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Love affairs fuel rampant murders

By Vision Reporter

Added 20th June 2009 03:00 AM

PASSION murders seem to be on the rise in Uganda. At least 14 killings were reported to the Police in recent weeks believed to be as a result of relationships gone sour, several of them involving minors.

PASSION murders seem to be on the rise in Uganda. At least 14 killings were reported to the Police in recent weeks believed to be as a result of relationships gone sour, several of them involving minors.

Chris Kiwawulo

PASSION murders seem to be on the rise in Uganda. At least 14 killings were reported to the Police in recent weeks believed to be as a result of relationships gone sour, several of them involving minors.

Although official statistics are scarce, Kampala and other parts of the country have been rocked by gruesome murders where the prime suspect is the victim’s partner.

Last week, on June 12, Grace Lubanga was killed and her body dumped at Kireka near Mandela National Stadium in Namboole. The young girl was beaten and cut to death.

The Police arrested her boyfriend, Sam Buyinza, a student of Kyambogo University, together with Betty Wanzira, a student of Manafa High School, Mbale. The latter’s identity card was found near the body. The Police suspect the motive to be rivalry over a boyfriend.

A week earlier, Ivan Nsereko, an S5 student of Makerere High College, was stabbed to death in his girlfriend’s one-room house in Makerere, Kawempe division.
His intestines were found hanging loose. Sultan Ali, a taxi tout operating on Namirembe Road believed to be a rival lover, was arrested in connection with the murder.

Lodges are increasingly becoming the scene of murder. On May 25, Peace Namara, a young woman, was murdered in Emmaria House lodge in Mubende. Her throat was slit.

The Police said she was seen entering the lodge with her boyfriend but the unidentified man fled before the Police could reach the scene.

A month earlier, on April 2, a woman was stabbed to death with broken beer and soda bottles in one of the rooms at Senogga Guest House in Kalerwe in Kawempe division.

The Police suspect that her unidentified lover killed her in the lodge. The Police are yet to arrest the man, who is on the run.
On April 29, Joseph Wasswa was murdered at Lakeside Inn in Rubaga division in Kampala and his body later dumped in the nearby Kabaka’s Lake. The Police suspect a rival lover of the girl he slept with that night to be behind the murder.

And on March 14, Maureen Nalwoga, an 18-year old girl of Kiganda Zone in Kawempe division, was murdered. Her head and face had deep cuts which seemed to be inflicted by a panga. Her fellow employees said she had been rivaling with other girls over a man.

Whereas ritual murders have virtually disappeared following a security crackdown, the Police attribute the recent wave of killing to broken-down love affairs or marriages.

Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba declined to comment about the recent spate of murders.
She, however, said ritual murder was no longer the dominant form of homicide. “I need to study the recent trend of the murders and their causes because they vary.”

Dr. Eugene Kinyanda, a consultant psychiatrist who specialises in suicide, said when people are rejected, they get stressed and fail to control their emotions.

“Some people put in a lot of energy, time and money in relationships. When such a relationship fails, they might fail to adjust and anything can happen. They can commit suicide, kill others or resort to excessive drinking.”

Asked why passion murders seem to be on the increase, Kinyanda said life today is more stressful than it was some years ago. He pointed out the economic crisis, increased commodity prices, insecurity about their jobs and uncertainty about modern life as the leading causes of stress today.

“You read in the papers that (city businessman) Basajjabalaba sent home all his workers at Regency Hotel. Psychologically people are living on the edge these days.”

Kinyanda also said people’s coping mechanisms are breaking down as a result of urbanisation.
“Previously, people would go to their extended family members, like aunties and uncles, to get counseling if they had problems. Today, the system has broken down. The available professional counseling services are few and very costly.”

A Police crackdown will not be sufficient to reduce the number of passion murders, according to Kinyanda. He proposes an integration of counseling services in the health system.

“Health workers need to be equipped with counseling skills during training to enable them detect such problems among their patients and help them find solutions.”

His main fear, though, is that even if you train all doctors on how to detect all people suffering from stress, there would never be enough medics.

“If you are a doctor and you have 50 people waiting in the queue, you are not going to spend 10 minutes counseling one person.”

Kinyanda is of the view that religious leaders should also come on board to offer counseling services, especially to people with marital or relationship problems. He advises troubled partners to seek help rather than suffer quietly.

Love affairs fuel rampant murders

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