African News

Mystery Over Dead African Journalist

6 March 2006 at 01:59 | 684 views

By Abu Shaw, London Bureau Chief

The recent death of an African journalist in Liverpool, England, has since brought more questions than answers as the deceased is still unknown up to the time of writing this story.

A press release sent by email to media and refugee organisations in the United Kingdom could not unravel the mystery. The Bristol based Exiled Journalists Network (EJN), the Greater Manchester Refugee Groups, the Refugees & Asylum Seekers Adults & Families North West Consortium and the Refugees & Asylum Seekers Resettlement Support Team in Liverpool have all been left dumbfounded despite ceaseless efforts to trace the origin of the dead journalist.

According to a press release dated 22 February 2006,the Manager of the Refugees & Asylum Seekers Adults & Families Consortium, Mr. Karl Oram disclosed the name of the dead journalist as Mr. James Ntanda.

Mr Oram noted that James Ntanda is believed to have come from the East African state of Uganda and he was granted an Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK by the Home Office about two years ago. He said the African Journalist was said to have died of natural causes. His corpse was found in his flat near Holt Road in Liverpool.

The identification of the African Journalist became even remote after persistent public appeals to identify him failed to bear any fruits. “We have not been able to trace any friends or relatives so far. If anyone has had contact with any relatives or friends please forward the details to us,” the press release signed by Karl Oram added.

Mr. Oram was disappointed over the little information available on Mr James Ntanda and he subsequently feared that his burial would go ahead without the attendance of acquintances who know him.

As a follow up, the Patriotic Vanguard informed a former Ugandan Sports Minister in late Idi Amin’s regime Captain Muhammad Seruwagi. Captain Seruwagi, currently exiled in England, confirmed the familiarity of the James Ntanda name but he too could not appropriately trace the journalist. He however thanked the Patriotic Vanguard for the information.

Captain Seruwagi in turn contacted a veteran British Journalist and writer Bob Astles in London. Mr. Astles, a former Senior Adviser to Idi Amin, was equally shocked and he too was unable to identify the media house James Ntanda was associated with. Captain Seruwagi later told the Patriotic Vanguard about relaying the news to the press in Uganda.

Brian Dodd, the Property Protection Officer at the Adult Protection Unit Municipal Buildings in Liverpool, was put in charge of the funeral arrangements for James Ntanda. Mr. Dodd proceeded with the funeral after they failed to discover anything significant during a search of the deceased’s flat.

The remains of James Ntanda were cremated at the Anfield Crematorium in Liverpool on Friday February 24 at 4.00 pm. “I’ve also arranged for a coffin spray so the occasion will be as dignified as possible but without many mourners at the moment,” Mr Dodd said shortly before the cremation.

Photo. HE Joseph Muchemi, Uganda’s High Commissioner to the UK (right).