Ugandans on Twitter mobilize funds to support family of soldier who killed minister
A section of social media users in Uganda have launched a fundraising drive to support the family of a Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier who shot and killed the State Minister for Labour, Employment and Industrial Relations.
Pte Wilson Sabiiti shot and killed Col (rtd) Charles Okello Engola on Tuesday morning at his home in Kyanja, a Kampala suburb.
The online campaign which has attracted criticism from some commentators given that Pte Sabiiti, 33, committed murder before he also shot himself dead was prompted by his family members’ revelation about their financial struggles and reports that the soldier had been shouldering heavy financial burdens of his family.
This publication understands the fundraisers have been sending money to Sabiiti’s young sister, Oliver Musiimenta through her mobile phone so that the can be able to organize the burial ceremony of the soldier and also continue looking after his children.
The campaign was launched after this publication on Friday published a story detailing Pte Sabiiti’s background and financial struggles, as revealed by his close family members.
Ms Musiimenta said one of the family’s biggest challenge was feeding mourners who have since Wednesday thronged their home in Mubali Village, Kijura Town Council in Kabarole District
“At the moment we don’t have food to feed the mourners, also we have failed to make the budget for the burial because we don’t know when the burial will take place. We have not heard any official communication from the government on when my brother’s body will be brought home,” she said.
The Defence spokesperson Brig Gen Felix Kulayigye, said UPDF is not mandated to bury a soldier who commits suicide or a crime like that of Sabiiti.
“In most cases, the family takes care of the arrangements, but the UPDF will support the family in transporting the body to the funeral venue out of compassion. As soon as the body is delivered, we shall disperse,” he said.
Ms Musiimenta, however, lauded well-wishers who have been sending her support for the family.
“I have received many calls from people comforting us. Others I don’t know their names but we still need more support,” she said.
Pte Sabiiti reportedly became the family’s sole bread winner since 2016 when his father, John Karimuda, passed on.
He has been looking after his mother who is currently in her 80s, three siblings and six children, four of whom are his.
“I don’t know what I will do to look after this family he has left behind. When his two wives [left him], he brought all the children to me. He was paying their school fees but now I am going to be stuck,” Pte Sabiiti’s mother, Uwezeyi Keduresi said.