The President’s condolence message was torn to pieces, government officials forced to flee for their safety, and their cars pelted with crude missiles, as the burial of Butaleja Woman MP Cerinah Nebanda turned rowdy yesterday.
The Sunday afternoon send-off had started like any other, with mourners queuing to view the casket at Butaleja District headquarters, where the last funeral service was held.
Trouble started when Lt. Gen. Moses Ali, the third deputy Prime Minister, was invited to speak. Angry mourners said they did not want to listen to government representatives following the controversy over what killed the 24-year-old MP. “We no longer want Museveni,” angry residents shouted. “Let him go back and begin looking after his cattle; Museveni tumukooye [we are tired of Museveni]”.
Lt. Gen. Ali, who was representing the President, had the condolence message plucked from him and torn to pieces by angry residents.
Despite the heavy deployment of police officers, many government officials who turned up for the burial were chased away or forced to flee for their safety. Police officers and other security agents had to intervene after thousands of mourners lining the Butaleja-Mbale road began pelting government-registered cars, including that of Lt. Gen. Ali, with stones and improvised missiles.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga was among the government officials who were forced to leave the function prematurely by rowdy residents, who blocked Gen. Ali’s speech. Before her departure, the Speaker had sought to distance Parliament from the official preliminary autopsy report that the government says was done in London and which a senior health official said showed traces of alcohol and narcotics in the dead MP’s body.
“I was shocked to learn that Dr Sylvester Onzivua, whom we had okayed to take samples to South Africa had been arrested and yet we had agreed with police that he takes samples for examination to South Africa,” Ms Kadaga told mourners.
“For now, there is no report. We shall not believe in this one as Parliament and we shall not sit down until we get a true one.” Nebanda was buried at her ancenstral home in Butunga Village in Butaleja Town Council, Butaleja District yesterday.