Family accuses police of abandoning own officer

Esther Kansime is helped by her mother and son to walk after a press conference in Mbale City in April. She  joined the Uganda Police Force in 2006 Photo/Yahudu Kitunzi

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Esther Kansime allegedly died of injuries she sustained after a house in the police barracks collapsed on her

The police are on spot for allegedly abandoning  one of their own after a house collapsed on her at Mbale Police Barracks.

Special Police Constable (SPC) Esther Kansime, 36, attached to Mbale Central Police Station, sustained serious injuries after her house collapsed on April 12, 2021.

Kansime died on Wednesday last week at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital where she was rushed after her health deteriorated.

She was buried in Nalondo Village in Manafwa District on Monday.

She had been in and out of hospital with reportedly no financial support from her employer.

The deceased’s mother, Ms Irene Muyama, told the Daily Monitor that they were unable to take her for better treatment because they couldn’t afford the fees.

“My daughter never received any serious treatment or help from the police who employed her. You can imagine she got injuries after being hit by a house belonging to Uganda Police Force,” Ms Muyama said.

She added that Kansime had become disabled.

A senior police officer at Mbale Central Police Station, who requested not to be named to speak freely, said the house that hit Kansime had several cracks.

“She sustained several bruises, painful ribs, and a swollen leg, among other injuries. She needed better medication. She was referred to visit better specialists but when she tried asking for help from police headquarters, they ignored her,” he said.

A September 10, 2021 medical report by Mbale Regional Referral Hospital indicated that the deceased had difficulty passing stool, after the accident.

Ms Muyama added that she failed to raise money to transport the body to Manafwa for burial.

“It is the deceased’s friends who helped in fundraising to raise the money which helped me to transport the body to the village for burial. Police did nothing regarding my daughter’s sickness and death,” she said

In an interview with Daily Monitor in April , Kansiime said after the incident she was rushed to the Police Health Centre III for medical attention but was later referred to Mbale Regional Referral Hospital due to the seriousness of the injuries.

“At Mbale hospital, I was told to buy my drugs. When I tried to raise the issue with my bosses, they didn’t help me. Instead, they kept tossing me left and right despite my efforts to approach different senior officers both in Mbale and Kampala,” she said.

When contacted in the same month to comment on the matter Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said he would look into the matter.

 However, on Monday, Mr Enanga said there is no proof that the victim’s death was a result of the house collapsing on her.

“She had a chronic illness that was in advanced stages. The mother and the deceased went to police headquarters for a refund but the medical attachments were not certified by any major hospital in Mbale, apart from a few of them, which was a requirement for audit purposes,” he said, adding welfare office managed to organise a refund based on the supportive receipts.

 Mr Enanga said on August 9, the deceased developed complications of severe headache while in the barracks.

“She was transported to Mbale hospital where she was admitted. The cause of death was established as liver failure,” Mr Enanga said.

In March, Parliament’s Defence and Internal Affairs Committee decried the dilapidated state of Mbale police houses. The committee members said the houses are not fit for habitation.