Friday January 11 2013

MP Nebanda’s death contradictions and non-cancerous enlargements

By Augustine Ruzindana

Augustine Ruzindana Let me wish my readers a Happy and Prosperous New Year belatedly because I and some other columnists had to take a forced Christmas break from December 19 until January 8. For whatever it takes, I am going to make some comments on the untimely, suspicious death of the late young MP, Cerinah Nebanda.

My first surprise was the similarity of the headlines in the Sunday papers, the Daily Monitor and New Vision which looked like an insertion by the same source, both announcing the probable cause of death as an overdose of drugs/narcotics. I was amazed and angry that a young person could be so casually defamed before any investigations had been carried out.

Whereas the use of these substances is said to be common among young people these days, where the reputation of a person is concerned it is always prudent that care must be taken before any public announcement on such matters is made. Fortunately, but also surprisingly the laboratory test results came out confirming the initial uninvestigated announcements. But the report was released by authorities who had nothing to do with the handling of the samples (pathologists, lab where the tests were carried out) throughout the process.

And then the results themselves have been thrown in doubt by the star suspect, Adam Kalungi (who was said to have been extradited from Kenya without going through an extradition process), who contrary to the laboratory findings of cocaine, chloroquine (out of use and unavailable in Uganda for sometime now) and other concoctions, said that the cause of death was inhaling heroin instead of taking it through an injection or swallowing it in tablet form.

Secondly, Kalungi inferred that Nebanda could not distinguish heroin from cocaine, thus casting doubt on her characterisation as a habitual drug taker. How could she wrongly take heroin by inhalation, confusing it for cocaine if she had used these substances a number of times or frequently as alleged?

The final surprise or contradiction is the recent behaviour within the family. The family, particularly the mother, was incensed by the suspicious behaviour of regime personalities and agencies. The mother even publicly tore the condolence message of the President, a rather unfortunate act but which could be excused taking into account the grief of a bereaved mother. Despite the verbal and physical remonstrations that have been seen on TV and other media for the last few weeks, when the by-election to replace Nebanda was announced, the family have elected to offer the elder sister to run on the NRM ticket and this time the mother was seen beaming with happiness when her other daughter was nominated to contest in the NRM primaries. It will be another surprise if she loses the NRM nomination and then an attempt is made to make her stand as an independent.

Finally during the enforced “Christmas break” I could not alert “Movember” that their commendable activities of “Movember” which are about sensitisation of men about prostate cancer should also include prostate enlargement that is not cancerous. The prostate is an organ, found in men only, under the base of the bladder and the urethra runs through it.

The prostate starts slow continuous growth at puberty and has no effect on the functions of the bladder until a certain age and then the large size of the prostate may affect the frequency of visiting the bathroom for short calls. If this happens, a man should definitely see a doctor. But even before any such symptoms occur every man above 50 years should at least once a year take a prostate test.

Prostate enlargement is not cancer, nor does it necessarily increase the chances of developing prostate cancer. However, it is possible to have prostate enlargement and prostate cancer at the same time. I have a personal testimony as my prostate was found enlarged several times its normal size. On December 12, I underwent successful prostate surgery in a hospital in Nairobi, however, I did not take enough rest and I ended up in hospital in Kampala with complications that needed in-patient management.

In fact Christmas almost found me resident in a hospital. I was found without cancer. That is why I would like to recommend to the “Movember” prostate cancer activists to include prostate enlargement treatment among their sensitisation activities.

Mr Ruzindana is a former IGG and former MP.