There is deep disagreement over where to bury the mother of Rwenzururu King, Charles Wesley Mumbere, Ms Biira Christine Mukirania, who passed on early this week following a long spell with diabetes.
Following Mukirania’s death, another contentious issue came up, her son and king of Rwenzururu Kingdom was not allowed to step in Kingdom premises unless bailed.
However, high court in Kampala sat yesterday presided over by Justice Eve Luswata and allowed Mumbere to travel for burial of his mother, as well as perform cultural rites as king. Mumbere was also warned to desist from addressing any gatherings and avoid statements that could incite violence.
Mukirania’s burial is now set for next week, but where?
The King’s younger brother and state minister for Agriculture in the NRM government, Christopher Kibanzanga stalked a fire when he suggested that their mother be buried in Bundibugyo District, contrary to the wishes of the subjects and members of the royal family who insist the burial should be in Kasese.
Kibanzanga claims that the kingdom has no royal burial grounds, hence, it would be wiser to bury their mother at her original ancestral home in Kirindi, Bundibugyo District.
“Having been convinced that the Rwenzururu Kingdom and the King himself have no where dignified to bury my dear mother, I have decided to take my mother’s body to my father’s land in Bundibugyo District, Kirindi. The Kirindi land in Bundibugyo is the known ancestral land of my grandfather Masanduku,” Kibanzanga stressed.
“My grandfather gave this land to his children among whom is my father, Isaya Mukirania Kibanzanga. My father and mother started their married life on this land many years ago. They tilled this land with their sweat and toil to raise and nurture their children. King Mumbere himself was raised and nurtured on this land. This is a fact that nobody can deny. It was only after the insurgency of the Rwenzururu Movement that my father and mother were forced to run away from their land in Kirindi, Bundibugyo,” he added.
Kibanzanga’s word is against that of his elder brother and king of the Kingdom, who insists that the burial should happen in Kasese. However, according to Kibazanga, the King has already taken the kingdom towards a downward spiral and thus needs not to disgrace the kingdom any further by insisting on burying their mother where there is no land.
“Is Kibanzanga disobeying the word of his elder brother, the King? Is it true that the King is never wrong? The answers to these questions are purely subjective according to your individual world view. I don’t believe that a King’s judgment is flawless. If that were so, some of my brother’s words and actions wouldn’t have landed his Kingdom into the terrible trouble which saw hundreds of lives lost and others arrested, including him. I love my mother so much that I cannot allow to see her legacy buried in an ugly pit of shame by anyone.”
The options of burial in Kasese?
There is an option of burying Mukirania in Kasese, however only Kibanzanga has land there. The kingdom insists that should Mukirania be buried on any land in Kasese, the land whether privately owned shifts to the custodianship of the King who is the overseer of the Kingdom and its property.
Kibanzanga therefore challenges his siblings to present that land on which the burial should be performed.
“Those who contend that my mother should be buried in Kasese have no where to bury her. Let them show me any piece of land which belongs to the Kingdom where my mother can be laid to rest. When I put this demand to them, they said that we should bury her at my land in Kirembo where I have always buried the other members of the family. I have not had any problem with this suggestion. But my problem arose from the senseless terms and conditions which were attached to that suggestion.”
“The Kingdom claims that once my mother is buried on my private land, then ownership shifts to the King who is the custodian of all Kingdom property as a Royal Cemetery. How illogical! Why should my private land cease to be mine simply because I have buried my mother there. What sort of legal interpretation is that other than pure dishonesty and greed.”