Mystery still shrouds the sudden death of Bulaleja Woman MP, Cerina Nebanda Arioru, 24.
Nebanda died Friday evening at Mukwaya General Hospital, Nsambya after developing acute stomach pains.
The youthful legislator known for her hard-line stance against her own ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), has been very vocal and was among the law makers lebelled ‘rebels’ within the party.
Last Thursday, Nebanda attended Parliament during President Museveni’s address on the controversial issue of oil.
President Museveni said he had intelligence information that some MPs within NRM and opposition are being used by foreign forces to scuttle government’s development plans.
Museveni claimed Shs1.5bn had been spent by ACODE, a Non-Governmental Organisation and other civil society bodies to fund MPs through workshops to oppose Clause 9 of the recently passed oil Bill.
The Clause grants super powers to the line minister to negotiate, license and revoke licenses to oil companies, but the opposing legislators’ voices were in support of such powers being granted to the envisaged Uganda Oil Authority.
In fact, Museveni said such conferences organised by foreign funded NGOs are avenues for bribing MPs, adding that he had tasked the Inspector General of Government (IGG) to investigate the matter.
After President Museveni’s speech, Nebanda reacted thus: “Uganda belongs to all of us. There is no way we can give out oil which is everyone’s concern in Uganda to just an individual [minister] just because someone [President Museveni] has ordered us to do so. For us, we shall always continue to be the voice of the voiceless when it comes to issues of national interest.
“If someone is blaming us that we are bribed in conferences, does it mean that when the President invites us to State House and Kyankwazi and afterwards we are given Shs500, 000 or Shs1m, we are bribed?”
Red Pepper has learnt that Nebanda told Lwemiyaga MP, Theodore Ssekikubo, after the President’s speech that she was itching to raise her hand during the address to respond to the President’s bribery allegations.
Museveni, during his speech, had unleashed veiled attacks on Ssekikubo as one of the ring leaders of MPs who are being used by foreign forces to fail his government.
The following day, Friday, the lebelled rebel NRM legislators led by Ssekikubo, Winfred Niwagaba, Abdu Katuntu and Vincent Kyamadidi raised Nebanda on phone to join them at a joint press conference at the Members’ Lounge at Parliament, to rebuttal Museveni’s bribery allegations.
Unfortunately, she never attended the meeting as she told her colleagues that she was attending to her sick mother at their home in Kitubulu, along Entebbe Road, and therefore could not make it.
She called her driver and asked him to driver her sick mother in her Range Rover car to hospital for treatment. She then drove her silver Progress car from Kitubulu to Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort Hotel to attend a conference.
At Munyonyo, Nebanda was allegedly served with chips and mango juice. After eating the food, she developed stomach pain and she immediately called her mother at around 11:00am and later her father at 1:00pm.
Her mother said she called her thrice. “She told me that she started feeling pain in her stomach after eating chips. She said she suspected that because she had ulcers, the oil in the chip could have exacerbated the situation, causing much pain since she was too hungry when she ate the oily food,” her sobbing mother narrated her daughter’s ordeal at Mukwaya General Hospital.
When Nebanda’s abdominal pain intensified, she called her boy friend, Adams Lou to take her to hospital. Adams obliged at arrived at Munyonyo. They drove to Adam’s home in Buziga, but Nebanda’s pain worsened.
In company of another male friend not yet identified, Adams drove to a nearby clinic, Kironde Clinic in Muyenga, for medics to check Nebanda’s condition.
At Kironde Clinic, the doctors advised Adams that Nebanda’s situation was too complicated for them to handle and instead referred them to a referral hospital. Kironde Clinic offered Adams one of its staff to help in handling Nebanda after realising she was a Member of Parliament and needed special attention.
As they were heading to St. Francis Hospital, Nsambya, Kironde Clinic staff advised that since Nebanda was losing the battle, they should branch to any nearby clinic for immediate first aid to improve her situation before proceeding to St. Francis Hospital.
That is when they branched off to Mukwaya General Hospital, Nsambya. On arrival, the Kironde Clinic staff went straight to the doctor’s office alerting him of the dire situation Nebanda was in.
Adams followed him with Nebanda’s car key and phones and allegedly dumped them on one of the hospital tables and left, leaving the Kironde Clinic staff alone with the patient. The man who was in Adams company allegedly vanished with him.
On examination by Mukwaya Hospital medics, Nebanda was pronounced dead. The deceased’s phones were then used to contact relatives and MPs to alert them of her death.
The Director of the Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Directorate (CIID), Grace Akullo arrived at Mukwaya Hospital in company of her deputy, Geoffrey Musana.
Inspector General of Police, Lt. General Kale Kayihura, also arrived at the scene together with Dr. Byaruhanga, the police head of Medical Department and they were briefed by Akullo and Musana.
Kayihura then ordered Akullo to ensure that police guarded Nebanda’s body, car and the hospital, as other detectives were dispatched to Adams’ home in Buziga to search his house.
House Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga later arrived at the scene, speechless and only said, “Let’s wait for investigations”, and left the scene.
Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, also arrived at the scene to further enforce Kayihura’s directives to guard Nebanda’s body, car and hospital.
This was not welcomed by the MPs who were present. The MPs who arrived at the scene in shock of the mysterious demise of their colleague included David Bahati, Theodore Ssekikubo, Abdu Katuntu, Justine Lumumba, Medard Sseggona among others.
Police arrested the Kironde Clinic staff for interrogation. Police later refused to comment on the matter, referring journalists to Kayihura. Journalists were also barred from accessing the room where Nebanda’s body was lying.
Her body was later transferred to Mulago Hospital for postmortem. By the time we wrote this piece, the toxicological report was not yet out to ascertain the cause of her death.
Additional Reporting by By Stuart Yiga and Ambrose Kibuuka