EXCLUSIVE: More details have come out on a 15-yr-old girl in Hoima district who committed suicide after being harassed by parents and neighbours over her Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) results performance.
Daphine Kimuli has been described by relatives and friends as a reserved person who would occasionally warm up to her friends, parents and teachers. No one close to her ever imagined she would kill herself.
“She has shocked us beyond our imagination” Mr. David Rukendeze, Kimuli’s uncle with whom she stayed in Kinubi cell in Hoima East in Hoima City, says.
Born in Kitamba village, Bwijanga Subcounty, Bujenje County in Masindi District, Kimuli, 15, started her primary education at Kitamba Primary School
In 2018, her parents, Justus Wobusobozi and Malita Mercy handed her over to Rukendeze, a businessman in Hoima City.
Her parents, who are peasant farmers, had reportedly faced difficulties in raising money for her school fees and other necessities.
While at his home, Rukendeze says Kimuli actively participated in all domestic chores.
“She would sweep the courtyard, cook, bathe her cousins aged nine and six. We were proud of her. She was well disciplined and responsible,” Mr. Rukendeze narrates amid tears.
He reveals that Kimuli aspired to be a nurse. “All that has remained a wish. She is no more!” he adds.
According to Rukendeze, Kimuli’s target was to score a first or second grade.
But in the just-released PLE results, Kimuli scored 28 aggregates amassing a credit 6 in English, credit 6 in social studies, pass 8 in science, and pass 8 in mathematics.
The Bwikya Primary School headteacher, Mr. Francis Bagonza, says the school had one first grade, 17-second grades, 17 third grades, nine fourth grades while three pupils did not turn up to sit for their final exams. A total of 12 pupils failed.
Following the release of the exam results, Kimuli walked about 500 metres from her home to the school.
“I asked her if she already knew her performance and she said she did from an SMS code system. I congratulated her upon passing in third grade and informed her that she qualified to join secondary school,” Mr. Bagonza says.
Kimuli wanted to join Bwikya Muslim Secondary School about 400 metres from her home.
Although she informed her former headteacher how she had already known her results and only wanted him to avail her a copy of her PLE certificate, she told her parents that she had not found any teacher at school.
The family reportedly told her to be patient and wait when the school would avail the results to her.
But she continued being restless, her peers told this website.
Alfred Wabyoona, her former classmate, says Kimuli spent the whole of Sunday and Monday isolated at her former school.
“She requested the school guard to allow her spend time here. She harvested mangoes and avocados,” Wabyoona says.
Ms. Faridah Nasinza, Kimuli’s former English teacher, says the deceased would visit her home to consult whenever she didn’t understand in class.
“She would relate well with teachers but she did not have many friends at school. She would most times be alone,” says Nasinza.
On Monday, she reportedly lined up at Bwikya Mosque for registration among the people who would receive meat on Eid-ul- Adha.
Rukendeze says on Tuesday, his niece was moody and hesitant to do any domestic work.
“We thought that was temporary and we hoped she would normalize,” Rukendeze says.
Her stepmother, Susan Ntekaniza, says Kimuli spent two days writing a letter and would not allow her siblings to read.
She adds that when she was called to help bathe her nephews, she reluctantly accepted.
After bathing the children, Kimuli reportedly stood at the veranda as she leaned on a blue water tank.
“When I finished cooking and taking food in the main house, she quickly picked up a bucket and walked hurriedly to the washroom which made us think she had gone to bathe,” says Ntekaniza.
Kimuli never returned to her home which prompted the family to mount the search in the neighbourhood in vain.
The following day, Kimuli’s body was found hanging from a jackfruit tree.
Kimuli reportedly left a dying declaration with her friend accusing a neighbor she claimed was her worst enemy.
She further claimed that people jeering and made fun of her due to her performance at school.
Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident.
Mr. Julius Kakiza, the Albertine Regional Police spokesperson, says witnesses told them that Kimuli was tired of being laughed at due to her poor performance at school.
What Education Experts Say
Renowned educationist Fagil Mandy says Uganda has a skewed education system where people think that the purpose of education is only passing exams.
“Apart from passing exams, the communities seem not to see the value of education other than passing. Probably, the people who were jeering at her saw her as having failed exams without considering what she had learned from school and people around her,” Mr. Mandy told Daily Express in a telephone interview on Thursday evening.
He says the education system needs to be revised beginning with taking into account the skills, knowledge, and attitudes which candidates attain.