MBALE – Shock and grief still grips residents of Wagagai cell in Nkoma ward, Northern division in Mbale city, following the mysterious disappearance and death of a renowned taxi driver.
As you enter her compound, Ms Margret Kawuya, 62, the mother of the deceased driver looks weary and sad, she has just confirmed the death of her son Mr Siraji Magomu Kadogo, 39, a taxi driver — actually they just discovered rotting parts of the head and bones in a mortuary in Mbale city.
It is alleged that Mr Magomu aka Kadogo was killed by his paternal uncles following a dispute over a piece of land he was meant to inherit from his mother [Ms Margret Sarah Kawuya].
According to Ms Kawuya, his son [Mr Magomu] attended a meeting with his uncles in early January 2021 called by his paternal uncle Mr Idris Wambewo and requested for his share of land including the land that belonged to me and that this did not go well with his uncles.
“And on 18 January he disappeared, we asked the uncles who declined to join us in the search for their son. Later they told us Mr Magomu had gone to Mombasa before switching to Kampala and later declining to answer anything,” said Ms Kawuya before breaking down into tears.
Ms Kawuya revealed that after searching everywhere without success, they resorted to prayers but that one time she decided to ring Ms Madina Namakambo, an auntie to Mr Magomu who said the late had gone to her home drunk and she chased him away.
“But later when I rang Mr Wambewo, he told me he does not know the late [Magomu] but later he rang me and told me that there was a body that had been seen at Kasanvu and told me to find out,” said a sobbing Kawuya.
She explained that upon reaching Kasanvu, she did not find anything and that determined to find her son, she called on her brother Mr Nathan Gudoi to help in the search since the uncles to the late had declined.
According to a statement released by police, the disappearance was reported by Ms Kawuya and Mr Gudoi at Gangamma Police post for a missing person under SD REF No. 06/28/1/2021, three days after he went missing.
A report from Mr Nathan Gudoi says that the late [Magomu] left home as usual on January 18 and was kidnapped, kept indoors before he was murdered by the kidnappers who happened to be his own paternal uncles.
Ms Stella Kameme, a neighbour also revealed that when she went around demanding for her money, a wife to Mr Idris Wambewo in January, told her that Mr Magomu was suffering from cerebral malaria and was tied up inside their house [Wambewo’s house].
Mr Gudoi told this reporter that acting upon a tip off from Boda boda riders when they visited the mortuary, they found the bones and rotting body parts of Mr Magomu on 10 April but police asked them to facilitate the Autopsy of the body at Mulago national referral.
“And autopsy results confirmed that indeed the bones were for Mr Magomu,” said Mr Gudoi.
Dr Barnabas Rubanza, police surgeon in charge of Eastern Uganda confirmed police sent the remains to Mulago national referral for autopsy and that they confirmed the deceased was Mr Magomu, a taxi driver.
Ms Trupheosa Magomu, the wife to the deceased explained that although she wanted to have the remains of her husband buried at her home in Wagagai cell, the paternal uncles intervened and gave conditions.
She revealed that they asked her not to buy any clothes to put in the remains and not wash the bones with any water but with sand.
“And you must ensure that he is washed with sand, we are going to provide special cloths for the remains, prayers must be said by a witch doctor, he should be buried late in the evening about 7.00am and that a sheep must be slaughtered, cooked without salt for cleansing,” they told us.
Mr Idris Wambewo, the accused uncle to the late when reached for a comment, first listened, then said aaaaaaaaa, a journalist! “But I am sick and I can’t speak” before handing over the phone to someone else who declined to disclose his name.
“Yes, we know Mr Magomu [diseased], he is our son in the clan but he dies sometime back and police is investigating this matter before switching off,” said a voice.
Although the remains of Magomu’s body still remain in the mortuary, Ms Kawuya has asked police to do a thorough investigation and have the culprits who killed her son arrested to face justice.
The Elgon region Police Spokesperson, Mr Rogers Taitika, said although he was not aware of the death, if the relatives registered a case with police, investigations would start soon to establish who exactly killed Mr Magomu.
“I am just going to find out, I was not aware but if a General Inquiry File (GIF) was opened to investigate circumstances under which the deceased was killed, then investigations will kick off soon,” said Mr Taitika.