The Manager Strategic Litigation Programme, Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) Primah Kwagala (Right) speaking during a press briefing held at CEHURD offices in Ntinda, Kampala on Wednesday, June 07, 2017 as the Jennifer Musimenta (Second Right) mother who had twins and lost a baby at Mulago hospital and her husband Michael Mubangizi (Second Left) and the Programme Officer Strategic Litigation Programme Department (CEHURD) Elsa Zawedde (Left) look on. Photo by Shamim Saad
“Mum, I keep asking you where my twin sister Nakato went, but you do not want to tell me. How can you give me food when my sister is not here, where is she,” asked Babirye Atuhirwe who is in top class.
“Go and get her, I love her, I want to go to school with her. I will give her all my clothes and uniform, please bring her,” Atuhirwe says
That and more is what Jennifer Musimenta, 25, and her husband Michael Mubangizi, 34, residents of Kyebando, a Kampala suburb go through daily.
The parents of Atuhirwe said they are continuously troubled by the questions their daughter asks them regarding the whereabouts of her twin sister, and this does not only keep the memories of the absence of their other child fresh, but it torments them psychologically.
Clad in a yellow vest with a pink sweater on top, Musimenta said not being able to provide satisfactory answers to Atuhirwe, often makes her break down and cry.
Musimenta said to make matters worse, whenever Atuhirwe is playing with her peers both at home or school, they ask her to explain why she is called Babirye,she runs to the parents to ask where her twin sister is.
Musimenta narrated her ordeal during a press conference organized by the Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) recently which has been legally supporting them.
“When they ask her such questions, she runs to us for answers, which we do not have,” said Musimenta.
“I have told her several times that the baby got lost at Mulago hospital. Then she asks me more questions like why did she get lost, why do not you go with dad to Mulago, look for her and bring her home to be with me,” Musimenta noted
“These questions break our hearts. We want Mulago to help us find our baby, because we know she is alive. But even if she was dead, let them give us the dead body,” she added
On March 14th, 2012, Musimenta accompanied by her husband, went to deliver in Mulago National Referral hospital.
She gave birth to twins, but on the day she was discharged, the couple went home with one baby without the second baby, dead or alive.
Few days later, the couple was given a dead baby, but upon carrying out a DNA test, results did not match the couple.
In 2013, the couple filed the case at the civil division of the High court suing the Executive Director Dr. Byarugaba Baterana together with the Attorney General (AG) to court, seeking orders to compel the duo produce their baby dead or alive.
In her judgment early this year, the High Court Judge Lydia Mugambe ruled that the hospital staff negligently failed to account for the missing baby. The couple was awarded sh85m in general damages.
The judge further made directives to the effect that; the police must investigate the disappearance of the baby and file a report on the same court within six months from the date of this judgment at the latest.
This decision won Justice Mugambe an International award, the People’s Choice Gavel Award, gaining the most votes in the annual Gender Justice Uncovered Awards hosted by Women’s Link Worldwide.
Mubangizi, Musimenta’s husband said since the couple was awarded sh 85m in general damages, the couple has not received a single coin.
The program manager, CEHURD, Prima Kwagala called on police to avail them with the report on the baby, adding that the time within which to implement this judgment is long overdue.
The organization also appealed to Mulago to take requisite steps to implement the judgment. It also applauded the judiciary for taking remarkable role in promoting gender and human rights.