By Eddie Ssejjoba and Simon Ssekide
The Police in Mpigi district are investigating the death of a veteran teacher and headmaster of Old Kampala Primary School under bizarre circumstances.
Arnold Ntungwa, 54 , a former deputy headmaster of Buganda Road Primary School and an author of a series of primary science books including A New Primary Science for Uganda died instantly when he allegedly jumped through a window of a moving bus.
According to the district traffic officer Mpigi district, AIP Michael Ensinikweri, Police was informed that the deceased was a passenger in a Global Coaches bus registration number UAP 754V that was travelling from Mbarara to Kampala.
The deceased, according to information given to Police, jumped out of the speeding bus, through a window at Mpambire in Mpigi at about 9:00pm. He reportedly died instantly.
According to statements recorded at Police by some of the passengers who were travelling in the same bus, Ntungwa boarded from Mbarara town and was reportedly behaving in a strange manner while on board.
When the bus was approaching Mpigi, he allegedly went to the driver’s side and tried to grab the steering wheel from him but was stopped by a passenger next to the driver.
He then allegedly asked a person who was sitting behind the co-driver’s seat by the window to let him occupy the seat which he did and when they reached at a place called Mpambire, he jumped through the window and fell to his death.
Ensinikweri said a post-mortem report indicated that the cause of the death was a head injury and fracture of the skull bone.
The body was examined at Mpigi Hospital mortuary and, according to Ensinikweri, it bore several external injuries and cuts.
The Police recovered from the deceased’s pockets sh510,000, a driving permit and a Nokia cellphone that they used to call relatives and friends.
Police also recorded statements from the driver, his turn-boy and several passengers.
According to statements given by the passengers, the deceased was allegedly seen sipping sachets of waragi (a local gin) during the journey.
The Police said they still needed to verify information obtained from the passengers. “We recorded statements from passengers who said the man was sipping from sachets of alcohol.
However, we did not test him because we do not do that on bodies and, therefore could not cross- check that information,” the traffic boss said.
The Police said they were informed by family members that the deceased was only known to drink beer, not waragi. The passengers, according to the Police, were worried that the deceased would cause an accident.
Junior Ankwasize, one of the staff on the bus, said they intervened several times when the deceased tried to forcibly get out of the moving bus.
“He seemed drunk. When we reached Kamengo, he got up and wanted to move out. We pushed him back and asked him to wait till we got to Kampala,” Ankwasize said.
He said he was shocked when he heard passengers screaming that a man had jumped through a window. According to Ankwasize, when they stopped the bus to find out what had happened to Ntungwa and found his body was badly disfigured.
“We called our office in Kampala who in turn called the Police who removed the body and asked us to drive to the Police station where we made statements,” Ankwasize said.
The mood was sombre at Old Kampala Primary School where Ntungwa had served as head teacher for only four months after he was transferred from Buganda Road Primary School. He had previously served at Buganda Road PS as deputy head teacher for about two decades.
The director of studies, Aggrey Sserutookye, described the deceased as a humble and hardworking man who appeared normal and healthy at the time he left school.
He said Ntungwa chaired a finance meeting last Thursday and on Friday left the school to attend the inauguration of the school management committee.
Sserutookye said Ntungwa returned to school on Friday evening to inform them he would be travelling on Saturday to Ibanda to see his ailing mother.
“We never saw him again. We only received calls informing us that he had died in a bus,” Sserutookye said.
At Buganda Road PS, Ntungwa’s former colleagues said they did not want to comment about his death given the strange circumstances under which he died.
“We want the Police to investigate and tell us how this man died,” a teacher said. Teachers who did not want to be identified said Ntungwa was a ‘rich man’ who had a number of city commuter taxis. He was also said to own houses to let in the city. “Although he had a car, he often travelled by public means whenever he went on business trips,” a member of staff said.
He said he did not appear to be a person with serious problems that would have prompted him to commit suicide and he showed no signs of mental illness all the time they had known him. Relatives picked his body from Mpigi health centre yesterday and took it to Ibanda where the burial takes place today.
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