By John B. Thawite
KITSWAMBA - Kasese district has lost one of its oldest people, Mariam Ithungu, who has died at the age of 110.
A mother to Philemon Kithulha Kasereka, an auditor with Kasese District Local Government, Mama Ithungu was undoubtedly one of the oldest Ugandans to have lived.
She lived twice more than what an average Ugandan is expected to live.
On the global index, Uganda’s current life expectancy is at 55.8. Its immediate neigbours Kenya and Tanzania have a higher life expectacy – 59.7 and 59.5 respectively.
This is in sharp contrast to Canada and Australia, whose nationals are expected to live more than 80 years.
According to a family, Ithungu, born in 1904, is survived by six sons and daughters, 50 grandchildren, 124 great grandchildren and 17 great great grand children.
This means the Kasese centenarian has left behind a trail of 196 descendants.
Married for 90 years to her late husband Kithulha, she was a dedicated Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA).
Preaching to hundreds of mourners at Ithungu’s burial, Pastor Boniface Bwambale rubbished the thinking that when people die, their spirits can return to their families for either ill or good intentions.
He went on to dismiss the belief that after death, people go straight to Heaven.
Quoting 1 Thessalonians 4:13, Pastor Bwambale clarified that all people will go to heaven on the same occasion of Jesus’s second coming.
The verse says "For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died."
Kasese district chairman, Rtd Lt Col Mawa Muhindo,who attended the funeral, challenged the younger generation to emulate the Kithula family in looking after the old and frail family members.
Mawa also asked the residents to shun and isolate people who try to divert them from peace, unity and development.
Reiterating the western Uganda district’s determination to combat crime in the district, the chairman sternly warning that those involved in stealing people’s property risked arrest and prosecution.
Notable at the funeral were Lyantonde Resident District Commissioner, Pulkeria Muhindo; the District Speaker, Zephanus Mubingwa and Kasese Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Simon Peter Akilenge who led scores of civil servants.
The Ugandan who served in both world wars
World life expectancy