‘Mummy, I have told you, I want to pray alone.’
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2021/04/mummy-i-have-told-you-i-want-to-pray-alone/
By Jimmy Siyasa and Joseph Lagen
On July 2, 2021, and during Uganda Christian University’s (UCU) 22nd graduation, Lorita Blessy Asiimwe will receive a Faculty of Business and Administration Bachelor of Human Resource Management degree – posthumously.
She will not have a physical presence to cap off 19 years of study from primary through postsecondary. Her young, lifeless body was pulled on March 16 from a partially collapsed church where, ironically, she had gone to pray for a long life and prosperity. Asiimwe, who joined UCU in 2017, was among the more than 30 members of the Kampala, Uganda, House of Rest Church who had gathered for lunchtime prayers on the fateful day.
Eyewitnesses said when the church had a power outage, a technician climbed to the ceiling to see if he could fix the problem. However, that was not to be. He came tumbling down with the ceiling onto the worshippers.
Asiimwe was among those critically injured. She and other worshippers were rushed to the Mulago National Referral Hospital. There, she passed away.
At first, there were no indications that this Tuesday was unusual for Asiimwe. However, as others look back at events of the day, there were signs of difference.
Her mother, Ritah Bagyenda, had gone with her for the lunchtime fellowship at the church located on the top-most floor of an aging building on Kampala Road. Oddly, Asiimwe declined to sit with her mother for the fellowship.
“Mummy, I have told you, I want to pray alone. Please let me be,” Bagyenda quoted her daughter as telling her. Asiimwe sat on the side of the church that was badly affected by the collapsed ceiling. Bagyenda escaped unscathed.
A woman who preferred anonymity and claimed to be a survivor of the accident, showed Asiimwe’s photo off her phone to curious onlookers just after the collapse of the ceiling. Her account corroborated that of Bagyenda.
“They sat on opposite sides of the church. I saw her mother walk to her side before the start of the service. After failing to convince her daughter to sit with her, the woman went back to her seat,” the woman, who in her late twenties, said of Bagyenda and Asiimwe.
Another woman, identified as Maama Naava, also succumbed to injuries sustained in the accident.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Geoffrey Sam Oyelolobo at the Kampala Central Police Station said they were investigating the cause of the collapse of the ceiling.
In January 2020, six builders were killed and three others sustained serious injuries when a building under construction collapsed on them in the Kampala suburb of Kansanga. In May 20019, five people lost their lives after a wall fence collapsed on them during a downpour.
Asiimwe was buried in Kayunga district, central Uganda. Among the mourners at her burial was UCU Guild President Kenneth Amponda.
“We went to console with the family of our sister and colleague,” Amponda said. “The collapse of the ceiling was an accident, but it took away someone dear to us.”.
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