Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |
There was drama at All Saints Cathedral, Kampala as two families fought for the body of lawyer Bob Kasango. The casket containing his remains was grabbed from the A-Plus pallbearers by a group of relatives from Tororo District in Eastern Uganda.
The relatives encircled the process minutes after a funeral service and demanded to know where the body was being taken. In Church, it had been announced that the Kasango was to be buried at Gweri village in Kabarole District on Thursday. Mourners were advised to take the Kamwenge road, which is about 2 kilometres from Fort Portal City.
The group of youths who said they were Kasango’s brothers started a scuffle forcing the funeral service team to cancel the viewing session and load the casket in a waiting funeral van. Within a moment, the hearse was surrounded by the youth who were supported by the deceased’s mother, Rose Kabise, who insisted that her son cannot be buried at the in-law’s place in Fort Portal.
The funeral team looked stuck when the youths grabbed the body and loaded it on a waiting canter truck which sped off at breakneck speed. James Kasango, who said he was the deceased’s elder brother said burying Kasango in Tooro was disrespectful and tantamount to lowering their dignity. They insisted that Kasango’s body was going to be taken to their ancestral home at Wikusi village, West Budama Constituency, in Tororo district.
But the widow, Nice Bitarabeho Kasango and her relatives insisted that the deceased willed that he should be buried at his own home in Fort Portal. Some of the in-laws said all efforts would be applied to ensure Kasango is buried in his land in Fort Portal.
Reports indicate that police had intercepted the truck on which the Tororo relatives had loaded the body. Police had not yet established the news about the intercepted truck.
Earlier in the service, the Ugandan Prisons Services were by relatives to be responsible for the death of Lawyer Bob Kasango by his family and friends.
The widow of deceased has blamed his death directly on the negligence of Luzira Prison leadership.
Nice Bitarabeho said Kasango’s condition started deteriorating on Friday evening but he was not accorded the necessary medical attention despite her having alerted them about the gravity of his condition.
Bitarabeho, who addressed mourners on Tuesday during a funeral service at All Saints, said Kasango started complaining of severe chest pain and spitting blood on Friday but he did not get a doctor until Saturday at noon.
“I received a phone call that Bob was complaining of chest pain and spitting blood. It was around 8pm. I told the people at Luzira that he needed to see a doctor. I kept calling to know whether the doctor had come but they told me he would come on Saturday at midday. I told them his condition had happened before and he therefore needed oxygen,” Bitarabeho said.
Bitarabeho said for all the time she was pleading with Luzira Prison leaders, her husband was in a clinic in Upper Prison. Kasango, according to his wife, was shifted from Upper Prison clinic to Murchison Bay hospital when he was in critical condition.
“Uganda Prisons Service had no capacity to handle Bob’s condition. It is not true that Bob died when he was being taken to a better hospital. He died from Luzira. I pleaded and even knelt begging doctors to put him on oxygen but they always thought he was faking his condition,” Bitarabeho said.
Uganda Prisons Spokesperson, Frank Baine, on Saturday told Uganda Radio Network –URN that Kasango died as he was being transported from Murchison Bay to Mulago National Referral Hospital for further treatment.
“It’s true he has been sick, he has died of heart-related problems,” said Mr Baine. “I have just talked to the doctor and I have been told that he has died while being taken to Mulago.”
The widow also castigated the courts that declined to grant him chance to be treated outside Uganda as his doctors had recommended.
Bitarabeho said Ugandan hospitals could have operated his heart but she was advised that his condition needed specialized post-surgery care which he could not get in Uganda.
Kasango was serving a 16-year jail term handed to him in 2018 after he was found guilty of theft of 15.4 Billion Shillings which was intended to clear more than 6,000 pensioners.
The deceased’s children led by first born Samara Paul Kasango Junior described him as a person who cared for his family and was jolly even in circumstances that seem worrying.
The daughter, Stefanie Gracia Karungi Kasango, promised to emulate his legal intellect.