Updated by Faith Barbara Namagembe at 1105 EAT on Tuesday 31st May 2022.
Jovita Tukahiirwa, one of the 44 pilgrims trekking a 395km journey from Ntungamo district, western Uganda has been knocked dead by a speeding car in Lyantonde along the Mbarara-Kampala highway.
Tukahiirwa, 54, was killed by a speeding Toyota Harrier registration number, UBH 186F today after trekking about 135km of the journey to Namugongo to mark Martyrs Day celebrations on June 3.
The 44 Catholic pilgrims set off on foot from Kitwe Catholic parish in Ntugamo district last Friday. The deceased had moved slightly ahead of her colleagues and was attempting to cross on the other side of the highway when she was knocked dead at Akagate trading center between Kiruhura and Lyantonde districts.
Joel Komaketch, the Kiruhura district police commander, says that they arrested the driver and impounded the vehicle for overspeeding on the highway in disregard of other road users.
“We have consistently been asking the drivers to slow down their vehicle for purposes of securing the pilgrims in this season, but maybe some people are just ignoring our requests,” he noted.
He, however, noted that the driver is currently out on police bond following guidance from the resident state attorney. Komaketch notes that because some of the foot pilgrims are from typical villages, they are not familiar with safety and traffic guidelines.
Rev Father Deo Mugisha, the Kitwe parish priest who flagged off the pilgrims says that the deceased’s body was returned home for a decent burial. He explains that prior to flagging off the foot pilgrims, they gave them reflector jackets and asked them to move as a group.
“But the other group members have proceeded well and we are continuously guiding them on safety from the vehicles and other problems they may encounter on the way,” he says.
The death comes shortly after a female Anglican foot pilgrim from Rubirizi district in West Ankole Diocese collapsed dead moments after making it to Namugongo Martyrs shrine yesterday morning.