‘Jalia our queen of hearts’

Law Development Centre students mourn Jalia Nakiboneka at Barapwo, Lira, on Friday. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Jalia, an LDC student, was a selfless, unifier and loving person, writes Awino Mercy Abeno. 

Jalia Nakiboneka would wake up unprovoked and just go about declaring the love and support for the people she loved. I was always in awe of how big her heart was. Like how can one person have so much capacity for compassion? How could one give herself so selflessly to love? Without holding grudges, without waiting on you to reciprocate it? Without holding anything against you?

And Jalia could dance and stay up all night but be up the next morning.
How does one grieve a friend so young and full of promise? Jalia was the most open and honest person, so pure in her love for people. She loved peace and got along with everyone. I don’t know if I had a bigger cheerleader at the Law Development Centre (LDC) than Jalia. 

She would always give credit where it was due. Even when I doubted myself, she would keep reminding me how proud of me she was.

Sometimes, talking to Jalia really did make the difference in my day. I miss you, and knowing I’ll never host you again, never speak to you….

There are no words to describe the pain of losing a friend, a sister and daughter.
It still is unbelievable that you are gone and we shall never hear your boisterous laughter or see you smile and hear your voice.

It is heartbreaking to imagine a life where we don’t hear you encourage us to take a break and catch our breath, to pause and be thankful for what we have.

Studying at the LDC Lira campus was not the path that most of us ever imagined for the postgraduate programme in legal practice. However, the experience of meeting new people and creating bonds was one of the most worthwhile experiences we got while in Barapwo.

‘The glue that held us’
Jalia, a 1997 baby, lost her mother when she was quite little. Her father raised her in Namungoona. She attended Gombe Secondary School and Mbogo High School before enrolling at the Islamic University of Uganda to pursue a law degree (IUIU). On November 4, she was laid to rest in Bukandula, Katete, Gomba District.

Jalia was in my Firm, H7. She was very pivotal in our stay and interactions with each other. In a way, she was like glue that held some of us together - with her love and selflessness. She always made sure she supported her friends during moot practice and class presentations. If I had to choose to go to Lira again, just to experience Jalia one more time, I would. I really wish that were possible.

A heart so big!
Everyone that had the privilege to know Jalia had one common thing to say about her—how deeply she loved and supported her friends.

I remember a friend asking me, after an interaction with Jalia: “What kind of heart does Jalia have? How can someone have a heart so big?”

And that’s exactly how she was. Big hearted. Compassionate to a fault and genuinely interested in everyone’s welfare.

Jalia was the kind of person who did not mind that you ignored her message or was too busy to respond to her at the time. If she needed to know how you were, she would text and text again, just to see if you are doing well or find a way to make you feel better.

Her selflessness got me and other friends through some of our darkest moments. She was always present. She always supported her friends. With Jalia, there would be no doubt whatsoever that you were loved.

Her smile could light up the room and put you at ease.

Love oh love
Jalia believed in love. And her life was guided by love and compassion. There was never a point where she acted selfishly or let a person feel unloved. She took it upon herself to put herself right with people, to get out of her way to make peace with others.

Jalia had a forgiving heart. She never kept grudges and did not hold any wrong you did to her against you. She moved on fast, and she practised the “forgive and forget” principle.

One of her friends, Janat, says the most impressive thing about Jalia was that she was a practising Muslim. She did not miss any single Swala (prayer), irrespective of where she was or what she was doing at the time. She always had her veil on. She needed no reminder to serve Allah.

And now, although we have lost our friend and sister, we celebrate the life that she lived, the love that she shared and the support she gave the people around her.

Her life inspired us to hold ourselves to a higher standard, to love like she did, to be compassionate and selfless.

We have lost a cheerleader, a love so pure and a beautiful heart. We will always remember her and celebrate her.

Thank you for sharing your heart, baby girl. Thank you for teaching me compassion, how to be at peace with people, how to love openly without reserve. I’ll always hold a candle for you in my heart. Rest well.
Fare-thee-well, Jalia. Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un!  (Surely, we belong to God and verily to Him do we return).

Tragedy strikes...The incident

Jalia Nakiboneka was struck and killed by a trailer while riding on a boda boda last Thursday at Makerere, Kavule in Kampala. She was a Law Development Centre (LDC) clerkship student.

According to the police, Nakiboneka—attached to LDC Lira Campus—was a passenger travelling on a motorcycle when she was struck by a Mercedes Benz trailer at about 2:30 in the afternoon.

Nakiboneka’s passing occurs just a week after Belinda Birungi, 23, a passenger on a boda boda, was struck by a trailer on Stretcher Road in Ntinda, Kampala. Birungi was the daughter of junior Lands minister Sam Mayanja.

Boda boda accidents

According to the authorities, boda boda wrecks account for at least four of the country’s daily fatalities from road accidents, which have been widespread in recent years.
257 individuals perished in incidents in October, and boda bodas were largely to blame.

From October 1 to October 29, there were 1,378 accidents reported on various highways throughout the nation, of which 227 were fatal, 705 were serious, and 446 were minor. There were 1,232 victims in these accidents, and 257 of them died and 975 were injured.


Next week marks the start of an operation by the police to deal with rogue boda boda riders.

The police response comes after last week’s release of CCTV film that showed gruesome details of accidents involving boda boda riders.