Journalists, MP Survive Boat Fire

2333 Views Masaka, Uganda

In short
The journalists who survived are Aliga Issa, a reporter with NTV, Jacintah Bwanika of Bukedde TV, Henry Mukasa of Red Pepper and Frank Bwekumbure of Masaka FM. They were travelling with Masaka DWR, Frida Kasse Mubanda.

A boat operator has drowned  as  boat he was cruising on Lake Victoria carrying journalists and politicians including  catches fire.

The incident happened at around 5pm at Eden landing site in Kyanamukaka sub county Masaka district. 

The drowned fisherman is only identified as  Nyindo, who was controlling the boat. 

The journalists who survived are Aliga Issa, a reporter with NTV, Jacintah Bwanika of Bukedde TV, Henry Mukasa of Red Pepper and Fran Bwekumbure of Masaka FM.

The journalists were travelling on the same boat alongside Freda Kasse Mubanda, the Member of Parliament for Masaka district, Tessi Lwassa, the Kyanamukaka sub county NRM chairperson and Hajj Haruna Numba, the Masaka district NRM spokesperson.

They were traveling to Mutemante landing site where MP Mubanda was set to finalise her NRM campaigns ahead of party primaries.

However, witnesses say that minutes after setting off from Eden landing site, the boat controller failed to ignite the boat engine. 

The journalists and the politicians were already on board. The boat controller reportedly got off the boat which was already a few meters into the lake and entered the waters to forcefully ignite engine.

Issa Aliga, the NTV journalist who survived says when the boat engine finally ignited, it lit the engine and fire started burning it. 

He says the fire also spread onto the petrol was being carried on the boat.
With shock, the boat control fellow into the waters and never returned.
Aliga says they whistled to alert fishermen  who rushed and rescued them.

Frank Bwekumbure, another journalist who survived says they tried to use water to put down the fire but it was too much. He however says the swiftness of rescuers helped them save their lives.
Bwekumbure says the boat controller has not been seen up to now.
MP Freda Kasse Mubanda, the incumbent Member of Parliament for Masaka district says she was shocked by the incident. She says following the shocking incident, she has suspended her campaigns.

At the time of filing this report, fishermen and other residents had gathered at Eden landing site in Kyanamukaka Sub County to see how they can retrieve the body of missing fisherman.


About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.