Daily Archives: March 19, 2010

Museveni’s army displays its thuggery at Kasubi tombs


The People’s army – Kasiita twebbaka kutulo.

People take cover at the Kasubi Tombs after the military started shooting to disperse people who had gathered at the cultural site on Wednesday. Behind is what remains of the main section that housed the mausoleums of the four kings of Buganda. Photo by Stephen Otage

An  injured man is taken away

Riot  police approach Baganda near the tombs

Aftermath of fire at site of the Kasubi  tombs

The Reign of Kabaka Suuna: 1810–1852


The Reign of Kabaka Suuna: 1810–1852

From C R Spinner, soc.culture. african newgroup, 11 June 2003

In his lifetime, he married 148 women. In addition, he had 2000 concubines (call them reserves) plus 18,000 maiden servants, who could also step in as wives, if and when the need arose.
Suuna ascended the throne in 1810 after the death of his father Kamaanya. He was only twelve at the time. A handsome boy, with beady eyes and a commanding voice, he quickly became popular among his subjects. However, as he grew older and more confident of himself, Suuna’s character changed, to become one of the most cruel kings ever to rule Buganda.
His mother Nakkazi Kanyage was one of the most beautiful women in the kingdom, more beautiful than many of Suuna’s wives and even younger. She was captured during a raid ordered by Suuna’s father against one of his chiefs who had fallen out of favour. Her beauty was the cause of the deaths of many chiefs whom Suuna suspected to having had affairs with her. At one time he sent soldiers to plunder her property after suspecting that she was pregnant, later he returned her property after establishing that she wasn’t with child.
He forced several of his sisters to become his wives, breaking the long-standing Buganda tradition of princesses remaining unmarried. Having so many wives and concubines at his disposal did not deter Suuna from straying beyond the walls of his palace, to poach on other men’s wives.
On spotting a beautiful while on tour, he would order his men to put up a temporary shelter so that he could sleep with her there and then. This strange obsession earned Suuna the nickname Museewo entimbe (put up screens).many chiefs lost property and sometimes even their lives because they were reluctant to part with their beautiful wives.
Acquiring a large number of wives has not always been a hallmark of Buganda kings. The first king of Buganda, Kintu, had only one wife Nambi Nantutululu, daughter of Bakazirwendo of the Ngeye clan. His successor Chwa I had two Nakku daughter of Walusimbi of Fumbe and Nakiwala daughter of Semwanga of Ngonge.
Suuna died in 1852 and was succeeded by Muteesa I, who had 84 wives, 1000 concubines and 17,000 maiden servants.
Charles B. Lwanga.

An eye witness describes what he saw at Kasubi before the fire


1. Salutations to the Kabaka for showing his HUMAN side and for joining his subjects in grieving this desecration, once again, of his fore-father’s Kingdom. Not only is Buganda with you but Uganda too and the World [through UNESCO that has recognised this structure like it did Babylon, the Pyramids of ancient Egypt, etc].

2. Distribution of Mausoleums in ancient Buganda: It is noteworthy that, in all the planning, the post-modern Buganda is not cleverer than the ancestors – otherwise, yester night’s damage would have been worse still with the remains of ALL the former Buganda Kings perishing together. ONLY 4 HAVE been affected now but it could have been worse. How??

3. Before 1882 when this mausoleum was built by Mutesa the 1st, as his final resting place [not unlike his pyramid {a “masilo” structure in Ganda architecture is an inverted conical ‘pyramid’}, BUGANDA KINGS CHOSE THEIR FUTUTURE MAUSOLEA in advance, in different locations (most find themselves in Busiro province]. That is why Kintu’s mausoleum today is his and his alone. That of Kimera is his and his alone. That of Chwa the 1st is his and his alone. In other words, all the former Kings of Buganda have a mausoleum each to himself except the last four [Mutesa I, Mwanga,  Chwa II and Mutesa II, who, together, rest at Kasubi].

4. The adoption of the practice of the kings sharing a mausoleum seems to have been taken up when foreigners and western civilisation set foot on Buganda soil. Otherwise, we would now only be crying for the desecration of 1 grave, not of 4, if this practice of former kings sharing resting places had not been adopted 128 years ago.

5. Way forward: No evil action can diminish the resolve of the people of Buganda to preserve their heritage, even with such a devastating blow as the great evil fire of the night of 16th March, 2010. Of course artifacts like the gifts Queen Victoria to the Kabaka of Buganda, Mutesa-I’s pet leopard (till yesterday, stuffed but standing}, the first mirrors and European-style carpentry chairs in the country, the personal spears and other weapons of each of the 4 Kabaka’s, etc, etc are gone. The spirit of the Baganda remains though and cannot be diminished through intimidation or otherwise. 2 lives lost but how many have been lost before? The Kings’ bodies must have survived, of course and will be re-interned after the restoration that is already underway [the gathering of materials like poles and special reeds started being gathered already today 17th March].

6. Once gain, salutations to H.H. the Kabaka of Buganda for showing the magnanimity and human side that many would shy away from exhibiting. You are great modern King. March on Buganda. You recovered from at least one such affront before. You will certainly recover from this too, with all well-meaning Ugandans by your side.

Meanwhile, an eyewitness colleague described a scene in front of his house to me, [at 9th AM [E.A.T] in Kampala], as witnessed from the veranda of his house at around 9:00 PM, the evening of the 16th of March:

‘I was sitting at the veranda of my house with my brother, about 300 metres from the junction in front of the Kasubi Mausoleum. Suddenly, a grey Prado, with no number-plate comes screeching to a halt, chased by a ‘bunch’ of boda-boda [motor-cycle-taxi] riders who are shouting, “wuuyo ayokez’ amasiro” {there is the man who has burnt the mausoleum”}.The vehicle stops and a man with a “bastola” [Luganda for ‘pistol’] comes out, pointing it at the nearest rider. The foremost rider backs into the metal gate of our courtyard, which open ajar, violently. The others fall in a heap over him. The pistol man re-enters the Prado as a taxi from the “Masiro” side too, gives chase towards Namungoona suburb..”

Different witnesses have recounted the same incident and the tabloids have picked it up.

Conclusion: No-one can convince anybody that a 130 year old structure, with no electric power wiring, with no people sleeping inside, with not kitchen within the 30-50 metres distance around, inside a fence, could catch fire by accident. The case for arson is simply too strong to be dismissed just like that.

The mother of all questions remains: Why? Why? Why? Why attack such an inanimate structure that, like a sleeping baby, cannot defend itself? Why? Why? and Why?

Christopher Muwanga,

Nakasero, Kampala.