search http://crankygenius.com/wp-admin/includes/file.php geneva; font-size: small;”>As usual, recipe Kato’s mother, Christine Mukasa Nalongo, expected her son to return home within the next five or ten minutes.
30 minutes passed. An hour elapsed. Two hours later, Kato could not be traced.
All of a sudden, hell broke loose. Nalongo’s phone buzzed to life with a stranger breaking news to the old woman: “Madam, your son has been shot in the head.”
“I couldn’t believe what was being said over the phone. My son being shot? No way. Somehow I consoled myself that the telephone call was meant for a different person. But sooner than later, I faced the reality – my son had indeed been shot in the head.”
Police used an ambulance to remove Kato from a pool of blood in Kireka to Mulago National referral Hospital for treatment.
On this fateful day, Police had deployed heavily in Kireka and neighbouring suburbs to block opposition’s plans of holding a public rally. The political mood at the time was so tense. Opposition had brought the city to its knees with the so-called violent walk-to-work protests.
While opposition said they were protesting against the rigging of the elections by President Museveni’s government; high food prices; high inflation rates on consumables and violation of human rights by security forces; Police said the politicians were hell bent on causing anarchy with the intention of overthrowing the government.
Area MP, Ssemujju Nganda, had insisted on holding a rally with or without police permission.
Armed riot police officers dispersed the rioters with batons, live bullets, teargas and water cannons. Protestors responded by hurling stones at security forces, turning Kireka into a deadly battlefield between heavily armed security forces and aggressive rioters.
It was at that time that Kato decided to move towards Kireka to witness “the battle” that a stray bullet struck his head.
“Since then, things have never been the same again. Kato was a promising artiste and training with a Music, Dance and Drama group in Kireka before he was shot. His dream of becoming Africa’s greatest musician was shattered because he is not recovering from the bullet wounds and sometimes behaves like an insane person,” recounts Nalongo in an exclusive interview with Chimpreports’ investigative journalist Edison Akugizibwe at her home in Kirinya.
“It comes to a time when I see that my son is not normal; he at times behaves as if he is mentally sick, running up and down and being violent.”
With Kato now struggling to survive, who is to blame? Did government provide enough funds to cater for Kato’s medical bills? Was Ssemujju right to hold a rally against Police advice? And what’s the way forward?
“We were promised every help we wanted so we thought that government would facilitate medical bills for the boy until he fully recovered. But this was just verbal. The support was meager and Kato was later abandoned to die,” says a tearful Nnalongo.
Nnalongo speaking to Chimpreports during our investigation
“Though I appreciate government’s financial contribution of shs2m, it was not enough for the damage done to my innocent son. They should give us more money.”
Nnalongo says Police publicist Judith Nabakooba extended shs2m to cater for Kato’s medical bills; an ambulance after he was shot and doctors during the first weeks of his treatment.
“Of course we expected much more than this, because the boy was in a bad state. After sometime, they failed to raise Shs600, 000 that Kampala Hospital asked for so that the boy’s head would be thoroughly scanned; but since this was our patient, we had to meet the expense,” she sobbed, recalling the agony she went through.
Nabakooba could not be reached for comment as she was reported in a meeting.
“I personally extend great appreciation to the chairman LC3 Kiira, Mamerito Mugerwa, who coordinated efforts to see that Kato does not die,” says Nnalongo.
“Even Nabakooba tried to help but she later opened up, saying there was no enough money to support the injured boy’s medication throughout.”
Nabakooba handed me over to State House comptroller Lucy Nakyobe “but this lady did not listen to our plight at all.”
But Nakyobe reportedly responded: “You cannot reach me and I cannot get onto to you, don’t bother me anymore because I have much more issues that need greater attention than yours.”
Chimpreports could independently verify this remark as Nakyobe was not readily available for comment.
When Nabakooba was told about Nakyobe’s alleged response, she said: “Madam, I have tried my best that’s how far I can go.”
“As a family, together with friends, we had to struggle on our own to ensure Kato gets regular medication. But we are now at a breaking point. We really need support,” says Nnalongo.
Kato’s current condition
Nnalongo further notes her son consistently suffers from constant headache and is also experiencing severe back pain as a result of the spinal code damage.
Kato before he was shot
And due to teeth displacement and dislocated jaws, Kato has been whimpering in excruciating jaw pain.
The mother later leads Chimpreports to the room inside her rented three-roomed house where Kato is resting.
Kato struggles to narrate his painful ordeal.
”I have been badly affected by this condition both physically and financially since I was shot; I cannot lift up more than a kilogram of any item, using my left arm,” narrates Kato.
He adds that before being injured, he was an active member at Coc MDD Kireka, a cultural group, “but now I have a problem with the spinal code and the left arm so I can no longer participate in musical performances.”
“I used to earn something every time I performed, since I was rated as the best performer by then in this cultural group, but now I cannot take more than three minutes on stage and can no longer play any instrument because of my left arm being permanently dislocated,” says Kato.
He adds that the incident happened when he was in his senior six vacation, which cost him opportunities that come with completion of tertiary education.
“I missed the 2012 University intake and decided to opt for a certificate course in interactive multimedia, a course that I am now pursuing at Prime Institute, a branch of Bugema University.”
Kato tells Chimpreports he needs more financial support for treatment
Kato, the sixth born in a family of 12, urges youth to avoid protests and restraint from security forces.
“There is need for dialogue between opposition and government because this country to all of us. The protests should be peaceful. When they fight it’s the innocent like us that bear the brunt of bullets and teargas. But I also blame government for deploying unprofessional police who use bullets to harm innocent and unarmed civilians like us.”