23 March 2010

Uganda: Wait for Probe Report On Kasubi Fire - Bukenya Urges Buganda

Kampala — The Vice-President, Prof. Gilbert Bukenya, has warned against speculation about the cause of the inferno that burnt the royal tombs at Kasubi and asked the Mengo leadership to immediately start restoring the site.

He observed that while the fire shook the foundation of Buganda, they should mobilise resources to rebuild the tombs.

Bukenya, who yesterday met the Katikkiro of Buganda, Eng. John Baptist Walusimbi at Bulange, also urged Ugandans to be calm and wait for the probe report on the fire that destroyed the 130-year-old royal burial grounds and erased the mausoleum housing the tombs of four Buganda kings.

The palace, built in 1882 and turned into a mausoleum in 1884 by Ssekabaka Muteesa I, was listed as a world heritage in 2001 by UNESCO.

"A committee was established to find out what caused the fire. Meanwhile, we should remain calm and focus on the reconstruction of the tombs," Bukenya advised.

He reported that the Government was shocked about the fire, disclosing that a day after the fire, the Cabinet set aside its agenda and discussed the inferno for two hours.

"We were touched and shocked. That's why a resolution to join the reconstruction was reached. There is nothing political about this decision," Bukenya said.

He advised that responses to the disaster be well planned, with Mengo ignoring people who make provocative statements and actions.

Bukenya donated sh20m towards the reconstruction of the site and urged well-wishers to come to the kingdom's rescue. An account titled 'Gwanika lya Buganda- Kasubi royal tombs' has been opened in several banks, for this purpose.

Bukenya arrived at Bulange- Mengo at 10:00am and was received by the deputy Katikkiro, Emmanuel Sendawula, the speaker of the Buganda Lukiiko, Kaddu Sserunkuma, the attorney general of Buganda, Apollo Makubuya and ministers; Masagazi Masaazi (education), Jolly Lutaaya (local government), Rotarian Nelson Kawalya (health) and the clerk to Buganda Lukiiko, David Ntege.

The Katikkiro hailed Bukenya for the courtesy call and donation.

He disclosed that the Baganda in the United States of America had promised to contribute about sh2b for the reconstruction of the tombs.

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