By Mike Ssegawa
Mukono district has some of the toughest political tackles in the country. It is also not uncommon to hear politicians fearing for lives. Poison or gun assassinations are also a familiar narrative in the muddy waters of Mukono’s political terrain.
In the last elections, Area MP Betty Nambooze reported attacks on her life, and scores of her supporters’ nursed wounds. Before that, central division boss Jamil Kakembo said he was poisoned. In Mukono South, Mayanja Ssenyonga allegedly survived a gun attack ahead of polls in February. All that happened before Nambooze again feared she had been poisoned leading to her hospitalization in South Africa.
Unfortunately, none of these claims have been investigated to their conclusion. And no one has been brought to book over the allegations and counter claims.
Now all of the sudden, the storm is up. An upcoming, youthful, vibrant politician who apparently was about to nail the local government bosses over corruption deals amounting to a billion shillings, was found dead last weekend. Some people say, she was electrocuted in her house, others hold, she was killed deliberately. However, no post-mortem report has been produced yet to confirm any of the claims. However, the heat is back in the district political circles.
On Tuesday, DP Mukono district administrator Kawesa Kawesa announced that the party had suspended the spokesman of the party in the municipality Nsamba Peter for being accomplice in antagonizing the investigations into the cause of Jameo “Regina” Ndagire’s death.
Kawesa said Nsamba was “suspended from post due to abuse of office and conspiring with government to try bar investigation and true cause of Council lot Ndagire’s death. The deputy, Namugera, takes on the post henceforth”.
Nsamba’s suspension is backed by Mrs Nambooze who says “anybody who gets compromised when it comes to lives of our leaders and members must face disciplinary action…there is no excuse whatsoever on this….you side with people who want to cover up murder…that is so terrible.”
The late Ndagire who was nicknamed “Little Nambooze” as her budding political career was built on rare courage, could have died young, but her short life has counted with testimonies coming forth telling of a towering young woman that was robbed by death a full life. Life so promising.
In so doing, Uganda has lost another fighter for the good of the common man. Uganda is indeed a short of one person, a rare caliber.
Ndagire was a councilor at Mukono Central Division. She was a darling in the Democratic Party and one of the blue-eyed girls and lieutenants of area legislator Betty Nambooze. No wonder, the people that saw her zeal for political activism had baptized her “Little Nambooze”. You could remember that Nambooze is a fire brand Mukono politician popular for being vocal on human rights and political space, to a point of telling the emperor how naked he is – if need be. That was Ndagire.
Ndagire was elected to Mukono Central Division Council early this year, and has used her short stint to scrutinize budgets of the local government.
According to people who knew her, she raised the tough questions without fear or favour.
The 28 year old was found dead in her house in Kigombya, in Mukono Municipality. Her lifeless body was on her bed, and already decomposing. She had died almost three days back.
Ndagire was buried at her home in Naggalama, on Kayunga Road, on Sunday, amidst a political storm, high tempers and finger pointing.
Born to Katumba Yusuf and Nabaggala Harriet, Ndagire attended Naggalama Islamic for primary education, and Zion S.S.S for O level before joining Excel S.S.S for A’ level. Through DP education scheme, the councilllor has picked applications and she was due to enroll for studies at Nkozi University to further her education something that pointed to her future ambitions.
She is survived with one boy child, Jona Kyessea,6.
Ndagire joined DP as a Uganda Young Democrat in 2005 while in school and was Ggulu ward delegate in the DP constituency assembly, according to the party’s Vice President Buganda region, Nambooze.
“She has been one of the most active DP youth and women in Mukono,” she adds.
Ndagire came to be known as Regina in her political work owing to the fact that she temporaliry became a Christian as she prepared for marriage, but, plans didn’t come through, so she returned to her muslim faith. Her name therefore was Ndagire Jameo, although people continued to call her by her adopted name “Regina”.
Ndagire has left a storm in Mukono. There are quarters that are not satisfied with her death. The cracks eclipsed even the Resident District Commissioner David Matovu and Mukono Central Division Chairman Jamil Kakembo who were almost lynched by the angry mob, on suspicion they had a role in the death of the vibrant councilor, who had questioned them on abuse of office.
Assistant Town clerk Ssemyalo Ismail was also rescued and evacuated by police from the burial venue at Ndagire’s parents’ home in Naggalama.
Ndagire died young, but, her star would inspire something good for Mukono, or, something ugly in one of the fastest growing towns in Uganda.
It was in the film Brave Heart that actor turned producer/director Mel Gibson said; the brave may not live for forever, but the cautious will never live at all. Ndagire lived her full life. Short as it was.