Human Rights Activist, Willington Ssekadde, Abuses, Traumatises and Denies me my Babies aged 3 and 2 years
When you read the touching story of Prisca Baike, you can’t fail to cry. The mother of two has narrated her brutalised relationship with human rights activist Willington Ssekadde. Here is her story;
“I have beaten you, insulted you and chased you but you are not leaving. If you don’t want to leave this house alive, tell your people to buy a coffin in which they will take you.” Said the father of my two children
“I will stay here and raise my kids,” I responded amid tears generated by the blow I had just received on my head before my kids, who were more or less used to this scenario.
“Are these the bu-ones keeping you here? Take them and go or else, leave them to die from here. After all I have my other kids and a woman who are meant to be staying here,” he said before driving off in his Mercedes Benz Compressor UAX 450K.
“Daddy is bad,” said my innocent daughter, trying to comfort me.
As I looked at the big house and my Pajero UAZ 871J parked on the one-acre compound, I missed the good old days Willington and I had in our two-roomed Muzigo in Kireka, with not even enough compound space for a boda to park but we were happy.
Willington Ssekade and I met in March 2013 when he was working as the programs manager at raising voices and I had just started a journalism career with the Observer Newspaper.
A few months later, his organisation was awarded a DFID project which came with lots of allowances and in a nutshell, our lives changed. He finally completed his house that he had been building for the last six years, expanded the plot from a mere 90×100 to one acre, bought two Mercedes Benzes, a Pajero, several plots of land, and constructed flats for rent in Mukono.
He asked me to have kids, promising he was going to marry me but two kids later and four years down the road there was no marriage. Any mention of the word would spark a beating.
He first laid his hand on me when I was six weeks pregnant with our first child in September 2013. Later at seven months of pregnancy, I had locked myself in the bathroom of our rented Kireka muzigo to escape his beating when he forcefully kicked the door open, nearly killing me in the process. I went back home to my parents and delivered our daughter from there.
Seeing that our innocent child needed both her parents, I gave him another chance and in 2015, we had a second child, Malcolm Ssekadde who was prematurely born due to an infection and the stress I was enduring in the abusive violent marriage.
He never allowed me to go back to work and he beat me on several occasions for attempting to start working but in 2016 February, I put my foot down and started working. I endured his abuse but it only got worse until he started threatening to kill me for competing with him by working.
On the 7th April 2017 I left his house with nothing but only my kids and our clothes, not even a feeding bottle or spoon did I carry, save for the Pajero that I used for taking my suitcases to a friend’s home. I hired an Ipsum to take my children who were with my elder brother to my parents’ home in Mbale since I had no place to stay and I also to work that day despite my condition. I stayed with a friend, Dr. Mirembe Leila until I got my own place. He never called me or any member of my family to ask about us.
A week later, on the 14th of April, I went to Mbale to check on my kids and I was informed that Malcolm had been taken to an ENT and he needed immediate operation. His father and I were already aware of this so I called him to ask for money for the operation he was aware of. He didn’t pick so I sent a message. The response I got was heart breaking.
“If you can’t afford the operation, you burry him.”
My dad was willing to foot the bill but I decided to sell my supermarket to pay for my son’s operation the following week. One day while at FIDA I asked him for support so that I could bring the children to stay in Kampala where he could easily see them but he refused. I was working hard to pay up my loan and ensure that my children could come stay with me in Kampala as soon as I was financially stable.
After the boy had recovered, Willington went to my parents’ home to kidnap the kids but luckily, the neighbours saw him and called police. He was put on a seven year police bond and asked to start supporting the children. He only paid tuition and I took care of the other fees including requirements and shuttle services. He absolutely gave us no support apart from that. He sent lawyers and court bailiffs to take his car and I handed it over to them at Kira Road Police.
In August, while at my parents’ home, attending to our son who was severely sick, I received a phone call from my daughter’s teacher telling me that a man claiming to be my daughter’s father had gone to school with armed police women led by ASP Lydia Birungi and AIP Sarah Kawuma and abducted my daughter along with the school headteacher, throwing the entire school in panic. And just like that she was gone. This directive as I later found out was issued by Maureen Atuhaire, the Director of Child and family protection unit, Naguru.
A few weeks later, he presented a custody order from Mukono court that had granted him custody to our two kids, Shanelle who was 3 years and Malcolm who was 23 months old. I was never summoned to court and the case was judged by a one Okwong in my absence. Since I was given visitation rights, I settled for that since I was tired of fighting and tossing the kids from one home to the other. What hurts me is that he doesn’t want me to see my children. He never picks my calls, he never calls me. I absolutely know nothing about my kids whereabouts as he keeps telling me they have shifted whenever I ask to see them. I last saw my kids in October after a prolonged battle of exchanging various emails with his lawyers who are always harassing and intimidating me and my family. He even sued my parents for taking care of my children without his permission. I sent them clothes and shoes last November and all I got in response were threats and insults to stay away from his children.
I had tried FIDA before but I wasn’t helped. This man is a renowned child rights activist who has sadly represented the country across the globe on issues pertaining children’s rights and more embarrassing, Gender based violence. He is currently working with World Education International. Due to his work history, he knows so many influential people in the family courts, Police, the gender and justice ministries, plus he has all the money to bribe anyone. He recently sent me messages telling me he had a new wife with whom they are raising my children. All I want are my kids. I have not heard from them in over three months since he and his relatives don’t talk to me.
Every time I ask him to let me see my kids, it is as if I have opened a can of worms for endless insults. I’ve tried several lawyers but this man has so many connections. I tried drinking, out of frustration to forget but it didn’t work. I have since turned to prayer and abandoned my drinking habits to rebuild my life but my heart still aches for my little ones. They are too young to be on their own without me, especially with a father who is bitter with their mother, a father who has denied them the opportunity to enjoy their mother’s love especially at such a tender age. I forgave him and I am willing to have shared custody because I know we are both equally important in our children’s life but he is so bitter yet I am the victim in all this. I am so heartbroken. I want my babies.
To all the women, activists, authorities, lawyers, fellow parents, journalists, for how long shall I and other women suffer in silence under the heavy boots of the rich and the connected? Don’t my children deserve their mother’s love? How can court award custody of such young kids to a father without hearing from their mother?
Please I beg of you, kindly help me share this message and tag whoever can help me access justice for my little ones. I know there is a kind lawyer out there who can help me access justice. Please help me rescue my children. I am totally stuck. Thank you very much and may the good Lord richly reward you.
#RescueShanelleAndMalcolm. Prisca Baike