Mumbere, Kasese Leaders Snub Rwenzururu Queen Mother’s Funeral Top story

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Kasese District Chairperson, Geoffrey Sibendire Bigogo, said there was no way he could attend a burial where the king has been humiliated by defying his orders.

Rwenzururu King, Charles Wesley Mumbere and political leaders from Kasese have snubbed the funeral of the Rwenzururu Queen Mother, Christine Biira Mukirania.

The queen mother, who succumbed to hypertension and diabetes at Kilembe Mines Hospital early last week, was laid to rest on Sunady afternoon at Mumbere's ancestral home in Kirindi in Harugale Sub County in Bundibugyo district.

Initially, Mumbere had directed that the deceased be laid to rest at her estate in Nyamirangara village in Muhokya sub county of Kasese District.

But his brother, Christopher Kibanzanga, the Rwenzururu Chief Prince defied the directive and picked the from Buhinga Hospital mortuary and took it to Bundibugyo where it was laid to rest.

This prompted Mumbere who had secured court  permission to travel to Kasese to bury his mother to decline going to Bundibugyo. 

The other immediate family members also skipped the funeral. Only Kibanzanga and his elder sister Princess Jane Muhindo attended the funeral.

William Kibanzanga, the youngest son of the deceased accused his brother, Christopher Kibanzanga, who also doubles the Junior Agriculture Minister of using his mother's death to further his political ambitions.

He told URN on phone that his mother had willed to buried in Kasese, saying there was no way they could be in Bundibugyo to bury her against her decision.

"It is unfortunate that our mother is being buried very far away from where she wanted in the absence of most of her children," he said.

Political leaders from Kasese, the seat of the Rwenzururu Kingdom and Kingdom officials were also no-show at the sendoff of the  queen mother described by many as a pillar of the Rwenzururu struggle which birthed the kingdom.

Of the six members of parliament who hail from Kasese, only Jackson Mbaju Kathika who represents Busongora County South Constituency appeared. 

Kathika said he had attended because the deceased nursed him for a long time when he was still a student. He also said the contribution made by Nyamusinga towards the development of the Kingdom was also another reason for celebrating her life.

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From the Rwenzururu Kingdom administration, only Alfred Makasi the Attorney General and Loice Bwambale, a member of the Kingdom's privy council attended. The former kingdom premier Costa Bwambale also showed up.

The Kasese District Chairperson, Geoffrey Sibendire Bigogo said there was no way he could attend a burial where the king has been humiliated by defying his orders.

He appealed to Kibanzanga to recognise that the Rwenzururu Kingdom has only Mumbere as King and it is only moral for him as chief prince to obey his King, who also doubles as his elder brother.

The Kasese Municipality MP, Robert Centenary, said he was too busy preparing for the home coming of the King who is expected to arrive in Kasese on Monday.

Kibanzanga explained that there was no way he could have allowed his mother to be buried away from home.  

The junior Agriculture Minister who broke down during his speech, said it was unfortunate that his father is buried in the national park and thus couldn't allow his mother to be buried away from home.

Kibanzanga's father, Isaya Mukirania the first king of Rwenzururu is buried at Bulemba in Mt Rwenzori National Park.

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He apologized to all the people of Kasese and Bundibugyo for the confusion that surrounded the burial site and date of the deceased. He said it was his pride that he had brought the old woman home.

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Bundibugyo residents applauded Kibanzanga for bringing the body of the queen mother to her ancestral land.

Jophes Nzirapande said the move will give the Bakonzo people recognition and respect as original inhabitants of Bundibugyo district.

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Ngabukalhange Nyabatundi said the burial of the Queen Mother in Bundibugyo is a sign that Bundibugyo and Bakonzo-speaking therein are part of Rwenzururu Kingdom. 

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About the author

Kule Jerome Bitswande
Jerome Kule Bitswande is the URN pioneer Bureau Chief-Kasese.

He's passionate to write about public policy, culture and politics.

Before joining URN in April 2018, Jerome had written for Radio One and Two, The Observer and New Vision.

Jerome strongly believes that it is only the common man that has the untold story. And it is that untold story whose narration he wants to be party to.

The two-time Award Winner with Media Challenge Initiative also believes the Kasese and entire Rwenzururu story is yet to be told; it's against that background that when URN assigned him to his cradle, he did not give it a second thought.

Todate, he's fondly called the Rwenzururu Royal Guard by peers and workmates.