When parents clock 50 years, they look forward to retirement and living a hustle-free life as their children provide for them.
Those with daughters look forward to when their once little girls will call and inform them of an impending visit from the potential son-in-law. But for Wilson Tibegaya and Esther Mirembe Nkoko, the dream of giving Enid Twijukye away to a deserving husband was crashed forever after a jealous boyfriend allegedly murdered her.
It is alleged that on January 3, 2017, 29-year-old pharmacist, Brian Bagyenda – son to new Internal Security Organisation (ISO) boss Rtd Col Frank Kaka Bagyenda – invited his girlfriend Twijukye to his apartment in Luzira.
Twijukye, 22, a student staying with her elder sister Evas Turigye in Namugongo, left at 2pm, promising to be back. That was the last day Turigye laid eyes on her young sister.
Twijukye had spent her Christmas holidays with family and friends at their country home in Kazo sub-county, Kiruhura district. Just like any loving mum, Nkoko was proud of her daughter’s steady progress with life.
For had she not been murdered that fateful, hot January day, Twijukye would have been part of Ndejje University’s graduands to be awarded a bachelor’s degree in International Business this year.
They say a woman’s intuition is her best weapon, and Nkoko’s sixth sense was working overtime when the children were in the village last Christmas. During her time in the village, this mother noticed that Twijukye had acquired an expensive new phone, a development that did not sit well with her. On inquiring where she had got the money to buy such a high-priced gadget, Enid told her a friend had bought it for her.
The old lady was not convinced and when the daughter was out of her room, Nkoko sneaked in and looked through Twijukye’s bag where she found a phone receipt with Bagyenda listed as the buyer.
“I asked her who this Bagyenda was and why he had bought her an expensive phone. She told me he was a friend,” an emotional Nkoko told The Observer in Kamwokya, on January 30.
The mother was not convinced. Maybe her intuition was warning her something terrible directly linked to the Shs 800,000 phone would happen to her daughter. Christmas ended and Twijukye got back to her sister’s place in Kampala.
Being the quiet and humble girl she was, her sibling and friends were not worried about her on January 3, since they knew that she would be back. On January 4, Nkoko called Twijukye, her third-born child, and the two talked briefly. That call made at 10:30pm, was the last conversation she had with her daughter.
It is alleged that on that very night, Bagyenda, with the help of two friends, suffocated Twijukye and dumped her body in Namanve forest. In his confession upon arrest, Bagyenda narrated that on January 4, he became infuriated after finding pictures of his girlfriend posing with another man on a phone he had bought her.
“He connived with two people to murder my daughter. They had to increase the volume of the television so high that the neighbours couldn’t hear her screaming, then tied her legs and arms. They then sealed her lips with cellotape and suffocated her to death,” narrated a teary Nkoko, reconstructing the scene of crime in her head as confessed by Bagyenda.
After helping Bagyenda kill his girlfriend, 24-year-old Innocent Bainomugisha, and 28-year-old Vincent Rwahwire bundled Twijukye’s lifeless body into a green Toyota Ipsum. They drove from Luzira to Namanve, hoping no one would trace them. Meanwhile, as her daughter was lying lifeless in Namanve, Nkoko tried repeatedly to reach Twijukye’s phone in vain.
With her curiosity up, she decided to call her son, Timothy Taremwa, to ascertain if he knew his sister’s whereabouts. He did not know where she was. She then called her eldest daughter, Martha Kabashambu, who informed her that Evas Turigye had earlier called asking the same question, but she had not heard from her.
“When we called Bagyenda, after tracing his contacts from Enid’s old phone, he told us he had not seen her. He sounded surprised,” said Nkoko.
The family, with help of friends and relatives mounted a search for Twijukye’s whereabouts. On January 15, 11 days since they last heard from Twijukye, the now worried family turned to Bweyogerere police station to file a complaint for a missing person.
“They [Twijukye’s siblings] had to report to police. And on reporting, the police told them they had found a dead body in Namanve. When they inquired about the sex of the deceased, police told them they discovered a dead girl in Namanve and advised them to confirm by checking the Mulago mortuary.”
Taremwa and Turigye’s husband immediately drove to Mulago mortuary hoping against all hope that the said body was not Twijukye’s, but luck was not on their side; when the morgue attendants pulled out the body, it was indeed their beautiful sister, Twijukye, whose body had been found decomposing in the forest.
HEART OF A KILLER
A dumbfounded Taremwa called his family informing them of Nina’s (as they fondly referred to Twijukye) demise. Cousins who knew Bagyenda as Twijukye’s lover thoughtfully informed the pharmacist his girlfriend had been murdered and dumped in Namanve forest.
“Deeply touched”, Bagyenda sent Shs 200,000 to Twijukye’s family as a condolence fee.
Now that the body had been claimed, police embarked on investigations to find out who could have been behind the young woman’s death. Using records from the deceased’s old phone, officers soon linked the murder to Bagyenda.
In his statement while in custody at Jinja Road police station, Bagyenda confessed that he had snuffed the life out of Twijukye with the help of Rwahwire and Bainomugisha.
In a short video, Bagyenda told police how the three suffocated Twijukye to death after a disagreement and how he had planned to go back and pick the body to give it a proper burial. Nkoko is still traumatised by what happened to her daughter.
While describing her, she reminisces the kind-hearted Twijukye and how she helped raise her youngest brother’s school fees while employed at Capital Shoppers supermarket.
When she remembers her daughter’s kind personality, Nkoko starts sobbing. Not even comforting from her eldest child, Kabashambu, eases the pain clearly wracking her insides.
“Leave me alone! She is my daughter and I have to cry,” Nkoko sharply tells Kabashambu. “She attended primary school in good schools, because she was always brilliant. I took her to good schools [Twijukye is a Bwerangyangi old girl]. Her death has brought a wound in my heart that I don’t think will ever be healed, but may the good Lord rest her soul in eternal peace. Bye Enid.”
With tears in her eyes, Nkoko wonders if justice will be served and her daughter’s killers get the punishment they deserve. Although Bagyenda’s father holds a top position in ISO, Nkoko is not scared. Col Kaka Bagyenda has not appeared at any of his son’s trials and hopefully will let justice take its course.
“I don’t know if my daughter’s life was worth that phone. He would have taken the phone away from her and left her alive. I really don’t know where he got the guts to kill my daughter,” says the mother-of-six. “I want him to be sentenced. Life imprisonment or death; that one will be for the court to decide.”
Last week the three suspects were arraigned before Nakawa Chief Magistrate’s court where the presiding magistrate, Margaret Aanyu, referred the case to the High court. Hearing of the case was ironically set for yesterday, February 14, Valentine’s day.