By Elizabeth Kabibi
As more information continues to trickle in regarding the tragic demise of our brother, friend, colleague, son, nephew and father Michael Arinda alias Ziggy Wine (R.I.P), there are a number of lessons for us to learn from this sad story in regard to our own safety. For starters, I have closely followed this story and compared all versions from what people power put out to what police’s investigations revealed. I have no doubt in my heart that indeed Ziggy Wine’s death is a result of an accident, what I am first and foremost concerned about is the report that he didn’t have any identification on him.
It is alleged that at the time of the late Arinda’s accident, he hadn’t carried any identification on him which made it hard for anyone to trace his relatives and friends. This then according to renowned media practitioner Andrew Mwenda of Independent magazine, forced the management of Mulago Hospital where a Good Samaritan had dropped him for treatment to register him as an unknown patient under the code name “Zulu.” I think it is important for everyone to always endeavor to carry identification cards or any identification within their means, it can be as basic as a pen writing on a plain paper as long as it identifies who you are in case of any unfortunate incident. For those with password and fingerprint secured smart phones, let them take advantage of emergency contact which is a provision in every smart phone worth the name whereby one doesn’t require a password to dial them in case of eventualities. This helps people to reach out to one’s loved ones easily. Mulago hospital confirmed that indeed the late Arinda was admitted there for a few days and later discharged from hospital with some medication, however; he didn’t take the medication as prescribed by the doctors. This is believed to have caused more damage leading to his death.
I suspect that maybe the late could have developed a level of self-hatred due to the physical damages caused by the accident especially the alleged loss of his eye and two fingers forcing him to take a decision not to take his medication. This is consequently a call for hospitals to consider counselling as an integral part of the healing process, and to call upon relatives and friends of people in such conditions to always keep an eye on them, love and care for them and also help with their medication to prevent further damage. I would also want to shift my focus to Uganda’s media fraternity, I am not sure if they are trying to prove right people’s accusations of, “Our Media Has Gone to the Dogs,” but I am certain that we are doing really acutely as far as truth, investigation and clarity are concerned.
The shear absurdity is that our media in my own observation is in an era of breaking news regardless of whether the information is authentic or not. I find it very ridiculous that our media which is primarily meant to inform the public is instead performing better at misleading, but what is even more preposterous is that our leaders have also jumped onto the media wagon and decided to politicize situations as sad as the death of our own. We haven’t come to this, have we? I believe we can do better. Above all, I applaud the team at NBS Television that dug deeper into the actual cause of Arinda’s death, because of their focused investigative journalism, eyewitnesses were given platform to speak out, exposing all the earlier allegations of kidnap and torture as unauthentic.
This to me should be a wakeup call to the rest of the media fraternity and our leaders that were wrongly accusing government for having murdered Arinda to always consider verifying information before sending it out to the public. Now that the truth has been revealed, witnesses of the accident and doctors that attended to the late Arinda have spoken out confirming that it was an accident, will our dear ‘traders of falsehoods’ allow to chew on their cunt? It is only catastrophic that we can’t pray for the dead to rest in peace, but take advantage of their death to get relevant to the masses.
It is such a shame; I worry for the future if we don’t change our ways. My heartfelt condolences go out to the family of Arinda, may God give you the courage to move on and may he Rest his Soul in Eternal Peace. The only joy that we carry in our hearts is that the late is survived by a child, I pray for that child’s good health and long life, Amen.
The writer is a Communications Assistant at Government Citizen Interaction Centre (GCIC), Ministry of ICT & National Guidance.