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How we fell in this burial controversy

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Added 15th June 2019 04:44 PM

I would like to set the record straight regarding the events that have unfolded over the last two days concerning the burial arrangements of my dear mother.

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I would like to set the record straight regarding the events that have unfolded over the last two days concerning the burial arrangements of my dear mother.

By Christopher Kibanzanga

On Tuesday 11th June 2019, at exactly midday, my dearest mother, Biira Christine Mukirania breathed her last. My mother has been battling with Diabetes.

Since December last year, I have been under the emotional trauma of watching my mother waste away gradually in pain.

Medical diagnosis revealed that the vessels carrying blood to the legs had significantly narrowed hence making the passage of blood hard. I have watched my mother go through a series of amputations from the toes to the thigh. Every time she went to the theatre, my heart coiled in deep pain.

As I speak now, I am now a total orphan having lost not just a mother but a mentor and close friend. After the death of my mother, it is unfortunate to note that controversy and counter-arguments have denied her the chance to rest in peace.

I would like to set the record straight regarding the events that have unfolded over the last two days concerning the burial arrangements of my dear mother.

The arguments mainly centred on whether to bury my mother in Kasese or Bundibugyo district. This decision should mainly be a family matter rather than a public issue to attract everybody’s opinion.

But since the Rwenzururu Royal family owes its existence and honour to the gallant struggle and sacrifice of all the Banyarwenzururu, I felt that a decision on where to bury my mother should be arrived at and informed by the top leadership of the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu in line with our cultural norms and customs.

Under the normal and standard practice of Traditional Cultural Institutions, a matter like this should not be a subject of discussion since Kingdoms always have Royal Cemeteries where all members of the Royal Family are buried.

This is standard practice across all Kingdoms. Why is Rwenzururu Kingdom an exception? The answer to this question is both ashaming and annoying. Rwenzururu Kingdom has no Royal Cemetery.

Isn’t this a disappointing portrayal of the lack of organisation and planning among the top leadership of the Rwenzururu Kingdom? Did the leadership of Rwenzururu Kingdom assume that the members of the Rwenzururu Royal family were immortal?

In my individual capacity, I have been burying the members of the Royal Family at my private land in Kirembo, Kisinga in Kasese. I have been doing this in the hope that eventually, one day, the Kingdom will establish its own Royal Tomb.

But none of this has happened. Now that we have lost a very important member of the Royal Family the Kingdom is in total confusion over where to bury her.

Those who contend that my mother should be buried in Kasese have nowhere 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?

We are three sons of Nyamusinga, Biira Christine Mukirania, Kibanzanga Christopher, Kibanzanga William, and Mumbere Charles Wesley Iremangoma. Why is it that my other two brothers are incapable of surrendering their private pieces of land to the Kingdom to act as a Royal Cemetery?

The reasoning that my mother should be buried on her piece of land in Kasese, Nyamirangara is illogical too. How can a respectable lady of my mother’s status with responsible children be buried on her private land which is even not developed.

How can the people who should be the custodians of our culture and heritage miss this? How can I subject my mother to the humiliation of simply abandoning her in a bush that neighbours a game reserve?

This simply reflects an evil intention of continuing to humiliate my mother in her death. My mother has been humiliated enough. I am polite enough not to mention the names of those who have humiliated my mother before while she still lived.

Having been convinced that the Rwenzururu Kingdom and the King himself have nowhere 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.

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.

Let those that oppose these facts give me a credible alternative narrative rather than relying on a baseless emotional outburst.

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 seeing her legacy buried in an ugly pit of shame by anyone.

An argument devoid of logic and common sense cannot be accommodated by men and women of sound mind simply because so and so has said. Experience and reasoning must lead us and not people’s titles and positions.

A title devoid of substance ceases to command the respect and admiration of men and women whose accumulated honour has been achieved on the basis of merit and consistent good conduct.

In conclusion, I send my sincere apology to all the peaceful and patient Banyarwenzururu and the entire country for keeping you in unnecessary anxiety and suspense over the date and site of burial for my mother.

Leadership does not come easy. Facts are never white and black for all of us. Some people view things from the lenses of their bias and fears. However, some clear-headed Moses must somehow take the lead and cross the Red Sea come sunshine, come rain.

My mother will be buried at her husband’s land in Kirindi, Bundibugyo.

People who don’t know their origin, don’t have a destiny.

Back to the Roots.


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