Fresh details emerging from the brutal murder of Maria Nagirinya Gateni and her driver Ronald Kitayimbwa indicate she had been trailed by men who used a bodaboda.
Close family friends and relatives also told our reporter that a man who was caught on CCTV footage driving Nagirinya on Wednesday night at around 3:05 am along Kinawataka road had been seen at the deceased’s gate three times.
We learnt from a close relative that Nagirinya had confided in one of her sisters that she was forced to abandon a project she had been assigned at her office after she received threats.
She had also confided how a strange man had accosted her in February at her popular joint in Rubaga.
On Wednesday, August 28, Nagirinya left her home at Lungujja for training at the offices of Community Integrated Development Initiatives (CIDI), a non-governmental organization that deals in the water and sanitation sub-sector in Muyenga, Kampala.
According to her workmate, Rose Mwambazi, at around 2:00 pm, Nagirinya, who worked as a project manager, left the training room after the function without even having her meal because she was not feeling well, entered her car and drove off.
“We didn’t know where she was going,” Mwambazi said.
Dr Ben Mukwaya, Nagirinya’s uncle and Buganda’s kingdom health minister, said that since it was late and she was not feeling well, Nakiyinja contacted Kitayimbwa to come and drive her visitors back home.
Mukwaya said Kitayimbwa had known Nagirinya through Nakiyinja. Kitayimbwa had also been operating as a bodaboda rider. Details indicate that Kitayimbwa had already reached home and he contacted a colleague, Godfrey Ssennoga, to take him to Nakayinja’s home. The three then set off from Nalumunye at around 10:30 pm on Wednesday night and they drove straight to Nsambya, where they dropped Nagirinya’s aunt before they proceeded to Lungujja.
Nagirinya’s younger sister said just before she reached their gate in Lungujja, she called her and asked to open the gate. The kidnap An eyewitness said the thugs who had been trailing the car on a motorbike then approached the driver when the vehicle stopped outside the gate, pulled him out of his seat and put him in the car boot.
According to the initial reports by the younger sister, by the time she opened the gate, she saw two men shifting Nagirinya from the front to the back seat. She was wailing on top of her voice, asking them to leave her alone. However, they overpowered her and sped off with her in the car.
Her sister tried to run after the car but it was too late. She immediately contacted her father, Francis Anthony Lubowa, who was in Nsambya at the time.
At around 6 am (Thursday morning), nothing much had yielded from the Police investigations. Lubowa said no officer attended to them at Katwe and they all decided to go back home and wait for fate.
He noted that throughout Thursday morning, nobody from the Police communicated to the family and they decided to approach the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI).
“We met the deputy director of CMI who was helpful. He recorded our statements and immediately set to work,” Mukwaya said.
“On Thursday, at around 6:00pm we received a call from a lady who introduced herself as Ahumuza from the Police Flying Squad. She told us they had obtained Nagirinya’s phone printouts but that it was late and that they would start working on the matter on Friday. I was left wondering how our Police works. This was an emergency and why were they behaving like this,” Ahumuza wondered.
At around 1:00 pm on Friday, Mukwaya received a call from a friend in Mukono who told him that two bodies — male and female — had been found dumped at Nakitutuli village in Nama sub-county on the Mukono-Kayunga road.
“I sent a relative who indeed confirmed it was Nagirinya’s body,” Mukwaya said. Nagirinya’s father is still in shock and wonders why one would kill his daughter. He also said he was sure his daughter had not committed any offence. “In my life, I have had no quarrel with anybody,” he says.
Lubowa indicated that it was also rather unfortunate that they had decided to kill the driver who was innocent. By press time, it was not yet clear which leads the investigators were following even though Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango indicated that they had arrested one suspect over the matter.