Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi was moved to tears this afternoon when he visited the Kasubi Tombs.
The tombs were the scene of a devastating fire that ruined the main mausoleum, traditionally known as Muzibu Azaala Mpanga. The large grass thatched building that housed the graves of Kabaka Mutebi's father, Sir Edward Muteesa II, and three of his ancestors, was a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was also the largest grass thatched structure in the world.
The tombs are regarded as an essential part of Buganda traditional culture and heritage.
Kabaka Mutebi walked up the road to the tombs at about 1:40 p.m. Large crowds lined either side of the road somberly singing the Buganda anthem, Ekitiibwa kya Buganda, and shouting praises to Kabaka.
When he entered the compound of the tombs, the Kabaka headed straight for the residence of the royal princess in charge of overseeing the tombs, Nnalinya Beatrice Namikka. After a short commiseration with her, he went round what remains of Muzibu Azaala Mpanga in silence.
Although he didn't say anything, the Kabaka's emotions were plain to all. His eyes were blood shot and at one point tears ran down his cheeks, which he quickly wiped away.
Kabaka Mutebi also visited the building in which artifacts recovered from the fire are stored, before leaving to the loud cheers of the crowd.
The Kabaka's brother, Prince Daudi Wasajja, says Mutebi was so emotional because of the devastation at the Kasubi tombs.
Wasajja says the fire at the tombs had destroyed the sanctity of the site. He says this was further violated by the shooting at the gate to the tombs just before President Yoweri Museveni's visit there this morning.
Two people were killed in that incident and five others are in critical condition at Mulago Hospital.
Prince Wasajja says there was no need for such violence on a day when Buganda is in mourning for its loss. He says the military police used unnecessary force to enter the tombs by breaking down the reed fence behind the tombs and storming the compound.
Prince Wasajja and Nnalinya Namikka were part of the crowd that was temporarily forced out of the tombs. He says that because of this he was offended when he was called upon to join the party welcoming the President to Kasubi. He wants the President to show more goodwill towards the people of Buganda.
Hajj Mulangira Bukulu, a Buganda elder from Ntinda, describes today's events as a clash of two brothers. He says no one is sure of the outcome of the strain between the Buganda Kingdom and President Museveni's government, but everyone is waiting for a good outcome.
The Kabaka of Buganda does not regularly visit the Kasubi Tombs. He is only required to do so when he has to travel outside the country. On those occasions, he goes to the tombs to receive blessings from his ancestors.