Lives we lost: Mechanic shot while buying food

What you need to know:

  • The soldier, thinking the stone had come from the garage, jumped off the patrol car, opened the garage door and shot twice. One bullet grazed an old man in the back, while the second bullet hit Mawejje in the stomach.

In the last instalment of this 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.

SUUDI MAWEJJE

 He was a mechanic at Katimba garage in Katwe,  Makindye Division, Kampala City. The 35-year-old father of four had two wives – one in Kyengera and another one in Makindye. He lived in Kyengera in the rentals his grandfather owned.

His second wife Catherine Nuwasiima says Mawejje was a football fanatic.
“He was calm, but he loved making practical jokes. He had not yet built a house; we were just trying to develop our lives. His first wife was out of the country and she returned after we buried him,” she says.

When the riots began, the police fired teargas and bullets to disperse the rioters.
“Two patrol cars had parked a few feet away and the soldiers were shooting in the direction of Ring Road. When they turned their guns to our side, everyone scattered for safety. We ran into different garages and hid,” Ms  Nuwasiima, who works in a restaurant next to the garage where Mawejje worked, says.

She adds that Military Police entered Katimba garage and began chasing those who were hiding among the cars.  “My husband jumped over the fence and run into the garage next door and hid there. When the chaos died down at 2.30pm, he left his hiding place and entered a restaurant in the same building and started to make an order for food. Outside, some boys near Kakumba Complex began throwing stones at the soldiers,” she says.

The soldier, thinking the stone had come from the garage, jumped off the patrol car, opened the garage door and shot twice. One bullet grazed an old man in the back, while the second bullet hit Mawejje in the stomach.

“He was still standing near the saucepans. He held his stomach and asked those standing around him if he had been shot. Then, he fell down. His friends say the soldier, after shooting said, ‘Oyo tumumaze (Literally translated as: We have finished that one).’

The soldier got onto the patrol truck and it drove off. As Mawejje’s friends braved the outdoors to find a car to take him to hospital, another group of soldiers arrived and began beating up anyone they found outside.

At Kiruddu Hospital, the group was sent away, and they drove to Mulago hospital. Mawejje died on the operating table. He was buried in Namulesa Village, Mafubira Sub-county in Jinja District. Although officials from the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) visited Ms Nuwasiima, no police officer or government official has visited her.

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