My last 72 hours with NTV’s Edward Muhumuza
What you need to know:
- Nation Media Group Journalist Edward Muhumuza died in an accident on March 25, 2023.
- He had a dream of becoming the best news anchor on NTV Uganda.
On March 20, Edward Muhumuza and I were assigned to cover a story about how people affected by the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project were living in mid western Uganda. We travelled in different cars and met that evening at a hotel in the Albertine Region where we had been booked as a group.
Dinner time at 7pm, our team leader summoned us to the hotel’s restaurant where chips and goat’s meat, were the only available food.
Three settled for the meal while Eddy, myself, and a few other colleagues scouted local food elsewhere. Eddy and I sat at one table. He ordered for Chicken Luwombo, groundnut paste, matooke and millet bread (kalo).
He also asked the waitress to serve him a plentiful of vegetables, which he said was on a doctor’s recommendation.
He was jovial and foresaw himself as the next best news anchor at NTV Uganda.
“I know my dream to anchor news will come true. I want to do it at NTV because I know they will give me enough time to train so that by the time I go on air, I will be perfect,” he said.
I replied: “I trust you Eddy. You can do it. You are smart, intelligent and confident; so, go for it.”
On Tuesday, we went to Buliisa District, I sat next to him because I liked laughing at his humour. There, we interviewed project-affected persons, and proceeded to do the same in Hoima. At both places, Eddy helped translate accounts offered in Rukiga and Runyoro into English language.
In jocular banter, we asked if Eddy had also turned into a project-affected person. We all chuckled.
On Wednesday, at about 11am, we parted ways. The NTV team proceeded on another oil-related assignment and we departed for Kampala. But Eddy and I kept in touch as always.
We talked about different things. On Friday, Eddy told me that he upon return to Kampala had a coursework to hand in at 9am the next day at Nkumba University, where he was a Journalism student.
Then I proposed that we would speak later to allow him concentrate on the academic work.
His reply: “Yeah, let me finish this work. I probably won’t sleep [on Friday night]. Talk again Monday. Tomorrow [Saturday March 25], I will be out of reach. My phone is never on, on Sabbath.”
That chat appointment for today is not happening, and forever won’t because the grim reaper cut Eddy’s bubbly life and budding journalism career.
I learnt that Eddy had died in a motor crash on Saturday morning at Mpala on Entebbe expressway while on his way to Nkumba University through gory images of the accident scene posted in a WhatsApp group.
This was at 8:57am. I panicked uncontrollably and believed in hope that this was false. Or, a miracle would return Eddy to life.
In the confusion, I prayed. But nothing worked. I telephoned Eddy’s number, hoping he would receive my dial and I hear him one more time. The line rang unanswered. I texted. “Eddy, are you there? Tell me you are not dead.” No reply.
And at a funeral service at Seventh Day Adventist Kampala Central Church on Saturday evening, Eddy lay there --- motionless --- in the wooden coffin.
It’s been difficult to hold back my tears. He was a mentor, brother, colleague and a true friend.
Adieu, Edward Muhumuza!