Uganda woman dies in Oman, family stuck with body

By Paul Tajuba

Thursday April 25, 2019

At the beginning of 2018, Mr James Obed and his wife Christine Nambereke, brainstormed on how to free themselves from the pangs of poverty.
They had put their hands on farming with no ray of hope yet the cost of living increased each day.
Late that year, “a samaritan” came to their rescue in Bumbo Village in Namisindwa District with a proposal too sweet to ignore.

The agent suggested Nambereke be taken to Oman to work as a maid, a job he said was a “quick way to make money with less hustle’’.
Her monthly pay would be Shs600,000, the agent promised, according to her husband, Mr Obed.
In less than three weeks, travel documents were processed and availed to her.

In September last year, Nambereke set off to Oman through Lwakhakha, a border between Uganda and Kenya, full of hope for a better future for herself and family. It was never the case though.
“I thought this money would be enough to take care of our children. I was convinced and I did not hesitate to allow her to go to Oman and I stay to take care of the children. Even her family [Nambereke] accepted and we hoped for the best,” said Mr Obed.

The couple has seven children---the oldest, 14, and youngest twins,3.
“We rejoiced when she was setting off and after three days, she called me and informed me that she had reached safely and had started work,” Mr Obed added in an interview with this newspaper yesterday.

Three months on the job, Nambereke, 31, telephoned her husband asking him to arrange with the local agent with a view of changing her employer in Oman. She said the workload was unbearable and the employer was abusive, the reason she wanted to return to Uganda or get another home to work, Mr Obed narrated.

Her request did not yield and on March 8, her employer got her a ticket to Nairobi. But two days later as her family was expecting her return, a man in Oman instead informed them that Nambereke had died in a motor accident.
Ms Malisa Nambuya, the sister-in-law to the deceased, said they have been trying to repatriate the body to Uganda in vain.
“We have spent all the money we had. An agent in Oman asked for Shs4m to bring the body and we sent the money but again asked for more money which we do not have,” Ms Nambuya said.

Ms Marriam Mwiza, the executive director of Over Seas Workers’ Voice Uganda, who has been helping the family get the body, said they have sought help from different offices in Uganda and Saudi Arabia embassy which normally helps trapped Ugandans in Middle East but in vain.
“The family knows the trafficker and they reported him to police but police have not arrested him up to now,” Ms Mwiza said.

Mr Obed said his children have put him under unbearable pressure to bring their mother home.
“At least they want to see her, bury and see the grave where their mother is,” he said.
When contacted, Mr Martin Wandera, the director of Labour at the Labour Ministry, asked for the details of the family and pledged to meet them and offer support.