MITYANA: Many people would sympathise and probably support any pregnant woman, more so when the pregnancy is in its advanced months.
However, 19-year-old Ritah Nabagulanyi’s ordeal portrays rather how morale decadency has taken root in society.
And a perpetrator of her ordeal is a police officer in charge of Kibuto Police Post in Mityana, whom she accuses of assault despite being eight months pregnant.
A case has been opened against the officer, according to the assistant DPC Mityana, Donat Ebunyu.
“Two suspects were arrested but they were later released after securing a police bond. Their case file was sanctioned to Resident State Attorney at the Mityana Magistrate’s Court,” Ebunyu told journalists last week.
Nabagulanyi says Mr Robert Mugabi, the accused police officer acted on orders of her father, John Patrick Bugembe, a head teacher at Kirumbi Primary School in Kiganda Sub-county in Mityana, after getting pregnant and not telling him who was responsible.
Currently, the teenager from Kileku village in Busimbi Sub-county in Mityana District can hardly walk, talk or even stand but vividly recalls events of May 24.
Whip on stomach
“My father came along with some LC officials before they dragged me to Kibutu Police Station where he ordered the OC Mugabi to beat me even after telling them the man responsible for my pregnancy,” she told Daily Monitor. “The police officer battered me with a whip aiming at the stomach which I kept protecting until I started urinating and defecating in my pants. I also vomited several times before my mother came to my rescue.”
Ms Harriet Nkugwa, a senior nursing officer, at Mityana Hospital where Nabagulanyi was examined, is sceptical on whether Nabagulanyi would be able to produce a normal baby given her condition.
“Turning her into a punching bag in her delicate condition may cause disability to the unborn baby,” Ms Nagawa said.
However, efforts to reach Mr Bugembe who Nabagulanyi alleges to have masterminded her assault were futile as all his known contacts were switched off shortly after his release on police bond. His whereabouts are not clear up to now.
The act has since raised protests from civil society organisations with Uganda National Health Users’/Consumers’ Organisation (UNHCO), a healthy rights advocacy group taking the lead to have the accused officer prosecuted.
Ms Robinah Kaitiritimba, the executive Director UNHCO, said: “As a maternal advocate group, such acts of violence against women should stop because such violence done on expectant mothers is the lead cause of most disabilities among the newly borne babies.”
Elvanson Kakande, who has been taking care of her granddaughter expressed fear that the released suspects may harm her and Nabagulanyi.
“We don’t feel secure at all. I request that police to ensure justice prevails in my granddaughter’s case and that the two are rearrested until court gives its ruling on the matter,” Ms Kakande said.
Nabagulanyi dropped out of school in S3 after her father reportedly refused to pay fees for her and her five siblings.