19 December 2012

Uganda: Nebanda Burial Stopped

The family of the late Butaleja Woman Mp Cerinah Nebanda says it will not accept the findings of a post mortem report conducted in London. ( Resource: Family Of Late Lawmaker Reject Toxicology Report )

Parliament has stopped the burial of Cerinah Nebanda, until further forensic investigations into the death have been carried out.

Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah Thursday directed that Nebanda's body be taken to Mulago Hospital, pending the forensic investigations.

The decision followed an acrimonious debate in the House that had convened to pay tribute to Nebanda, who died under unclear circumstances. The Police are still investigating the matter.

From Parliament, the body was taken to Mulago Hospital, accompanied by relatives and MPs.

The late Nebanda was earlier scheduled for burial tomorrow (Thursday) at her home in Butaleja.

During the debate, a stormy argument erupted after Parliament Commissioner, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, narrated to the House how Police had arrested and detained a pathologist commissioned to carry out forensic investigations into the death of Butaleja Member of Parliament, Cerinah Nebanda.

The Mulago Hospital pathologist, Dr. Sylvester Onzivua was arrested at the Entebbe International Airport just as he was about to fly to South Africa.

Baryomunsi, the Kinkizi East MP, narrated to parliament that he had been part of a team undertaking a postmortem process involving representatives of parliament, the deceased's family and Police.

He said since the Preliminary results of the Post-Mortem were inconclusive, it was agreed to do further forensic investigations. He explained that it was agreed to split the samples into three portions.

Police pathologist Dr. Moses Byaruhanga took the sample for police, Dr. Sam Kalungi took the samples for government pathologist and Dr. Sylvester Onvizua was given the samples for an independent examination on behalf of parliament and the deceased's family.

"We agreed that that a separate medical examination be carried out by Parliament together with the deceased's family. We were there as samples were being removed from the body in three separate sets. Parliament tasked Dr. Onzivua to go to South Africa but police intercepted him," Baryomunsi said.

Baryomunsi narrated that on Monday he received complaints from Dr. Onzivua that security people were following him and harassing on phone.

Baryomunsi said when he was attending a burial of the father of Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, he was shocked to be told by the CIID director Grace Akullo that the reason they were interrogating Dr. Onvizua is because they did not know where he had gotten the samples from.

"This compelled us to convene a meeting on Moday evening in the office of the executive director of Mulago in the presence of Dr. Bitekyerezo, Dr. Sam Lyomoki, Abdu Katuntu and representatives of police. I narrated in that meeting the genesis of the need for us to have an independent examination and we again agreed that Dr. Onzivua be allowed to go to South Africa to carry out the test," he said.

"His (Onzivua) flight was at 7:15am but 10 minutes before I called Dr. Onzivua and he told me he had been arrested by police. He told me to talk to those who had intercepted him, but the officer could say nothing. Other attempts were futile as the phone could no longer go through but later learnt that he had been arrested by police," Baryomunsi narrated as some MPs shouted shame.

Baryomunsi read to Parliament a statement issued by police spokesperson Judith Nabakoba confirming police had arrested Dr. Onzivua.

Medard Bitekyerezo, who took part process of assembling the samples, angrily said: "I witnessed the whole process of taking the samples in the postmortem room. We did it in broad day light. The samples were even sealed in plastic containers. I no longer trust my government."

When asked explain arrest of Dr. Onvizua, the minister of state for internal affairs, James Baba said, "If what Baryomunsi has narrated is correct and that Dr. Onzivua was arrested, then it was wrong to arrest him. But police is also saying all samples were supposed to be submitted to government. I am now at loss. I don't know what to say."

Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi agreed with members' proposal to carry out fresh investigations.

Vice-President Edward Ssekandi suffered the wrath of angry MPs after he referred to Baryomunsi's statements as 'irrelevant' to the debate.

His remarks sparked off protests and boos. Efforts by Oulanyah to bring order in the House fell on deaf ears until he ruled the VP out of order.

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