Home news Tycoon Freeman Kiyimba recounts how boat capsized minutes after police left

Tycoon Freeman Kiyimba recounts how boat capsized minutes after police left

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Kiyimba Freeman presenting at a Buganda-American convention in 2015 on behalf of Buganda Kingdom
Kiyimba Freeman presenting at a Buganda-American convention in 2015 on behalf of Buganda Kingdom

Today marks exactly a week since a boat capsized in Lake Victoria killing over 30 revellers who were on a boat cruise.

Kiyimba Freeman's house which he says cost him Shs10billion to construct
Kiyimba Freeman’s house which he says cost him Shs10billion to construct

The number of rescued is only 27 out of over 100 people believed to have been on the boat.

Among the rescued is city tycoon Freeman Kiyimba, who finally came out on moments leading to and after the capsizing of the boat.

Kiyimba recounts that their Boat Cruise party was originally scheduled for 10 November, 2018. However, it had to be pushed to a later date because the boat they were to use had been booked by other revellers.

“The boat they had first booked is a good boat and in very good condition. I have ever used it so when I was told it was the boat we were to use, I confirmed my attendance,” says Kiyimba.

Learning it had been booked, they tried booking another boat but it was booked too.

It’s at this moment that the organiser (Templar) decided to use his boat that had been grounded for weeks.

“We were scheduled to depart (from KK Beach) at 1pm but it wasn’t until 4pm that the boat came. Even when it did, it never reached to the shores. It remained several meters away and we had to be ferried to it by smaller boats.”

He says that police started following them as soon as they set off.

“I realised there was a boat following us as soon as we set off. It had police officers. It first followed from behind but moments later It started going around our boat. It then left. About 10 minutes after leaving, that marked the beginning of our problems. What followed were instructions ordering us to move to one side of the boat so as to balance (it). It was the first time I was hearing such. Doesn’t a boat have shock absorbers for balancing? It had now got clear to me this boat was beyond a DMC. It’s owners were just reaping but hardly investing in its servicing. I swore not to return on the same boat.”

The engine finally came to a stop and the boat was just floating. It was hit by a strong wave forcing the it to capsize.

“It capsized on the side on which I was seated. I was among the first people to fall into water but I used my swimming skills to get to the top.”

Helping a female colleague holding onto his belt, he began swimming to safety until when they were rescued.

“Many of the dead must have been chocked by water. When the boat capsized, there were wails all over the place with people calling out God to save them while some were worried about their children whom they were about to leave behind.”

After a five day struggle of trying to retrieve the wreckage of the boat, police finally brought it to the shores. However, no body was found it in. The search for missing persons and their properties is still ongoing.

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