“My son was killed because of tribalism,” Mr Plan Mugisha, the father of slain Arnold Ainebyona Mugisha, told mourners during a funeral service at All Saints Cathedral Nakasero, Kampala, yesterday and called on government to fight tribalism in the country before it is too late.
Ainebyona, 26, was shot on Tuesday by Mr Moses Ongoria, a private security guard with Saracen Uganda at Quality Shopping Village in Namugongo near Kampala.
“I believe my son was shot because he is a Munyankore. Arnold did not even know he is a Munyankore because the language he speaks is Luganda. The man who shot him is not the one who quarrelled with him,” Mr Mugisha said.
He did not elaborate what led him to conclude his son was killed because of his tribe.
Mr Mugisha said on Tuesday, he was heading to northern Uganda when he received a call from one of his sons telling him that Ainebyona had been shot.
“I had just reached Uganda Museum when I saw the young man calling and calling but I could not hear. When I called back, he told me Arnold had been shot. I told the driver to turn back. I told him to put double lights [hazard lights] and drive on the right hand side of the road. I drove to Independent Hospital and found him dead,” Mr Mugisha recounted.
He said Arnold, in the company of his two younger brothers, Aaron and Andrew, left home in Kiwatule in Ntinda for Marcus Gym near Quality Supermarket, hoping to pass by the supermarket to buy water.
“So they went with empty bottles [water dispensers] so that they could buy water on their way back. They were still in their gym clothes, they went to the supermarket and bought four bottles. They rolled the trolley and put the water [dispensers] in the boot. I am sure even the water is still where it was put,” a distraught Mr Mugisha told mourners.
“After putting the water [dispensers] in the boot, the trolley rolled and hit another car. Can you imagine a trolley that does not weigh 5kg hitting [damaging] a car! That is when the guard approached and there was an exchange. The quarrel was to remove the key [from the ignition hole of the car].
He started boxing them. That is when the other guard picked a gun and shot Arnold. [On Monday evening] I was watching football; it was Ghana versus Tunisia. He came and told me he was not a football fan and excused himself and went to sleep. Those were the last words I heard from him,” Mr Mugisha said of his last communication with his son.
In her eulogy, the mother said she would not mourn her son or even seek government help but look up to God.
There was no representative from government at the funeral service.
Earlier, Maj Gen Ambrose Musinguzi, the uncle of the deceased, likened private guards to the unruly and heinous Mai Mai militia based in eastern DR Congo that kill at will.
“There are many questions that the police who are in charge of private security have to answer. Who are these criminals who are trained one day and are given guns? Go to Kenya, guards do not have guns. Here, everybody has a gun. This incident happened, it should not happen again,” Maj Gen Dr Musinguzi said.
He also attacked social media enthusiasts for posting ‘reckless and distorted’ information and comments without verifying. He described them as “hopeless.”
“We had the police, why don’t you wait for the police report instead of just writing?” Maj Gen Musinguzi wondered.
The Rev Dr Medard Birungi Bya Yesu, the managing director of World Shine Ministries International and the preacher of the day, ascribed Ainebyona’s killing to failure to manage anger.
“This nation is so angry, some people have rhinoceros anger, others elephant anger, cobra anger and others have volcanic anger, they erupt,” he said, triggering suppressed laughter from the mourning congregation.
“One day, I went to counsel a couple. The man got so angry, he picked up a stool and smashed the TV and a window. As I stood up to leave, the wife said reverend, if you were not here, you cannot imagine where the stool would have landed,” the Rev Dr Birungi narrated.
He called on Mr Mugisha to forgive Mr Ongoria, so that like the Biblical Job, God can restore what he lost. He called on government to teach pupils, couples, politicians and civil servants and others how to manage anger.
Referring to his sermon “Trusting in God amidst death,” the prelate described life as a book.
“Some people have 20 pages, others 30 and others 50, but one day the book comes to an end like that of Arnold,” he counselled.
The Rev Dr Birungi comforted the bereaved family to stay strong like Job in the Bible, who lost his wealth, children, got sick, lost friends and marriage but never stopped trusting in God.
“I encourage parents, you have lost Arnold but like Job, continue trusting in the Lord. In all the circumstances, Job said he was born naked and naked would he return,” the Rev Birungi preached, urging mourners to desist from pursuing material wealth.
About Arnold Ainebyona Mugisha
Birth. Born March 9, 1993, in Masindi District.
Education. He attended Kampala Kindergarten, Kibuli Secondary School for O-Level and King’s College Budo for A-Level.
He later went to Oxford Brookes University in the UK for his first degree in Real Estate Finance and Management and later Reading University for Master of Science (Real Estate Finance) also in the UK.
Career. After studies, he worked with Knight Frank and later conceived the idea to start an upscale leisure centre, Hickory Bar and Restaurant, in Kololo, Kampala.
What some Mourners say...
Charles Lwanga, a senior property manager at Knight Frank, described him as a very good employee who worked hard for the company. “He always hit his targets and was very ambitious, a team builder and would always deliver,” Mr Lwanga said.
“My heart is broken I do not know what to say. I never thought your life would end this way. I do not know how we will carry on from here,” Aaron Mugisha, a brother to the deceased, told mourners.