Lives we lost: Storekeeper was watching news about protests

What you need to know:

It was 7.15pm. The old man opened the door an inch to call for help, but he quickly closed and locked it when he saw policemen standing outside. He called his bosses, who then called the local leaders.

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.

AYUB KONGOLA

The 42-year-old father of 12 was a guard and caretaker of a produce store in Kiganda Zone, Kisenyi II Parish, Kampala City. His oldest child is 22 years old.

The owner of the store, Ms Mabel Nanyonga, says Kongola was also a jack of all trades.
“He used to sleep in the store. He had been working for me for eight years and he was a very trustworthy man. He was a man who never engaged in conversation, unless it was about football,” she says.

The second day of the rioting (Thursday) found Kongola in Kisenyi, outside the store. His boss and her sister decided to leave early and advised him to lock the store to keep out looters.

“There is an old man who also slept in the store. He told us that they locked themselves inside, and sat down to watch NTV Akawungeezi at 7pm, to see how people were rioting in Kampala. Kongola was sitting next to the closed door, on a low stool,” Ms Nanyonga says.

As the two men watched the news, they began eating their supper of roasted meat. They heard gunshots outside but thought it was teargas.

“Kongola fell down and the old man thought he was taking cover so that he would not inhale the teargas. Then, he saw the blood running down Kongola’s right temple. The bullet had penetrated the closed door,” Ms Nanyonga says.

It was 7.15pm. The old man opened the door an inch to call for help, but he quickly closed and locked it when he saw policemen standing outside. He called his bosses, who then called the local leaders.

Kongola was buried on Kaliro Road in Iganga District. His brother, Mr Nasser Kongola, says no government official has approached the family, although police officials from Old Kampala Police Station have come to the store twice to investigate.

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