He sat quietly at the front seat at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Kansanga, where a requiem mass of his friend, John Bosco Nyanzi, was taking place. Nobody would guess what was in his mind. Prince David Wasajja, one of the survivors of the boat cruise gazed at the casket containing the remains of his colleague.
Accompanied by his wife, Marion, when called to address the mourners, the Buganda royal said he had not gained courage to speak about what happened. In a statement read for him by a colleague, Wasajja said he was still nursing emotional and physical wounds and could not tell his story. Wasajja, who made his fi rst public appearance after the Saturday tragedy, fought back tears throughout the mass.
When Dennis Kavuma, a brother of Nyanzi, asked him to address the mourners, he instead wrote down his message and gave it to Kavuma to read on his behalf. Wasajja also asked a friend, Alex Nionzima, another survivor, to give an account of the boat accident.
Nionzima narrated how they survived and how Nyanzi lost his life. Nionzima brought the congregation to tears when he narrated how the boat broke down the third time. “It stopped in the middle of the lake near the shores of Mutima Beach. All of us were scared.
The owner of the boat (Templar Bisasso) told us to wear life Jackets. He appealed to everyone to run to the other side of the boat so that we could balance it, but the tragedy had already occurred and we could not stop it. At this point everyone was in tears,” he said.
Wasajja described Nyanzi as a loyal friend for the 35 years they had known each other.
How Nyanzi died
According to Nionzima, when the fi rst rescue boat came from Mutima Beach, Nyanzi was among the first people to board it. “Many people wanted to get on board yet it was a small fishing boat. It filled and we set off, but along the way, people holding onto it and eventually, it also capsized killing all of them.
Nyanzi could not survive,” he narrated. Nionzima managed to swim up to the shores of Mutima Beach. His other three colleagues followed him and, fortunately, they saw Wasajja among the survivors. “I am sorry we could not save his life,” he said.
Buganda Kingdom mourns
Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga sent a condolence message, which was delivered by the kingdom’s Attorney General, David Mpanga.
He described Nyanzi as a jolly man, who made friends and kept them. “He was a great friend of Prince Wasajja. He served him with loyalty and nobody can doubt that,” Mayiga said. Other leaders from Buganda Kingdom who attended the mass included the Speaker of Buganda Lukiiko, Nelson Kawalya; former Katikkiro JB Walusimbi and members of the royal family, among others.
The Rev. Fr. Vincent Kato, who led the mass, urged the Government to enforce transport laws so save lives.
Families clash over body
Shortly after the mass, information trickled in that two families were clashing over where to bury Nyanzi. One group claimed that those who wanted to bury Nyanzi at Naggalama were not his relatives.
A group that identified itself as Nyanzi’s siblings from Mawokota demanded to take the body. Janet Kyomutima, who identified herself as Nyanzi’s sister said his original name is Bosco Bigirwa and that he had to be buried in Mawokota at his father’s home (Peter Byempaka). However, Nyanzi’s foster, family insisted that Nyanzi had disowned the Mawokota family 30 years ago and that he had left a will indicating that he should be buried at the late Francis Sebalu’s home in Naggalama in Mukono district. Police suggested that the body be subjected to DNA, but the Mawokota family agreed to bury Nyanzi in Naggalama.