The Kabaka of Buganda kingdom, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II has called for a ‘quick investigation’ into the death of over 50 people in two days - related to the November 18/19 pro Bobi protests that swept Kampala and other parts of the country.
"There should be an inquiry into the death of those people," Kabaka Mutebi stressed.
Kabaka Mutebi also used his Sunday address to weigh in on the current political atmosphere relating it to the 1945 riots which resulted into 8 fatalities and left scores injured.
The Kabaka voiced out his condemnation for police and army brutality in quelling the riots.
He explained that several unaccounted for deaths have occurred to Ugandans even in the post-Independence era and that “they should not be taken lightly.”
He concluded his address at this year’s Airtel Kabaka Birthday run hailing the continued-annual participation of his subjects in the run held to mark his birthday and acknowledged it as a celebration of the progress in health initiatives.
Run amid the pandemic
More than 20,000 people across Buganda Kingdom participated in the annual Airtel Kabaka Birthday Run that seeks to benefit the fight against HIV and AIDS.
According to organisers, the traditional event around the Kabaka's palace in Mengo-Kampala could not be held in adherence to social distancing guidelines over concerns about Covid-19
Instead, about 200 participants were allowed into the palace while others were encouraged to choose their own routes near their neighbourhoods. Most of the runners participated in their respective county headquarters as well as those in the diaspora.
The restrictions did not stop people as pockets of enthusiasts were found at Bulange and the Palace during warm-up before they were dispersed by the military.
Most people admitted that the virtual Kabaka Birthday Run wasn't as much fun without the usual ‘big crowd’.
Buganda premier [Katikkiro] Charles Peter Mayiga told attendants that “a spirit of optimism has arisen among the Kabaka's subjects.”
The run was initially scheduled for April but delayed owing to the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease.
Ms Remmie Kisakye, the head of Brand and Communication at Airtel Uganda said they were happy the kits sold out.
“But as you know, these are social events. It felt empty but I am happy we have made a contribution towards the fight against HIV and Aids,” Ms Kisakye said.
The run was held under the theme, “Men against Aids to save the girl child.”
Inside the palace, there were no water points across the circuit. Mr Paul Lutwama, who was among the tens outside the palace said: "I am happy to see long lost friends. I felt happy when someone called out my name."
The best ambassador
Dr Karusa Kiragu the UNAIDS Country Director for Uganda hailed Kabaka for his active role in disseminating information on HIV and AIDS among his subjects. Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II is a UNAIDS’ goodwill ambassador.
The kingdom through its chiefs has mobilised subjects to test for HIV and AIDS during public gatherings while also the next 3 years of the annual Kabaka Birthday Marathon have been dedicated to creating HIV/AIDS awareness.
“You are the best ambassador in the way you allocate resources and mobilise your subjects,” Dr Kiragu said in her brief at the Kabaka’s palace.
“Our worry is that we have 1,000 new infections every week. This reduces the positive progress. It is like mopping the floor while the tap is still open. We therefore need to know more and I am happy we are engaging men to implore them for their role towards their wives and children. I am optimistic it will bear fruits,” she added.
According to the Uganda Aids Commission, an estimated 1.5m people are infected with HIV and AIDS in Uganda, with about 1,000 new infections every week.
In 2019, 53,000 new infections were recorded representing a decrease of 75 per cent.
Dr Nelson Musoba, the Director General, Uganda AIDS Commission stresses that testing and treatment are effective ways of creating awareness of the HIV and Aids pandemic.