Chwezi dynasty descendants protest rehabilitation of Bigobyamugenyi
Posted Tuesday, February 5 2013 at 11:34
Descendants of the Chwezi dynasty are protesting the current rehabilitation of Bigo Byamugenyi Cultural Site in Ssembabule District saying they were not consulted.
Bigo Byamugenyi, located in Ntuusi Sub-county seats on 10 squares miles of land. The site is believed to have been the capital of Kitara or Bachwezi dynasty, between 1000-1500 AD.
The site has forts which are enclosed in an area covering about 4 square miles. Despite the fact that Bigo Byamugenyi is one of the World Cultural Heritage sites, it is in a sorry state.
In 2012, the Tourism ministry and UNESCO launched a campaign to undertake major rehabilitation of the site. Officials from UNESCO and Tourism ministry cleared thickets which were covering the site. However, this has not gone down well with descendants of the Chwezi Dynasty, who claim to be the custodians of Bigo Byamugenyi.
The group has petitioned Parliament and President Yoweri Museveni to block the rehabilitation.
Rev. Borald Matovu, the vice chairperson Bwera Cultural Trust which manages the site says they want the rehabilitation halted because they were not consulted. Rev. Matovu claims that UNESCO officials led by Dr. Ephraim Kamuhangire have destroyed important cultural regalia and tombs in the cultural site. He also accuses UNESCO officials of arresting and torturing Prince Frank Nuwamanya Mukungu Muntu, the heir to the Bwera chiefdom.
Rev. Matovu who does not specify the cultural norms which were violated says that, their cultural values are threatened unless they carry out cleansing rituals. Prince Frank Nuwamanya Mukungu Muntu, the heir to Bwera Chiefdom, says that they are not opposed to the rehabilitation, but the manner in which it is being done.
He claims that his house was set ablaze by UNESCO officials on January 24 and when he protested, he was arrested and beaten up. Mr Nuwamanya says that torching his house to pave way for the rehabilitation of the cultural site, is a big taboo under their norms, unless certain rituals are performed.
Dr. Kamuhangire who is supervising the rehabilitation works said on phone that he is not aware of the complaints from leaders of Bwera Cultural Trust. He denied burning Mr Nuwamanya’s house.