By Rita Mukasa
Annet Kabugo lives in Kitikifumba village in Kira municipality, Wakiso district with her two teenage children.
She previously worked at World Bank as an administrative officer and later, an accountant. In 2013, she joined Rural Electrification Agency (REA) as a senior internal Auditor up to 2022 when she resigned to run her lighting company.
Her late husband, Moses Kabugo, was the proprietor of Malcom Logistics Company and Mulawa Mall located in Kira town. He previously worked with Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) as a tax officer.
In 2021, Kabugo collapsed and died after working out at a gym in Ntinda, Kampala. After the burial, his widow was locked in a property ownership battle with in-laws but she won it with the help of the law and the deceased’s friends.
The law and my husband’s friends helped me
After burial in the Mpigi district, Annet’s in-laws followed her to her home.
“They asked for the property my husband left behind and I mentioned the mall because we had sold off all the land we had to construct it,” she says.
What followed was a bitter exchange between the in-laws and mourners from Annet’s side.
In the months that followed, Annet says her in-laws took over the mall, vehicle, and logistics company.
She struggled to provide for her children and they almost dropped out of school.
“They also planned to throw me out of my matrimonial home and take away my kids, but friends and family stood with me,” she says adding, “I bought that land before I got married. We agreed to build our home on it because everything was for the children.”
Annet says the first year after her husband’s demise was hell.
She is grateful to Kabugo’s friends who helped her to seek justice.
“They helped me get the letters of administration. The administrator general was very professional and respectful of the law,” she says.
Even after getting the letters of administration, Annet says she was still barred from accessing her husband’s property.
The late’s friends intervened again. They advised her to seek redress from the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), which called for a meeting and resolved the fights. She says the marriage certificate also helped her a lot. By the end of the year, she had reclaimed the property and had it transferred in her children’s names.
“I testify that the law works. I appeal to every cohabiting woman to legalise her marriage. When you lose your husband, the law will fight for you. If I were not legally married, the road would have been so bumpy for me. Also, keep good friends and be good to your family because they will stand with you through thick and thin. My family and Moses’ friends never left my side. They ensured we received justice. In addition, widows should be confident and bold. Do not be cowed. Stand firm and fight for what belongs to you and your children, and remember to pray all the time. God is a good judge. He will always fight with you,” Annet says.