Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mother, son reunited after DNA test

SHAMILAH Nakintu was jailed and went through a painful court process for allegedly stealing a child until a DNA test proved that she was the mother. Before then, she had endured insults daily basis as the public considered her to be baby thief.

She resigned from her job, changed residences and kept indoors much of the time to avoid sneers from onlookers.

Her trouble started when Harriet Nakafeero, a woman who had visited her neighbour, started claiming that Ronald Katende Junior was her child.

The Police took both women for a DNA test, to determine the rightful mother. On January 11, experts collected samples from Ronald Katende, Nakafeero, Nakintu and their husbands.

After one month, the results from the Government laboratories showed that Shamila Nakintu is the boy's mother.

I gave birth to a son on April 2, 2010 at Mulago Hospital, and we named him Ronald Katende Jr. We also called him Wasswa, a name given to twins because his legs came out first during birth. Such a child is known as "Kasowole" and is taken to be a twin, according to Kiganda culture.

Junior Katende is my second-born, however, I don't have enough milk so I do not breastfeed him.

I work full-time, so I hired a maid to take care of him.

One day while at work I received a phone call from my maid that my child had been taken by the Police, claiming that he was not mine.

Immediately, I jumped onto a boda boda to the Kawempe Police station where my child had been taken. On reaching there, Harriet Nakafeero accused me of kidnapping her son. Efforts to prove that the baby was mine were futile.

An angry mob started throwing insults accusing me of kidnapping a child. I was arrested with my maid and spent seven days in jail. All the time, my mind was focussed on the labour pains I experienced while giving birth to my son.

The Police denied me the access to my son for a while. However, after a few days, he was given back to me as investigations went on.

Life has been hard since I was paraded in the press as a suspected baby thief.

One day, I was in the old taxi park heading to Namasuba and I was surrounded by people who were insulting me and calling a child kidnapper. "Wuuyo eyabba omwana wa munne" loosely translated as: "this is the woman who kidnapped a child of another woman".

Matters got out of hand when some youth tried to undress me. Fortunately a Policeman officer came to my rescue and took me to a nearby police post.

I used to sell domestic appliances in Kikuubo, but due to insults I was receiving daily, I was forced to resign from my job, because the conditions there were unbearable. I have never got another job.

One day while I was still in Kikuubo, an old woman shouted at me in public that I was about to go mad because of the unforgivable crime I had committed.

Wherever I moved, people kept whispering behind my back. Consequently I tried as much as possible not to move during the day. I decided to spend most of day time in my house.

I was forced to shift from Kazo because I could no longer take the gossip.

Now I know. It is only during bad times that you can know your real friends. I recall one evening, a friend came to my home and requested me to tell him the "real mother of my child".

But since I have been staying with my child, I was convinced that with God, justice would be served.

In fact I have been the one calling the Police to find out whether DNA results have been released.

I thank the Government for paying for the DNA test, because I could not afford it.

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