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Ugandans vow to rebuild Kasubi Tombs

By Catholic Online
July 29th, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Kasubi Tombs, one of Uganda's holiest of sites was totally destroyed by fire in March of this year. Situated on Kasubi hill, within Kampala, Uganda, the tombs is an active religious place in the Buganda Kingdom, the largest of the traditional kingdoms in present-day Uganda.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As the burial ground for the previous four Kabakas, the Kasubi Tombs - the largest grass thatched hut in the world, held the bodies of the previous Kabaka, or King of the Baganda people. Those in Buganda's complex cultural hierarchy frequently carry out important centuries-old Ganda rituals there. In 2001, the Kasubi Tombs were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The kabakas buried at the site were Muteesa I (1835-1884), Mwanga II (1867-1903), Daudi Chwa II (1896-1939) and Sir Edward Muteesa II (1924-1969).

The cause of the fire is as yet unknown. The entire nation of Uganda is in utter shock. Many countries around the world have expressed their dismay, including the entire European Union and the United Nations.

John Bosco Walusimbi, Prime Minister of the Buganda kingdom, said that the "kingdom is in mourning. There are no words to describe the loss occasioned by this most callous act."

The remains of the kabakas are intact, according to Walusimbi, as the inner sanctum of the tombs was protected from total destruction.

The destruction occurred in the midst of an awkward relationship between the government of Uganda and the Buganda kingdom, particularly in light of the September 2009 riots. Ahead of these riots, the king of Buganda Ronald Mutebi Mwenda was stopped from touring parts of his kingdom, and several journalists who were allegedly sympathetic to the kingdom and the rioters were arrested and are awaiting trial.

The administration of the Buganda Kingdom has vowed to rebuild the tombs and President Museveni said the national government would assist in the restoration.

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