Daily Archives: March 17, 2010

Buganda’s royal tombs in Kasubi burnt


Kasubi Tombs before


Inside the Royal Tombs before fire

Tombs in Kasubi burnt



In the morning


The future is bleak


Graves of the kings


Kabaka Mutebi visit sight

Here is our Kabaka at the scene with tears almost coming out:

Eyewitnesses said the fire started from behind the huts. The main hut was completely destroyed as the surging crowd wailed in disbelief, hampering further the Police efforts to stop the inferno from spreading.

The Police said they could not tell the extent of the damage to the world famous heritage site since they were unable to access it, but it was clear that the huts were reduced to ash.

Situated on a hill within Kampala, the site is an active religious place in Buganda Kingdom.

As a burial ground for four kings, it is a religious centre for the royal family, a place where the Kabaka and his representatives frequently carry out important rituals.

It is also an outstanding example of traditional Ganda architecture and an exceptional testimony of the living Ganda traditions.

For Uganda, the site represents an important symbol of its history and culture. The tombs were listed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2001.

The Baganda date their political civilisation back to the 13th Century AD. Their first Kabaka was Kintu. He is said to have come with his wife Nambi, whose hand he won by performing heroic deeds at the command of her father Gulu.

The first Kabaka to be buried at Kasubi tombs was Muteesa I, the 35th king.
Buganda’s kings built their palaces on strategic hills to control the major roads to the palace and find easy ways to escape in case of an invasion or rebellion.

Each Kabaka was buried at a separate site in a royal shrine to house his jaw bone, which was believed to contain his spirit.

Muteesa 1 was born around 1835 and was crowned in 1856. He established his palace at Kasubi in 1882, as did his father, Kabaka Suuna 11.

His son Daudi Chwa succeeded him in 1897. Chwa died in 1939 and he was also buried at Kasubi Tombs with his two predecessors.

Chwa was succeeded by his son Edward Muteesa 11. When Uganda attained independence from the British on October 9, 1962, Muteesa II became the constitutional president of Uganda.

However, Apollo Milton Obote stormed his palaces in May 1966 and forced him into exile in England. He died in 1969 in London and his remains were brought back and buried at Kasubi in 1971.

It is not known how the tombs will be rebuilt following the fire last night.

The Police were alerted about the fire at 8:50pm. However, attempts by the fire brigade to reach the site were hampered by a riotous crowd.

“We could not access the scene because of the rioters, so we could not save the tombs,” Simon Musoke, the chief fire officer, explained.
Musoke said three fire trucks were damaged and a fire fighter injured by the rioters.

Details about the cause of the fire and the extent of the damage were scanty.

Last evening, at least two military mambas were seen heading to the site.

Reported by Caroline Batenga, Steven Candia and Raymond Baguma
New Vision 17/3/2010.