It was sorrow and tears as Journalism and Communication students of Makerere University bade farewell to their course mate Charity Komuhangi, who was a fourth year student.
Komuhangi was laid to rest on Friday at her ancestral home in Kitimba Village near Katobo Trading Center, Nyakagyeme Sub County, Rujumbura County in Rukungiri District, South Western Uganda. She was survived by her 2-year-old baby boy.
Her death followed her involvement in a fatal accident on June 11, 2016 at Lungujja in Kampala, when the boda boda she was moving on to her afternoon prayers collided with a car, and consequently, all her limbs were broken except one arm. She was rushed to Lubaga hospital where she received initial medication before being taken to Case Clinic where she breathed her last, on June 15.
While praying for the remains of the deceased from Nyakagyeme Catholic Church in Rukungiri district, Rose Bakahikirwa, the sister to Komuhangi said that doctors told them she had profusely lost blood, had a swelling on the brain and the general body swelling, which she said, caused her sudden death.
"When they said that there was no blood at Nakasero blood bank, to eneble an operation Makerere students led by her close friend and course mate, Davidson Ndyabahika, ran an online campaign to get her blood. On Tuesday, people turned up and donated blood that was five times more than she needed... but all in vain, my has sister left me," Bakahirwa narrated before breaking down into tear, adding that the death was too soon given the fact that they had just lost their brother ,only identified as Tom, last year
Komuhangi's course mates, lecturers from daprtment of Journalism and Communication at Makerere, former students from Immaculate Heart and the community members described her as person who will never be replaced in their lives for her excellent personal attributes.
Ndyabahika said: "There is no person who was so loving like Komuhangi. She was my best friend, always a reserved and calm lady. I remember after giving birth, she couldn't easily attend some classes, but I could make sure I discuss for her what we could study to enable her do the course works.
"I was the first person to be called when she got an accident because my contact was the first in the frequently contacted calls in her phone... we shall miss you dearly and may the good lord grant your soul an everlasting peace."
Sandra Ahamya, a fourth year student of Law at Makerere Univeristy recalled that she met Komuhangi while in her A level at Immaculate Heart Girls' school and they had since remained close friends since.
"Even though we were doing different courses, we had remained ttightigh friends because she is irresistible. After giving birth to her baby boy, she called me to be the boy's spiritual mother, and when I told her that I don't have money qualify for the position, she just smiled and said that my money is not what she needs but my care for the baby... I'm going to keep looking after him till he is grown because her mother asked me for that," Ahamya tearfully said.
On behalf of the Journalism and Communication department, Dr Patricia Litho said that Komuhangi's departure was so heartbreaking and unbelievable, adding that "may the Almighty God comfort the family and friends". The department student's body contibuted Shs 800,000, and the university offered a Costa bus to transport students to an from Rukungiri.
Jelder Derrick Ssenyonga, a fellow course mate, and the one who spearheaded the collection of condolences worth Shs 500,000 from students and also secured a second Costa bus to transport the large number of students, said that Komuhangi has directly gone to heaven because she was acted like an angel, and had always been too close to her God.
CAMPAIGN TO REGULATE BODA BODAS
Realising that a lot of people have died as a result of reckless riding by boda boda cyclists, the students have moved to stage an online campaign to decry their lawlessness.
They said that boda boda cyclists, especially in Kampala, do not follow traffic laws and regulations. That they are always speedy, riding from pavements reserved for pedestrians, and in the process end up causing serious accidents that leave peole lifeless.
"When I was at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Mulago hospital, I saw that all the casualties have been involved in accidents while on boda bodas. They don't follow what traffic lights tell them. You see that when all other cars are stopping, for them they just continue. This must stop and traffic police should wake up," Ndyabahika told the students who were preparing the grave yard.
Students resolved that for the campaign to be a success, pressure should be mounted to the governemnt so as traffic laws can equally apply on boda boda riders. They said that every concerned Twitter user world over should tweet with the hash tag "#Regulate Bodabodas", so that accidents and future deaths can be minimised.