Ugandans will Friday this week officially mourn the loss of 33 people who perished on a boat that capsized on Saturday on l. Victoria. This however will not be a public holiday.
The development was announced by Prime minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda while addressing parliament on Tuesday about the tragedy. Members of parliament criticized government for failure to handle the tragedy before it happened.
Monica Azuba Ntege the minister of works and transport in her statement blamed VIPS who were on the boat and threatened to throw three officers into the water after they attempted to stop the captain from moving the killer boat.
She added that the real captain refused to take the boat on water, forcing the owner and now late Templar Bisase to hire a learner to move the boat that would later send him to the creator with his wife and 31 others.
She added that the vessel was previously a trawler which was converted into a passenger vessel without requisite approvals by the line ministry and was operating cruise voyages mainly on weekends between various private beaches in mukono.
She now says authorities will arrest anyone operating unlicensed vessels. “Boat owners/operators must abide to prevailing laws and regulations governing water transport safety. Security agencies have been ordered to arrest anyone found operating any vessel without operator licenses and lifesaving appliances” the minister warned.
But, hon. Pentagon Kamusiime asked government to apologize for what he calls ‘ministry of work’s negligence and to promise the public that such a calamity will never befall the country again.
Leader of opposition in parliament hon. Betty Aol said the tragedy shows lack of seriousness on the side of authority. “Police can’t say they were overpowered, yet when it comes to opposition events, they can’t be overpowered. We are shedding tears because of negligence and unprofessionalism, if police acted well, probably this vessel wouldn’t have gone on water” she said.
This morning, former Kyamuswa MP Moses Kabuusu says this is an accident like any other and should not be scared of sailing. He however warns that this is not a good season for sailing especially if one is a visitor.
He mentioned a few myths believed by fishing communities including a famous one of “Mukasa yessalidde” literally meaning that the god of waters has sacrificed for itself. He also mentioned that fishermen do not like to carry a big number of women on a boat. He says it is also a myth that it is very dangerous and water does not like many females on a vessel at once.
Kabuusu who survived death on waters a few years ago, says it is always important to listen to fishermen because they understand the waters more than visitors.
Prime minister Dr. Rugunda says the country has a problem and should devise possible means of addressing it.
The marines are still struggling to pull the wreckage out of the lake. After several attempts even by the Kalangala ferry, the killer boat has not moved an inch, yet there is a possibility of body being stuck under wreckage.