The Observer (Kampala)

18 December 2012

Uganda: Tombs Reconstruction Works Kick Off

Reconstruction of the royal Kasubi tombs will be done by Omega Construction which won the Shs 2.3bn contract to rebuild the torched edifice.

Omega is linked to the Secretary General of the Uganda National Association of Builders, Civil Engineers and Contractors (UNABCEC), Pius Mugerwa Mugalaasi.

According to Buganda Kingdom's deputy Katikkiro and minister for Culture, Heritage, Royal Tombs and Tourism, Muhamood Ssemambo Ssekimpi, the reconstruction will start with the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga; the main building housing the tombs of the last four Buganda kings, which will be completed within 15 months.

The entire reconstruction budget stands at Shs 10bn.

"The Shs 10bn budget includes the erection of a perimeter fence around the 64 acres, which we may not undertake now. Our focus at present is the space of about five acres on which the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga house sits," Ssekimpi said.

The contractor will sub-contract the roofing works to the Engo (Leopard) and Engeye (White monkey) clans, which are culturally charged with thatching and decorating royal palaces and tombs. The Kasubi tombs were torched on March 16, 2010, but reconstruction delayed for two years, awaiting conclusion of a Police investigation into the fire.

The initial works started after government donated Shs 2bn.

"The government is concerned about the reconstruction of the main house and its donation came with a pledge of giving us more money as works progress," Ssekimpi added.

The kingdom has also been receiving donations from various individuals. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which funded the emergency works like the restoration of "Ekibira"; a partition in the tombs with bark cloth curtains that conceals the late kings' graves from the public, has pledged to take up the budget for risk and disaster management.

Last month, the Katikkiro JB Walusimbi launched a drive to raise more support towards the reconstruction.

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