Saturday January 18 2014

Bitama DNA tests fail to prove father

Peter Njegula (L) claims to be Bitama’s father. Bitama (R), who is at the centre of controversy.

Peter Njegula (L) claims to be Bitama’s father. Bitama (R), who is at the centre of controversy.  



The DNA tests carried out on deceased comedian Paddy Bitama’s body parts at the government’s analytical lab have failed to prove who the true father is.

The samples have been taken to Nairobi for further tests. This means the two families will have to wait a little longer to get the truth and also for the burial to take place as it is dependent on the outcome of the DNA tests. The matter has become more complicated after it emerged that the treatment of the body before the samples were extracted could render the whole process futile.

Two senior pathologists privy to Bitama’s DNA examination told Saturday Monitor the tests could not yield conclusive results because the samples were extracted after the body had been treated with formalin, which destroys genes that show paternity. “Formalin treated samples are incapable of providing the correct results because the nucleus inside the cell is already destroyed by the treatment,” said the pathologist, who declined to be named.

Alternative tests
Another pathologist said only a Y-chromosome test could help to resolve the impasse.
According to the expert, samples of Bitama’s offspring would be acquired and matched against those of the two families claiming the deceased’s body.

Another challenge that made the problem more complicated at the Government Analytical Laboratories (GAL) under the Ministry of Internal Affairs was lack of reagents to use in the testing.

Ms Pamela Ankunda, the ministry’s spokesperson, admitted the government lab was unable to do the tests due to lack of the reagents but added the procurement for the items was underway. By midday yesterday, friends of the late Bitama and the two families claiming his paternity were anxiously waiting for the results, unaware of the latest complications in the tests.

Bitama worked as a radio presenter but made his name as an actor and comedian. He died last weekend but he could not be buried after two men claimed him as their son. This prompted a DNA test, which has since proved inconclusive.

In 2011 Bitama attempted to stand for presidency but failed the nomination process. He was a founding member of the comedy outfit, Amarula Family. A member of the group, Nicholas Mpeirwe known by his stage name Messe told this newspaper they were expecting the DNA results any time.