New Year tragedy: Govt give Shs5m to families of victims

Ms Aisha Kantono, the mother of the 16-year-old Brian Musenero, being comforted by a relative at the city mortuary yesterday.

What you need to know:

  • During a media briefing held at Freedom City premises yesterday, the Vice President, Ms Jessica Alupo, said each family will receive Shs5 million.

The government has paid the families of 10 people who lost their loved ones in the New Year Eve stampede at Freedom City mall in Kampala.

During a media briefing held at Freedom City premises yesterday, the Vice President, Ms Jessica Alupo, said each family will receive Shs5 million.

Although families yesterday reported extra bodies, Ms Alupo said 18 people were evacuated from Freedom City, 10 were confirmed dead and eight others were admitted in hospitals.

“I send my sincere sympathy and condolence to the families who lost their dear ones that night and also to families whose dear one got injured and they were taken to medical facilities,” she said.

“On the instruction of His Excellency, we are here to commiserate with the members who lost their dear ones and also to extend our support of Shs5 million to each of the families that lost their dear ones so that it can support them in burial arrangements and other emergencies incurred because of the unfortunate incident,” she said.

The VP further requested the police to carry out thorough investigations and present a detailed report about what caused the stampede.

Meanwhile, Mr Asuman Ssemakula of Busega Kibumbiro, Kampala District, the uncle of Hanifah Zalwango, who lost two kids, said the incident was horrible to their family.

“We had plans to have these children during the festive season, but my son-in-law had prepared something for them. Unfortunately the next call was on the night of December 31, when he told us that his children had died, it was an unmatched tragedy to lose both children at once in such a situation,” he said.

The children were buried on Sunday in Butambala, Mpigi District, at their ancestral home.

Mr Ssemakula blamed the security on its negligence to inspect the place.

“The security should not only stop at the doorstep to check on those entering. What caused this incident is security negligence, how can you leave a lot of people in a place that was too small to occupy them! The police should make sure that they always go inside to find out if the number that has been allowed is upto the capacity of the building,’’ Mr Ssemakula said.

However, Mr Luke Oweyesigire, the Kampala Metropolitan police deputy spokesperson, said the problem was not on the event space, but rather with the master of ceremony who ordered people to go and watch the fireworks from outside.

Mr Oweyesigire added that the place has the capacity to accommodate about 20,000 people and the revellers used to watch fireworks from screens.

Past compensations

In November last year, the government extended support of Shs5m to families of 11 children who died in a school fire at Salama School for the Blind.  Survivors were given one million to cater for hospital bills. In September, the government compensated 57 victims of the 2021 bomb blasts in Kampala with Shs10 million to survivors and Shs20 million to those who lost their loved ones.  In August, the government released Shs115 million to the families of 23 people who were killed after a heavy rain caused floods in various parts of Mbale City. Each flood victim received Shs5 million as condolences from the government