The burial site that hosts the tomb of the sixth King of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom Nyabongo I Rulemu Kyambukya-Nkaito the sixth King of Bunyoro under the Babito Dynasty, has been destroyed by encroachers who claim ownership of the land.
Omukama Nyabongo reigned in the fifteenth century and was buried at Kigarama village Matale Sub County in Kibaale district in 1590.
The encroachers cut down all the eucalyptus and bamboo trees that had been planted to preserve the site and also conserve the environment.
“It is shocking and deplorable to hear that people are clearing the royal burial site of the 6th king of Babito who was rested here in 1590. Nobody can claim ownership of this land whatsoever because it’s a royal burial site,” said Apollo Rwamparo, the second deputy prime minister and minister for tourism in Bunyoro.
Rwamparo said that government officials have not cooperated well with the Kingdom to safeguard all cultural sites in Bunyoro Kingdom.
He said that some leaders either appointed or elected do not appreciate the importance of such cultural sites because they are not indigenous.
The family of Karoli Bisereko claims ownership of the said 5 acres royal burial site and had cleared all trees and even exposed the tomb to pave way for the next season.
Anthony Mugambe, one of the family members said that they acquired this land some 47 years ago and bought it at sh.400 but could not disclose who sold the land to them.
Rwamparo said that many cultural sites have been attacked in all districts and authorities there look not to value these sites and are not bothered at all.
He said the recent scenario happened in Semwema cultural site where faith of Unity believers attacked it and burnt to ashes all artifacts that had lasted for over 400 years and nobody has been apprehended for such heinous acts.
Semwema was attacked February 9, 2020 allegedly by followers of Owobusobozi Bisaka being guarded by soldiers of Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF).
The chieftaincy of military intelligence (CMI) sent a team to investigate the matter but the report has never been released or the culprits brought to book.
Rwamparo said that the culprits in the destruction of Omukama Nyabongo royal tomb will not walk scot free and that they have started on the process to have culprit apprehended.
“I want to assure you the people behind this destruction shall not walk scot free and if the government fails to deal with them culture will handle them,” Rwamparo said.
He said that the police commander Kibaale has been told several times about the destruction of this royal but no action has been taken.
“We are saddened by the government’s failure to secure these sites. These sites are gazetted and known as cultural sites. This is our history and when it is destroyed our culture will be no more,” Rwamparo said.
He said that most leaders being posted in Bunyoro do not know the culture of Banyoro so they don’t appreciate the importance the Banyoro attach to the cultural sites.
Rwamparo said that the Kingdom plans to induct all leaders whether appointed or elected on the importance of culture and the various cultural sites in all 8 districts and Hoima City in Bunyoro.
“These leaders will help us to conserve these cultural royal sites. All properties without land titles must be processed so that people stop encroaching on such sites for continuity of our culture,” Rwamparo added.
He said that these royal burial sites played a key role in the return of the lost counties of Buyaga and Bugangaizi, the current Kakumiro, Kibaale and Kagadi districts, to Bunyoro Kingdom during the November 4, 1964 referendum.
Meanwhile in an interview with the Kibaale district Police Commander Esther Adeke Tumusiime, Adeke said that the issues being raised by the Kingdom can best be resolved through court redress by filing a civil suit and the culprits are brought to book.
“I have talked to Rwamparo several times and have advised them to seek legal redress in courts of law to resolve their matters,” Adeke said.
What residents say
Muhammad Kyaligonza said that the Kingdom had even planted trees to secure the area but these unscrupulous people have cut down all of them to plant maize.
Samuel Muganyizi, unknown people have destroyed the royal burial site but the government is to blame for all the mess taking place in the Kingdom.
Tereza Nyamaizi, 89, neighbor to the disputed land said that she grew up from this place and they have never tempered with the royal burial site but young people who are greedy for land have destroyed it.
Lawrence Kasangaki, 78, the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom county chief for Buyanja County said that this royal site has been in existence since he was born and everybody knows that it belongs to the Kingdom.
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