Baguma, 34, was found dead in a flat in Glasgow last weekend next to her distressed one-year-old son, prompting outrage as reports circulated that she and the boy had been “starving”, the latest victims of a brutal asylum system.
But as the week has progressed a more complex picture has emerged. Through speaking to close friends and associates, the Guardian has pieced together a fuller picture of Baguma as a mother, a friend and a daughter, whose father was a former Ugandan MP. Above all, a person, rather than a symbol of systemic failure.
The friend who described Baguma as a rainbow first met her in 2014 at the Calabash, an African restaurant in Glasgow city centre where Baguma was a popular member of staff until her immigration status changed and she was barred from working or claiming benefits.
“Mercy was a hard worker and she paid every single tax. When she wasn’t working she got support from family and friends. I just don’t recognise these reports that she was alone and starving.”
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