Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Headline from Uganda

When I was in Uganda, I went to visit the Royal Tombs (of course I would) in Kasubi, a Kampala neighborhood. This is the historic burial grounds of the Bugandan royalty. Seeing this spot was one of the highlights of my trip, tourist-wise. It was amazing. You can see part of the main tomb here, with people leaving for scale.
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This morning, GayUganda reports that the tombs were burnt, source of fire unknown, and links to this newspaper report. The huts were burnt to ash, it says, and the fire brigade couldn't access the site due to the crowds. "The main hut was completely destroyed as the surging crowd wailed in disbelief, hampering further the Police efforts to stop the inferno from spreading."

GayUganda says, "it is like someone is dead. The traditional Ganda greeting on a death in the family, on the village- that is the greeting this morning."

You may remember the riots in Kampala late last year. That was due to a (perceived/real) conflict (I'm simplifying hugely here) between the Kabaka (the ceremonial king of the Buganda) and the government/President Museveni.

So there are rumors swirling that this fire was set by the government.

I'm very worried about this and what kind of reaction this is going to get. So is GayUganda, who has far more reason to be.

Those of you who remember my friend Joseline from my time in Uganda, her family lives near the tombs in Kasubi. I'm going to check in with her and see what's up.

I'll keep you posted. Please keep Kampala in your prayers.

Updated: GayUganda reports seven people were killed by army deployed to protect President Museveni as he visited the tombs.

In the face of what they had lost, it is inconceivable that the Baganda would have rioted. But, the army was deployed. And, of course, they threw stones at these oppressors. That is what they saw.

Museveni goes there.
Who doesn’t know that he is the president? And, who doesn’t know that despite the fear of the man, the angry traditionalists would be hurling insults at the president? It was their day of moaning. The King’s Tombs had been burnt down. They suspected the government. And, the personification of the government came….

So, seven lives lost. To bullet wounds. Which only the security forces had. The guns.


icearc said...

The president went to pay his respects and inspect the damage. The presidential guard brigade had to fire live rounds in the air to disperse angry baganda youth. Apparently some of them were hit with bullete. The area surrounding the tombs was tense.

Laura Toepfer said...

Yikes. I'm not surprised. Latest headline in the New Vision was that two were killed. As you hear more, please let us know.

icearc said...

Will do!