Inferno: Stench of death hangs heavy in Bukasa

Luyombya’s first three daughters (L-R) - Phoebe Nalubega, Nelida Namatovu and Christine Nanjeeri. The two boys are Luyombya’s sons who perished in the fire. Photos | Courtesy

What you need to know:

  • An inferno that swept through the house at around 2am on the fateful morning killed Steven Luyomba, Doreen Nafula and their three children— Simei Matovu, Edith Nayiga and Andrew Lubega.

November 23 remains a dark day for residents of Yoka Zone, Bukasa Parish, Makindye Division, in Kampala City after a fire outbreak claimed the lives of five members from one family.

An inferno that swept through the house at around 2am on the fateful morning killed Steven Luyomba, Doreen Nafula and their three children— Simei Matovu, Edith Nayiga and Andrew Lubega.

“The more we learn about the fire, the more devastating the story becomes. We have not recovered from this tragedy yet,” Ms Jane Namugenyi, a close-door neighbour of the family told this publication.

Investigations are still ongoing as per Mr Michael Komakech, the chairperson in-charge of defence in Yoka Zone, Bukasa Parish.

“Police in Kabalagala assured us that they are taking charge and investigations are underway,” he revealed, adding, “Also, other officials from various bodies have visited the remains of the home and we await their feedback into the matter.”

The patriarch

Born in Kitintale-Mbuya in 1972, Luyombya —the patriarch of the house—was the eighth of Andrew Muddu and Betty Namutebi’s 15 children. Growing up, Luyombya moved to live with his sister—Pheabe Namuyombya. Together, they would hustle at their place on Martin Road base in Kampala. A sports lover, Luyombya tried a hand at both football and boxing in the 1990s.

However, his asthmatic condition left him grappling with chest pains after boxing sessions. He had to settle for a career as a boxing coach. At the time of his death, he was working as a builder.

Luyombya met his first wife in the 1990s. She, however, died before him, but not before they had two daughters—Christine Nanjeeri and Nelida Namatovu born in 1994 and 1996, respectively. Luyombya is survived by these two daughters and another—Phoebe Nalubega—who he sired with another woman.

Lady of the house

Luyombya met Nafula while the latter was in tailoring school. The chemistry was almost instant. The lady who was born in 1987 in Busia would start a family with Luyombya. Despite running into a tailwind here and headwind there, they stuck it out—eventually having two children—Nayiga and Lubega.

Simei Matovu, who also perished in the November 23 inferno, was not Nafula’s biological child but her husband’s. Matovu, 15, and Nayiga, 13, were  Primary Seven vacists from St Joseph’s Kisugu Primary and Nursery School. Lubega, aged eight, was in Primary Three at St Cecilia and Paul Primary School, Bukasa. The family of five was laid to rest on November 24 in Nakasongola District.

Stephen Luyombya and Andrew Muddu

What they say

Pheabe Namuyomba, Luyombya’s sister. My brother was hardworking. With his small resources, he managed to put up a structure for his family and look after his children and wife over the years. Because we spent a lot of time together, we each confided in the other and he was my great adviser just like I was to him.

Jane Namugenyi, neighbour.

The late family was a composition of what a rightful family should be. Stephen and Doreen groomed their children with a lot of good manners and values. They always respected everyone and related well with their peers. Doreen loved sharing, she helped me settle in well here when I was a new occupant of the area.

Christine Nanjeeri, Luyombya’s daughter. Our father was everything, but above all he prioritised togetherness among his children. Although we were six children from different mothers, he wanted us to be one. When our mother died, our father’s wife, Doreen, took us on as her own.

Margret Kyakuwa (Simei & Edith’s teacher). My children were well behaved children. Edith was a bit reserved and calm, so I didn’t get to engage a lot with her. But Simei was close to me. We found him very talented in construction works, which he used to do to help himself with some school requirements. After his PLE, he asked to stay at school in the boarding section because he had earlier reported insecurity at home from the community. He was, however, picked up by the mother.

Nathan Ndawula (Simei and Edith’s former classmate)

Edith and Simei were my friends both at school, class and at home because we were neighbours. We always played together and read together for school exams. They were my best friends because we lived together as neighbours at home and studied together in school. I will forever miss my friends.

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