According to the Daily Monitor, friends of Simon Odur Akena, whose body was found floating on the shores of Lake Victoria on Tuesday, have described him as a man who lived a troubled life away from his immediate family. Akena disappeared on Saturday last week before his body was discovered by a fisherman at Kitubulu in Entebbe. The deceased died from manual strangulation, the police, said.

“While at university, he would attend Quantity Survey classes, but he never sat for exams because he did not have money,” Mr Andrew Mukembo, one of Akena’s close friends, told the Sunday Monitor in an interview.

Mr Mukembo, who runs Starmark Construction Company in Bukoto, Kampala, where the deceased used to spend quality time, said he used to engage Akena to work as a supervisor at his construction sites. He said the deceased had no qualifications and was not an engineer or graphic designer as reported.

“He looked out for things he was passionate about. He loved IT and had friends who are programmers. He basically lived from help to help, he lived off handout,” Mr Mukembo, the man described by Akena’s friends as a close friend to Akena, said. Before he died, Akena had won an Adela programme to study coding.

Within Mr Mukembo’s family, Akena was regarded as a brother by his brothers, sisters and aunties. He said: “My mum, aunties, everyone the village knew him as my brother and even my in-laws knew him as a brother. He attended my family gatherings, Akena’s life was friends.”

Mr Mukembo added that Akena lived a simple life and dismissed claims that there were people who owed the deceased Shs4m or Shs6m.

“He had nothing to his name, his possessions were a Huawei Y9 mobile phone and a laptop given to him by friends. Even the clothes he was killed in were my clothes,” he said.

Mr Mukembo said instead of police arresting Akena’s friends, they should use them to find out more about him.
According to him, the family that showed up after Akena’s death was strange to him. It is reported that the day Akena disappeared, he had been hanging out at Nexus bar on Kiwatule-Najjeera Road.

Mr Mukembo said he learnt about the disappearance from Zulu Wanzala, another of Akena’s friens now detained at Mukono Police Station. “It’s Zulu who first contacted me about the disappearance. The concern was that when Zulu tried to call him, he could not be reached. So we contacted his sister, who told the uncle to help us open a case at Mukono Police Station,” Mr Mukembo said.

There was an air of mistrust between the two groups during Akena’s burial in Nsuube on Kamuli road in Jinja District on Friday. Zulu, a ‘freelance accountant’, was one of the people who used to help Mr Akena. It is reported that Zulu’s wife allegedly dropped off the deceased at Ntinda, Kampala, before giving him some money.

Mr Paul Ssengooba, the deceased’s cousin, said he received the news of his missing cousin from Solomon King, a friend of Zulu. Another friend of the deceased identified as Edwin said he met the deceased at Makerere University when attending Pr Martin Sempa’s Prime Time at the poolside. The two, together with Mukembo, were members of a Christian group called Brothers and Sisters in Christ and used to visit each other’s home to share the word of God.

“We had taken long without meeting, but we remained in touch via WhatsApp,” Edwin said, adding that the group, however, became inactive after the death of their group leader Joel Ntwatwa.

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