days..
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Tensions rose four days after her death when police blocked an independent inquiry sanctioned jointly by health experts
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The New Vision, visited him and asked him to back a report that Nebanda died of a heart attack. He said he refused to cooperate.
The government found...
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The government found itself pitted against the suspicious public over the actual cause of her death.
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I wish (advise) that after collecting signatures to recall the Parliament from recess, try considering the process of impeaching president Museveni.
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written by penny stocks, July 20, 2013
That initial media blackout didn't help government at all. Atlist the who killed Nebanda is known to the creator, the deceased and the executioner? R.I.P Cerinah we shall dearly miss the youthful exuberance that you had brought parliament.
She immediately got immersed..
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She immediately got immersed in the campus political life and became president of the faculty’s student body.
...
written by Artikel lesen, July 21, 2013
Maybe it was an attempt to subdue MPs, and make them fear being critical in parliament. But I don’t think it will achieve that result. If anything, MPs are going to be even more energised and more vocal, more critical, outspoken, independent-minded and objective in debate
The kind of toxin..
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The kind of toxin that could damage her organs to the extent of bursting her pancreas and lungs is what the pathologist is investigating
The kind of toxin..
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The kind of toxin that could damage her organs to the extent of bursting her pancreas and lungs is what the pathologist is investigating
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Museveni had taken the opportunity to calm the tempers flared by some politicians insinuating foul play on the part of the government
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the sequence of events surrounding nebanda's death is more revealing than any post mortem report could ever be.
who still doesn't know what happened?
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I honestly think that some members of parliament and the speaker of the parliament have behaved very poorly and unprofessionally.
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