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Museveni backs Nsibambi’s choice for female heir

President Museveni backed Ms Ruth Nakimuli Kasujja, who former Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi, chose as heiress, the act that sparked public debate on the position of the girl-child when it comes to family succession. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA– President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has supported the idea of daughters inheriting their deceased fathers’ wealth.

Mr. Museveni spoke in support of his deceased associate, the late Professor Apollo Robin Nsibambi.

The late Educationist named his eldest daughter Ms. Rhoda Nakimuli Kasujja as his heir in his will, which is a rare occurrence – in most African traditions.

Many African cultures frown upon this trend which is widely viewed as taboo.

The President made these remarks on Thursday 13 June during his speech after the budget was read at Kampala Serena Hotel.

When Ms. Nakimuli was made heir to his father, Buganda Kingdom official s highly criticized the move claiming that the late Prof Nsibambi put modernity ahead of tradition, thereby endorsing an abomination because they believe that inheritance is a preserve of the male child.

The president also revealed that the late Prof. Nsibambi had told him about his determination to make his daughter the heir.

“I am a traditionalist but a traditionalist who wants a strong Africa… Africa cannot be strong with the traditions that disable her.  Therefore, all traditions must be audited with that in mind,” he said.

Museveni added that in the modern context, it is legitimate and reasonable for girls to inherit their parent’s wealth and responsibilities in some circumstances and gave an example of the Banyankore in the past who never allowed girls to inherit for very good reasons.

“The Banyankore, like the other tribes of this area, are exogamous and also patrilineal.  Moreover, the clans were, sometimes, at war with one another.” The President cited.

“Since the girl had to marry outside the clan, was it wise to allow her to take the heritage of the clan to the clan of her marriage?  What if this clan was to fight us tomorrow? Those were the considerations of that time and they were legitimate.” He admitted before adding.

“Today, however, the considerations are different. The main challenge is to produce modern wealth ─ commercial agriculture, factories, hotel, ICT companies,” he remarked.

He disregarded tradition forcing someone to make a person who is not worth being their heir just because he is male or leaves the powers of selecting the heir to the clan members some of whom may not have bothered to wake up to the need for modernization.

Museveni said, “The way the law is, now, is reasonable.  It gives absolute powers to the creator of the wealth to dispose of it the way he/she deems fit except for the children who are still minors. I think those are entitled to something and spouses are also, I think, entitled to something.”

He further said the views of the wealth creators should not be discouraged by interfering with the will of the dead because the living wealth creators may then be discouraged to work hard in fear of their will being messed up by their clan.

Prof Nsibambi died at the age of 78 years having succumbed to cancer and high blood pressure on Tuesday, May 28, 2019.

He is survived by four children all of whom were all female. The late Professors daughters include; Rhoda Kasujja, Lydia Mulondo, Eseza Ssali and Juliet Kasujja.

Nsibambi served as Prime Minister from 1999 until 2011 and he became the first non-Head of State Chancellor of Makerere University from 2003 to 2007 according to the institution.

Before joining Cabinet as Minister of Education, Public Service and later Prime Minister, Nsibambi held various positions at Makerere from Lecturer to Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences.

He was also the Director of the Makerere Institute for Social Research (MISIR).

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