A dark cloud hovered over Our Lady of Africa Catholic Church in Mbuya, Kampala on Tuesday as hundreds of inconsolable mourners paid their last respects to Dr Catherine Agaba who was brutally killed this past week.
Agaba’s decomposing body was on Easter Monday found in a septic tank at her rented apartment along Kalungu Road, Muyenga – a posh Kampala suburb.
Several family members of the deceased dressed in full black and wore sunglasses as they listened to emotional speeches at the church.
Agaba’s white coffin was mounted with flowers.
Mourners, who included doctors, friends, relatives and workmates, broke down uncontrollably as the pallbearer escorted the casket to the church.
The deceased’s uncle, who witnessed the cross examination of Agaba’s suspected killer, said the family is struggling to come to terms with the grisly murder.
He recounted how Agaba was strangled by the guard before her body was disposed of in a septic tank.
A joint security team comprising military intelligence, police and counter terrorism crack units were at the centre of the investigation into Agaba’s mysterious disappearance that saw Ronald Obangakene, 24, being arrested.
Obangakene, a local guard at Agaba’s premises, disappeared after the medical doctor went missing.
The tracking unit would later build on clues surrounding Obangakene’s conduct.
Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango, who attended the mass, said Obangakene was tracked down and arrested in his home village, Adyeda, Loro sub county, Oyam District, where upon interrogation, he confessed to the murder and provided details, which led to the recovery of the victim’s body.
The scene was reconstructed to establish events leading to the horrific murder.
The victim returned home at around 8:30 pm, to a quiet and remote setting, at the apartments of Hajji Ibrahim Kiwanuka.
She was attacked inside the gate, by the local security guard, who accused her of threatening his job, when she reported him for not being alert on duty to his employers.
Obangakene said he strangled Agaba to death and dumped her body in the septic tank.
He, immediately after, picked her house keys, smart phone and gained access to her apartment, where he stole several portable household items and escaped to Oyam district by bus.
The disappearance of the victim was reported at Kabalagala police station on April 15, 2019, by her boyfriend, Mohammed Hassan and inquiries instituted immediately.
Upon arrest, the suspect led the task team to his sister’s home where the exhibits that included; a home theatre music system, a 32” Flat TV screen, a laptop, GoTV decoder, double –plate cooker, gas cylinder, flask disk and a smart phone were recovered from.
The family extended its appreciation to Chieftaincy of military intelligence (CMI), Uganda police and sister agencies for taking keen interest in the matter.
The family also urged government to put in more effort to fight such evils.
“More effort should be put in because Cathy is not the first neither is she the last. We are treating the symptom but the disease is flourishing,” said a family member during the funeral ceremony.
Agaba’s brother, Joseph Mugambe, called on the authorities to find justice for his sister.
Mugambe looked devastated as he walked behind the casket.
The family appreciate the hundreds, perhaps thousands of prayers from people of all walks of life during this trying time.
They described Agaba as amiable, jolly, hardworking and respectful.
Onyango said Obangakene has since recorded an extrajudicial statement at Makindye Magistrate’s Court pending trial.
He, however, said the case is still being investigated by detectives to rule out third parties’ complicity.
Onyango further revealed the fate of suspects who are being held at Kabalagala Police Station will be determined by the final outcome of the investigation into the shocking incident.
“If the suspects are found to have had a hand in this case, they will be arraigned before courts of law. But if they are found innocent, they will be released,” he added.
Preaching during the mass, Rev. Father Anthony Kibira called on mourners to surrender their lives to God.
“If we had been saved, such evil acts would not be happening,” he said.
Kibira wondered why anyone would take the life of a lady who had worked hard and taken oath to save lives as a doctor.
“It is very sad,” he said, as mourners broke down.
“It is Easter time and we must face the reality that it’s not yet Easter for those who took Catherine’s life,” he cautioned.
He prayed for God’s intervention to cleanse the evil heart which he blamed for Agaba’s death.
Dr. Michael Oling, the medical director at IHK hospital where Agaba was employed, described the deceased as “hard-working” and “passionate individual” who always left hospital late in the night.
He praised Agaba for having emerged among the top three doctors hired out of 24 who has sat for interviews for the job.
The medical group contributed Shs 3m as a contribution for burial expenses.
Dr Agaba will be laid to rest on Wednesday at her ancestral home in Kagongi village, Kashari, Mbarara district.