Investigations into the death of United Bank of Africa employee Barbara Zalwango, at the moment, are geared towards suicide.
The investigators, however, are keeping all options open and the results of a toxicological tests are expected to provide more details.
Zalwango’s body was discovered in a banana plantation close to her ancestral home in Nkokonjeru, Buikwe District, on Thursday evening.
A woman, only identified as Nnalongo, is said to have been alerted to the presence of the body in her garden by stray dogs that were roaming about.
Zalwango’s body with her face facing up was still in a ‘tie and dye’ kitenge dress. The body was taken to Kawolo Hospital mortuary from where it was picked up on Friday and taken to the City Mortuary in Kampala.
An empty one-litre container of Lava pesticide, a toxic substance which is also used to fumigate premises, was found near her body and is sold on the open market.
Also recovered at the scene, the police said, was a small maroon bag containing a mobile phone, Shs12,000 and some coins. There was also a knife and what is being considered as a suicide note.
Words indicating that the body was of Barbra Zalwango, ‘granddaughter of Iga’, were found scribbled in first person narrative on a khaki envelope thrown close to where the body lay.
Police sources say relatives of the deceased claimed that that was Zalwango’s handwriting, in capital letters, but detectives are still keen to pass it by a handwriting expert to prove it.
Even if the note was handwritten by Zalwango, however, police sources say it is possible that she could have been forced to write it, and therefore the mere presence of the note is not conclusive evidence of suicide.
A postmortem by a police pathologist at the City Mortuary in Kampala did not discover anything odd. All the internal organs were intact, the doctors found, and the body had no bruises apart from the scratches on the knee said to have been inflictated by dog bites, possibly after she had died.
The absence of physical injuries on the body is drawing the detectives to lean towards the view that Zalwango’s death was not caused by another external force.
But Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Luke Owoyesigire says the investigators are keeping all options open.
Mr Owoyesigire said: “We have carried out the postmortem but we shall wait for the results from the Government Analytical Laboratories to establish whether she indeed took her own life.”
The Government Analytical Laboratories is conducting toxicological tests on samples drawn from Zalwango’s body.
Detectives on Friday returned to the spot where Zalwango’s body was recovered from to reconstruct the scene and snoop for clues.
Zalwango went missing last Sunday and her close relatives reported a case of her disappearance on the evening of the same day after they failed to get in touch with her.
The last person she is said to have been in contact with that fateful Sunday is her sister, whose name we are yet to establish. The meeting between the sisters is said to have taken place at Shoprite Shopping Mall on Entebbe Road in Kampala.
Police say Zalwango told her sister that she was going to Kakiri, where Zalwango and her husband had acquired land to set up a farm.
Mr Mapus told this newspaper that on leaving home that Sunday, his wife told him that she was going to her farm in Kakiri but was first going to meet her sister in town.
Change of plan
After the meeting with her sister, Zalwango is said to have left her with the same information that she was going to Kakiri, but her sister later received a message from Zalwango’s phone that the deceased had instead gone to Nkokonjeru.
Her sister reportedly tried to follow up with a phone call to find out why and how Zalwango, who had said she was headed for Kakiri, had ended up at the ancestral place, but calls to Zalwango’s phone reportedly went unanswered.
The phone went off later that day and on contacting the people in Zalwango’s Village in Nkokonjeru, it was established that she had not reached there. This is what prompted her husband and the sister to report to the police.
Messages with her pictures were also sent out on social media as a search for her was mounted until the heart-wrenching end arrived on Thursday evening. Zalwango is survived by three children and is set to be buried today at Nkokonjeru.
There are hardly any suggestions into what could have happened to end Zalwango’s life. Her husband, Mr Livingstone Mapus, says he was unaware of any troubles that could have led to his wife taking her own life or to be killed.
From her workplace as a banking officer at the head office of United Bank of Africa in Kampala, nothing has been gleaned so far as to whether Zalwango was in any trouble that would lead her to take her life or get killed.
Police sources say nothing of value has so far been established as to the motive of either suicide or murder regarding Zalwango.