Rachael Ayebazibwe, a former student at Kyambogo University who passed away on Sunday after being shot by a stray bullet has been eulogized as a hardworking and peaceful person. Ayebazibwe, was at her brother Walter Ayebare’s home in Kyebando Kisalosalo in having left her hostel in Kyebando after completing her final semester exams, when she was shot.
Ayebare, during the funeral service held at Kakumba Chapel at Kyambogo University, said his sister was washing clothes on Sunday afternoon when a stray bullet hit her in the head and penetrated her brain. She was rushed to Nsambya hospital and was in coma for six days before she breathed her last on Sunday.
“Rachael was squeezing clothes while I was inside the house. We were talking and I heard people calling me that she had fallen down. They asked me for drugs thinking she had a complication that I knew about. I told them she never had any complication. We then saw some blood on her head,” Mr Ayebare said.
An operation was conducted at Nsambya hospital where an AK47 bullet was removed from Ayebazibwe’s skull. Mr Ayebare suspects his sister was killed by a bullet as the army and police dispersed crowds in Kyebando Kisalosalo, that had started a protest demanding for Mr Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine’s release.
Ayebbazibwe’s death is a double tragedy for the family. Her father has been bedridden for years and her mother Ms Rosette Tugasirwe has been toiling to bring up their four children. Their second born was crippled by measles at tender age while the first born dropped out of school.
The family’s hope remained in their last two children, Ayebare and Ayebazibwe. The duo completed Senior Six in the same year but could not join university at the same time due to financial constraints.
It was agreed that Ayebare would go to university first and after that help pay tuition for his sister after graduating.
The teary Ms Tugasirwe told mourners that it was her daughter’s suggestion to first educate her older brother.
“Rachael told me, ‘Mummy I know you can’t raise tuition for both of us. But I request you to pay for my brother and I will join after he has completed his studies’,” Ms Tugasirwe shared.
Mr Ayebare was sent to university as his sister remained home to help their mother raise his tuition through doing casual jobs among others looking after animals, working in neighbours’ gardens and vending food stuff.
After he graduated with a degree in biomedicine, Ayebare then started helping out with his young sister’s tuition in 2015. Ayebazibwe studied for a bachelor’s degree in micro-financing and was supposed to graduate in December with an upper second class degree
Ayebazibwe did her internship in June at Community Microfinance Fund; her supervisor Ms Vennitah Bayiga said during her industrial training she exhibited the highest degree of commitment and honesty and as a result she had been offered a job. She was to report for duty on August 20 but was hit by the stray bullet on the eve.
“Rachael’s performance was very unique. We’re impressed and we chose to offer her a job. She was a humble, hardworking and committed girl. We are saddened by her death. It is unfortunate she has died hours after receiving her appointment letter,” Ms Bayiga said.
Ayebazibwe’s class coordinator, Mr Habakkuk Tumwebaze and her lecturer, Dr Henry Tumwebaze, also head of economics department, described her as a down-to-earth person but above all her courage and confidence was outstanding.
“She always encouraged us to read and believed in herself. She never believed in negativity and she was very humble and respectful to all students. She had no room for anger,” Mr Tumwebaze said.
Dr Tumwebaze and Rev Abedi Mwizerwa urged the government to restrain its security men from using live bullets to disperse protesters. “Let people be allowed and guided to express their dissatisfactions freely and peacefully. We do not need to use guns to engage protesters. We are losing young and promising people because of misused guns,” Dr Tumwebaze said.
The 23-year-old will be laid to rest today at her ancestral home at Rwamumira village, Mukongoro Sub County in Ntungamo District.