Masaka woman MP survives boat accident

Friday October 9 2015

Masaka District MP Freda Mubanda being rescued from

Masaka District MP Freda Mubanda being rescued from the waters of Lake Victoria after the engine of the boat in which she was travelling with others caught fire and one person died on Wednesday. Photo by Issa Aliga 

By MALIK F JJINGO & ISSA ALIGA

Masaka- The District Woman MP Freda Mubanda, four journalists and five other NRM officials on Wednesday survived a boat accident that claimed the boat operator on Lake Victoria.

The deceased has been identified as Nyindo Kabugo, a boat operator and resident of Gwamba Landing Site in Buwunga Sub-county in Masaka District.

Ms Mubanda was travelling to Gwamba Landing Site to drum up support ahead of the NRM primaries scheduled for October 26.

Others on board included; Kyesiga Sub-county NRM chairperson J.B Lwasa Tessi, Masaka District speaker Pheobe Kyewalyanga, NRM Masaka District publicity secretary Hajji Haruna Numba, and Mr John Mayanja , a political assistant to MP Mubanda.

Other survivors are journalists Henry Mukasa, who reports for Red Pepper, Issa Aliga (Daily Monitor), Jacinta Bwanika (Bukedde TV), and Frank Bwekumbule (Masaka FM).

According to Hajj Numba, the accident occurred after the boat engine got a mechanical problem while in the middle of the lake and it suddenly stopped before sparking off fire.

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In a desperate move to save lives, Hajj Numba said the boat operator jumped off but he unfortunately drowned in the lake and died on spot.

Mr Aliga said before starting the journey, the boat engine had failed to ignite, but it later started and they set off. But midway the journey, the engine failed again.

The stranded travellers were only saved by fishermen who were called from nearby Eden Landing Site using whistles attached to life-jackets and brought another boat that was used to tow the ill-fated one to the mainland.

Despite numerous lakes and rivers, Uganda’s water transport network remains risky.

Most boats are obsolete, unlicenced or uninsured and the landing sites are in bad state.

One of worst boat accident occurred on Lake Albert in March last year in which more than 100 people died and marine police confirmed then that the boat was overloaded.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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