The Family Division of the High Court on Friday afternoon ruled and directed that the remains of lawyer Robert Kasango, also known as Bob Kasango be buried in Fort Portal.
The ruling followed an impasse between the deceased’s wife Nice Kasango Bitarabeho who wanted the remains to be buried in Fort Portal where he was set to build his country home whereas his mother, Rosie Kabise wanted the remains laid to rest in Tororo district.
This forced the wife to petition court for powers to bury the remains in Fort Portal.
On Friday, owing to evidence by the deceased’s mother that Kasango was born to a Musoga dad but was raised by his stepfather Okello Bonneventure of Tororo, Justice Lydia Mugambe said it was only prudent that the remains are buried at the ancestral home which the judge said can’t be Tororo.
“In the patriarchal context of culture, the deceased should be buried in Busoga or Bulemeezi(where his father’s family migrated).Migrations of families is a historical practice in Uganda. It is accepted the family migrated from Busoga to Bulemeezi. However, there is no evidence that such migration changes one’s family, patriarchal ancestors. Migrations don’t affect anyone’s being a Musoga , Muganda or any other tribe,” Justice Mugambe ruled.
“It therefore follows that if the deceased’s biological father was a Musoga, then there is no justification for the respondent(mother) to impose any culture on the deceased or his family.”
The judge explained that since Kasango was not a Japadhola (according to mother’s evidence) , it is therefore not right for anyone to force the Japadhola cultural beliefs on him.
Justice Mugambe said that evidence indicates that there was no concrete relationship between the deceased’s family and the people from Tororo led by his mother in that he never showed them to his wife.
He insisted there is no justification for Kasango to be buried at the ancestral home of his stepfather yet he could be buried at the land where he was set to build his country home in Fort Portal.
“The applicant(wife) told court that the deceased that the stepfather hated him and threatened to kill him when the relatives tried to return the deceased to his home. I see no obligation for the deceased to be buried on his Tororo land.”
“I am inclined to find that the deceased has no patriarchal cultural ties with the Japadhola tribe.”
According to Justice Lydia Mugambe, having been given a piece of land measuring one acre in Fort Portal for offering legal services to his wife’s family, Kasango’s immediate family including his wife and children only knew the land as their home, it is prudent that his remains are laid to rest there.
The judge explained that the deceased’s children have never visited the alleged ancestral home in Tororo and that it is only satisfying that the remains are laid to rest where he was set to build his country home in Fort Portal.
“The deceased’s children only have their mother to look up to. They have not bonded with their Tororo relatives. They are comfortable and at peace with burial at the land in Fort Portal which they regard as their country home. It is in the best interest of the children that their father is buried in the earliest time possible,” Justice Mugambe said.
The judge rebuked Kasango’s mother’s side for sending in an exorbitant budget of Shs 24m to the deceased’s wife to cater for their transportation needs. Kasango’s wife cut the budget to shs 3million.
Lady Justice Mugambe said it was embarrassing that later, the family members showed up to grab the deceased’s casket from church, causing a fracas.
“This development of events only points to a possible sinister motive in the respondent’s cultural claims. Based on all the above, I am satisfied and hereby direct that the deceased shall be buried at his land in Gweri Village, Fort Portal City in Kabarole district.”
The judge noted that the burial should be done within four days from the day of the ruling but noted that the deceased’s mother be allowed to attend the burial.
Lady Justice Mugambe however directed that Police and other local authorities should ensure the burial ceremony is conducted peacefully.
However, following the ruling, Kasango’s mother, Rosie Kabise and other relatives from his ancestral side threw tantrums at the court premises in Makindye arguing that they cannot be party to the burial.
“We won’t attend the burial in Fort Portal. I carried him for 9 months in my womb and court decides that my son should be buried at his in laws’ place! Even if it is 100 years, the remains will be brought to Tororo,”Kabise said.