18 May 2017

Uganda: Museveni Wants Official Funeral for Byanyima

Photo: The Observer
Mzee Boniface Byanyima (L) with daughter Winnie Byanyima.

President Museveni has ordered an official funeral for the deceased Mzee Boniface Byanyima.

While speaking during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday at State House Entebbe, President Museveni directed the Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda to take on the necessary arrangements to ensure Mzee Byanyima is accorded an official funeral.

An official funeral defers from a state funeral in that it does not include the military aspect and other traditions accorded to VIPs. In this case, government only takes charge of the process of burial.

On Friday May 19, Mzee Byanyima's body will therefore lie in state at parliament for eulogizing and public viewing.

A funeral service will then be held at St Paul's cathedral, Namirembe on Saturday. Mzee Byanima's body will then be taken to his home in Ruti, Mbarara for a vigil and burial the next day (Sunday).

Mzee Boniface Byanyima, one of Uganda's pioneer pre-independence politicians died on Wednesday at Nakasero Hospital. Byanyima, is the father of Ms Winnie Byanyima, of former Mbarara Municipality MP and the current executive director of Oxfam International. Winnie is a wife of Dr Kizza Besigye, the four-time presidential candidate.

Mzee Byanyima as he was fondly known, has been described by many as "rigidly principled" and stubborn. He was until 2005, the national chairman of the Opposition Democratic Party.

Mzee Byanyima first met President Yoweri Museveni in the late 1950s at Mbarara High School. The two are said to have got along so well that Mzee Byanyima eventually let Mr Museveni stay in his home, commonly known as Green Cottages, in Ruti, 4 kilometres from Mbarara town, on Kabale Road.

When Mr Museveni went to the bush to wage a guarlial war against Milton Obote's government, Mzee Byanyima reportedly looked after his mother. He was 94 years old at the time of his death.

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