17 March 2010

Uganda: Kabaka, Museveni, Besigye Visit Burnt Kasubi Tombs

Mengo — The Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi has visited Kasubi Tombs, several minutes after president Yoweri Museveni toured what remains of the cultural site that was burnt to ashes on Tuesday night.

Forum for Democratic Change President, Dr Kizza Besigye is now at Kasubi tombs.

The visibly sad Kabaka, accompanied his wife the Nabagereka Sylvia Nagginda toured the grounds, but did not address the gathering as expected.

Earlier, the military opened fire after a crowd of people tried to stop the president's convoy from accessing the historical site.

The five minutes gunfire that later dispersed the crowd also left three people injured. It is not yet clear whether there were any deaths. Also, a man, whose identity has not yet been revealed has been arrested at the tombs with a pistol. The man in civilian clothes was led away by the military.

Mr Museveni who later arrived at the site, called for calm and ordered that a special investigation be carried out to establish the cause of the fire. He has promised to work together with the Mengo establishment to reconstruct the tombs.

Meanwhile, Buganda cabinet that convened earlier today to forge a way forward also agreed to form a committee to investigate the fire that burnt the main building housing the mausoleums of four former Buganda kings (Kabakas).

The kingdom's Deputy Information minister Medard Sseggona told journalists in the morning, "It's too sad that we have lost such valuable property as the kingdom. We will also set up independent investigations as a kingdom."

Reports indicate that Peter Sematimba, the Rubaga Chairman division was beaten up and denied access to the site in the morning.

Sematimba, who went to the tombs to join in the reconstruction effort, was blocked from entry by a large group of young men. They threw stones and bricks at him, warning of more punishment if he dared enter the premises.

Sematimba fled for his life into Kasubi Church of Uganda, which is located just outside the gate to the tombs. The mob also beat up Mama Fina, the chairperson of the traditional medicine practitioners association, Uganda ne Eddagala Lyayo.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people continue to throng the site to help salvage what remains of the site/ in search of answers to what caused the fire.

Other Buganda loyalists who have been camped at the site since Tuesday night have been singing the Buganda anthem in mournful and sorrowful mood.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

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