Family declines to take relative's body, questions cause of death

The body was driven to the mortuary on September 13 in a vehicle believed to belong to Tanzania Prisons Service.

Summary

  • Man was allegedly hit and killed by a Prisons vehicle, but no details were given when his body was taken to the regional hospital

Dodoma. The immediate family members of Richard Bulole, who died last week, have declined to take his body for burial, requesting the government to intervene, saying his death is “questionable”.

Information obtained by Mwananchi shows that the deceased’s body was handed over to mortuary attendants of the Dodoma Regional Referral Hospital last Tuesday evening by an unidentified individual.

The body was driven to the mortuary on September 13 in a vehicle believed to belong to Tanzania Prisons Service.

Reached for comment, however, Commissioner of Prisons Mzee Nyamka said he was not aware of the matter.

“I’m currently not in Dodoma. Moreover, I don’t have any information. No one has furnished me with information that a prison’s vehicle has hit a pedestrian, causing his death and carried his body to the hospital. Try to inquire from my colleagues,” he said.

A younger brother of the deceased, Mr Bulole Bukombe, told a journalist, “We are certain that a car belonging to Prisons hit our brother, and caused his death.”

According to him, the truth is being hidden, and that is why the laid-down procedure was not followed when the deceased’s body was taken to the mortuary.

Mr Bukombe argued that if the identified individuals had actually picked up the body from the roadside, they would not conceal their identities, which include names and places of work because they were good Samaritans.

“We’re in doubt. Why did they hide their identities? If one has good intentions, why doing it clandestinely? Why did they fail even to register the body at the reception because that is the procedure,” he observed.

Recalling the matter, Mr Bukombe said on the day of the incident, he received a phone call informing him that his brother had been hit by a vehicle belonging to Tanzania Prisons Service and that they had taken him to the hospital.

“Since I was outside Dodoma, I phoned his son, Emmanuel Bukombe, who on the same night went to identify his father’s body. He, however, said that the body could not be easily recognised, and that there was no further information regarding his father’s death,” he said.

According to him, they tried to search for any clue, but never got it until they decided to focus their attention on the hospital staff who promised to help them find the truth.

The medical officer in charge of Dodoma Regional Referral Hospital, Dr Ernest Ibenzi, said the hospital received the deceased body, which had been kept in the mortuary for about six days, and admitted that some of the hospital staff were negligent as they never recorded anything.

According to Dr Ibenzi, after the matter escalated, he was informed that the body was brought in by some prison warders in a car belonging to Tanzania Prisons Service.

“Whenever we receive bodies and injured people for the Police Force, staff are required to follow all the procedures and document each and everything. Unfortunately, our staff failed to register the information as required,” Dr Ibezi said.

According to him, the hospital will cooperate with the family by getting them the footage of the day that the body was brought and that the vehicle and the warders in question will be identified.

Dodoma Regional Police Commander Martin Otieno could not be reached by phone yesterday despite several attempts by Mwananchi to contact him.

However, a police officer from the Traffic Department in Dodoma told Mwananchi yesterday that no traffic incident involving Richard Bulole had been reported.

“I’m not the police spokesperson for Dodoma Region. Ask the RPC, but what I can assure you is that we do not have any information about that accident in our files,” said the source who preferred not to be named.

He said the Police Force was in no way involved with the death, and that it was nowhere in their reports.