FAMILY BATTLES UGANDA LAW SOCIETY AS FRIENDS DISPUTE CIRCUMSTANCES OF LAWYER FREDRICK MBAZIIRA’S DEATH
Video: MoH MESSAGE ON CHILDREN & MATERNAL HEALTH
By Isaac Wandubile
A group of lawyers belonging to Uganda Law Society (ULS) have this Sunday morning picked a quarrel with members of Kampala lawyer Fredrick Mbaziira’s family regarding what actually caused his death. The flamboyant city lawyer (aged 40) breathed his last Friday afternoon after being unwell for two weeks. The two weeks preceding his death were characterized by uncertainty as his siblings struggled to prevent friends from knowing what was exactly going on. Then immediately after his, some of his siblings went into a bonanza of some sort recklessly selling off his properties some of which has had to be forcefully carried away from his Lungujja apartment.
Whereas the siblings (with whom the deceased wrangled over property and inheritance following the death of their elderly father Reverend Semanda) maintain that Mbaziira had a mental problem and was no longer mentally stable, the friends in ULS vigorously reject this narrative. The lawyer friends say that many of the siblings, with exception of the likes of Grace Semambo (wife to famous Brewer Shem Semambo), were actively against Fredrick Mbaziira. That Mbaziira was hated because, despite not being among the oldest children of their late father Mr. Semanda, he has been the most educated and materially the most successful. He was also made customary heir following Mzee Semanda’s death in 2017.
When it came to sharing Mzee Semanda’s estate, Fredrick Mbaziira was still allocated the lion’s share of the estate, a thing that angered many. He was always the prized child who did the greatest effort to give befitting care to Mzee Semanda for all the years he battled frail health. Mzee Semanda’s widow, their mother, is still alive and Fredrick Mbaziira has been her biggest sponsor and most beloved child. Lawyer Mbaziira recently created more resentment among his siblings when he commenced on a project to construct a huge house on the family land in Masaka where Mzee Semanda (a big-name CoU reverend/Omwawule in the West Buganda Diocese) was buried. The posh house, which Mbaziira had just completed, stands on part of the land he inherited from his late father as customary heir.
“Reverend Semanda left many children and they are not united at all. They have always had wrangles and majority of them resented Mbaziira whose professional and material success was always perceived as putting them to shame. Grace Semambo was one of the few who were on good terms with him and the truth is he believed a good number of them never wished him well and must have prayed for his death,” says a knowledgeable source.
Whereas family members insist that Mbaziira (who some say was a victim of witchcraft) hadn’t been well mentally, his lawyer friends insist that his unwellness was mismanaged. That the information was concealed from friends and progressive family members who could have ensured he gets the appropriate medication. “They are saying he was mentally ill but we are wondering how did he end up in Kisubi Hospital and what was he being treated for? A lot of things aren’t adding up.”
These conspiracy theories have been accelerated by the conduct of some powerful family members moments after the flamboyant lawyer (who had long separated with his wife and mother of his two children Ethan and Arianna) was pronounced dead late Friday afternoon. “They excluded many of us close friends and even became hostile to the idea of carrying out a postmortem report to establish what exactly killed Fred. Even at the Namirembe Cathedral where the requiem mass was held on Saturday, some of his powerful siblings were clearly hostile to any scrutiny regarding the circumstances of Fred’s death.”
Then audios, which Fredrick Mbaziira sent to a senior police officer who happened to be his close friend, emerged making things even more complicated. In the audios, Mbaziira is heard crying for help as he reached out to his officer friend. He claimed he was on the verge of being sacrificed in a posh house in the hilly Zzana neighborhood and needed urgent rescue. He is heard struggling to direct the police detectives the location where he is being held at ransom but communication keeps getting broken because he (Mbaziira) claims his pursuers had invested in intercepting and frustrating his phone communications. It’s not clear who exactly are the people who had besieged and taken him hostage that day.
To some who have listened to the audio, it’s clear the lawyer was mentally unwell because some of the things he was uttering are clearly incomprehensible; one has to struggle to make sense of what he was saying.
BURIAL HANGS IN BALANCE
His siblings, who friends accuse of trying to hastily have him buried, had arranged to bury him on Monday in Masaka where he served as Chancellor (Lawyer) for the CoU’s West Buganda diocese. The body was to be prayed for in the Kako Cathedral (headquarters of West Buganda diocese) this very Sunday but that has since been made impossible after lawyers overpowered the family insisting Mbaziira’s burial must be preceded with a postmortem report.
To overcome the family’s curious resistance for the postmortem to be conducted, the lawyer friends petitioned police which raided the Namirembe-based A-plus funeral home and forcefully took away the body to Mulago for proper postmortem. On failing to prevail against police, family members announced their withdraw from funeral arrangements this Sunday morning amidst a heavy exchange of bitter words outside the funeral home near Namirembe hospital. The postmortem report is expected to be out.
later today (Sunday) after which the lawyer friends will embark on their own burial arrangements. One family member during the Namirembe Sunday morning fracas shouted at lawyers saying “you will have to find where to bury him and not our place since you have showed so much disrespect.”
One of the lawyer friends, backed by some Anglican Church members, shouted back: “Fred was a man of the people and we can’t fail to get where to bury him. There are many options as to where he can be buried including the church cemetery but fighting to scientifically establish what exactly killed him is the least we can do for him as professional friends.” Back home in the Masaka village, Fredrick Mbaziira had lately won more enemies not only because of the renovations he was carrying out at his father’s burial home but also the generosity with which he had reconstructed the church from which his father used to minister the word for years as an elderly reverend. Having parted ways with his wife (mother of his two children), after developing irreconcilable differences, the fan-loving Fredrick Mbaziira lived alone in a rented apartment in Lungujja where lawyer friends suspect he could have initially been harmed from resulting into his death. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).