Lives we lost: Killed on fifth day of his new job

Representational photo of deceased 17 year old Peter Mwanje, shot dead during the deadly November 18/19 violence that claimed over 50 lives. PHOTO/COURTESY. 

What you need to know:

  • On the first day of the riots, at lunchtime, Mawejje had gone to his aunt’s home, near Green Acorn Primary School to have lunch.

In the new series, we chronicle how bullets prematurely shattered the blooming dreams of dozens during two days of madness last November. In interviews with our reporter, Gillian Nantume, grieving families and friends share the triumphs, travails and final moments of relatives in a way that offers insights into the lives of victims hitherto treated as statistics.

PETER MAWEJJE
The 17-year-old was a Primary Seven pupil at Victory Primary School in Namasuba in Kampala City’s Rubaga Division.

His uncle,  Mr Charles Ntale, says: “He (Mawejje) was not very bright in class so at the end of 2019, I took him out of school with a plan of getting him work in a garage. Unfortunately, because of Covid-19, I took him to the village in Masaka District.”

A week before the riots began, Mawejje’s aunt, Mariam, called him to come and live with her in Kasasa Village, Nakabugo Parish in Buloba Town, Wakiso District.

She had found for him work in a garage and by the time he died, he had been working there for five days. Mariam does not want to talk about her nephew anymore.

The residents of Kasasa do not divulge much information about Mawejje’s death because they are living in fear from the police who have warned them not to talk about the death. 

On the first day of the riots, at lunchtime, Mawejje had gone to his aunt’s home, near Green Acorn Primary School to have lunch.
After, he walked towards the main road with the intention of getting a haircut. He was wearing a red Uganda Cranes t-shirt. 

At the main road, however, the rioting had begun and police were firing bullets and teargas to disperse the rioters. Shop and stall owners abandoned their businesses and ran behind buildings to hide.
One of them, Ms Sylvia Ssenkubuge, says Mawejje, having just strayed into the riots, did not seem to know what to do.

“As the shooting intensified, we all ran along a fence into a plantation. Since he was a week old in the town, that boy did not know what to do when bullets started flying around. While we continued running, he decided to stop and hide behind a restaurant made of iron sheets,” she says.

The restaurant is about 100 metres off the road. As he hid behind the restaurant, a policeman and an LDU personnel ran down the path, chasing the residents. When they came across Mawejje, crouching behind the restaurant, witnesses say the policeman pulled him up and the LDU personnel shot him in the stomach. It was around 3pm. 

“They did not allow anyone to approach the boy yet he was still alive. A number of policemen came to the place and fired shots to disperse the gathering crowds. The patrol car only came to remove him after he had died ---at 7pm,” Ms Ssenkubuge says.

Mawejje’s body spent one week in the mortuary as his parents searched for him in police stations on Mityana Road because he was new to the village, and many people did not know him .

He was buried in Kyamusoke Village, Nabutongwa Parish, Kalungu Sub-county in Kalungu District.

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