Subjects of Rwenzururu Kingdom in Kasese District have urged the warring royal family members to reconcile if the cultural institution is to flourish.
The concerns were raised on Sunday during a memorial service for the late Queen Mother, Christine Biira Nyamukama, who died last month.
During a function at chief prince Christopher Kibanzanga’s country home in Nyamirangara Village, Muhokya Sub-county in Kasese, the subjects said it is unwelcome for the kingdom to be embroiled in uncalled-for fights.
The Kasese Elders Forum chairperson, Mr Barnabas Bamusede Bwambale, said the death of the Queen Mother should instead be a unifying factor for the royal family and the rest of the tribes within the Rwenzori Sub-region.
Rev Ezra Yongeza Mukonzo, the Kasese District chairperson for the Inter-Faith Committee, who presided over the memorial service, challenged Mr Kibanzanga, who is also the Minister of State for Agriculture, to find a way and reconcile with his siblings.
The institution’s attorney general, Mr Alfred Makasi, said: “Obviously, it is a bit negative when the subjects see the pillars of Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu pulling ropes here and there.”
He said the institution started a peace process, adding that the demise of Nyamukama has started a new chapter especially for Obudigiya bwa Bwamba.
Mr William Sibibuka Kibanzanga, a brother, asked Mr Kibanzanga to first reconcile with the family and the entire Rwenzururu top leadership before organising a memorial service.
While minister Kibanzanga was planning the memorial service on Sunday, King Charles Wesley Mumbere, who is holed up in Kampala, issued a stern warning in an audio clip to his subjects, discouraging them from attending the said function.
The subjects’ concerns arise from the current standoff between the camp of Omusinga (King) Mumbere and that of the chief prince Kibanzanga, who alledgedly denied them a chance to bury their mother in Kasese District, where the family has been living for more than 30 years.
Nyamukama, 85, died on June 11 at Kilembe Mines Hospital but her family failed to amicably agree on where to bury her.
Minister Kibanzanga overpowered and had his mother buried in Bundibugyo as opposed to Kasese, which was the choice of the king.
Mr Kibanzanga equated burying their mother in Kasese to burying her in the wilderness.
“For three days, the Banyarwenzururu (subjects) were not prepared to bury, they did not know where to bury and how to bury for four days, the fourth day, I gave them an alternative which they refused and I had to take my mother to Bundibugyo on our neutral ground which is the home of our father and grandfather,” Mr Kibanzanga said.
On the contrary, the king and his other siblings loyal to him, had wanted their mother to be buried on her underdeveloped piece of land neighbouring Queen Elizabeth National Park on the Kasese-Mbarara highway.
Mr Kibanzanga explained to the mourners that he would not allow his mother to be buried in a national park.
He said although his five siblings shunned the function, he was able to bury their mother in Kasulenge-Kirindi Village, Harugale Parish in Bundibugyo District on June 16.
“My mother deserved to be buried where the first king of the Rwenzururu Kingdom, Isaya Mukirania, together with others launched the struggle that led to the formation of the Rwenzururu Kingdom in 1962,” Mr Kibanzanga said.
However, the decision taken by the minister has created a big rift between him and King Mumbere.
Mr Mumbere suspended Kibanzanga as the institution’s chief prince until further notice.
Mumbere blamed Kibanzanga for not respecting the cultural norms and disobeying the kingdom and its hierarchy.
Queen Mother died on June 11 at Kilembe Mines hospital but her family failed to amicably agree on where to bury her.
Mr Kibanzanga buried her in Bundibugyo as opposed to Kasese.Mr Mumbere suspended Kibanzanga as the institution’s chief prince until further notice.