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Mumbere withdraws title of Prince from Minister Kibanzanga as fallout over Queen Mother’s burial deepens

Rwenzururu King, Mr Charles Wesley Mumbere (L) withdrew chief prince title from brother Minister Kibanzanga. (PHOTO/File)

KASESE – The Omusinga of Rwenzururu Kingdom, Mr Charles Wesley Mumbere, has withdrawn the title of the chief prince from his brother, Mr Christopher Kibanzanga, who also doubles as the State Minister for Agriculture.

“By the virtue of powers entrusted to me by the constitution of Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu and the royal family, I hereby suspend your position and title of the chief prince,” the June 25 letter reads in part.

The letter indicates that Mr Kibanzanga on June 14 stole the body of the Queen Mother, Ms Christine Biira Mukirania, from Fort Portal Hospital mortuary and buried her two days later at Kirindi Village in Bundibugyo District against her will.

“Your behaviour on June 14 worsened our grief. I was particularly upset including your other siblings (members of the royal family) when you aggressively stormed Buhinga Hospital mortuary and took away the body of our mother,’’ Mr Mumbere wrote.

He said this undermined the image of the kingdom.

“Your highhandedness and arrogant actions denied your siblings, the deceased grandchildren and daughters’ in-law and kingdom members to pay their last final respect for our mother. And in fact by doing so, some cultural rituals that would have been performed in respect to our mother were suspended,” the letter further reads.

Court order

Mr Mumbere, who had been granted 14 days by Court to travel to his kingdom to mourn and bury his mother, changed his mind on June 14 on hearing that Mr Kibanzanga had defied his orders. He had ordered that the deceased’s remains be buried at Nyamirangara Village in Muhokya Sub-county, Kasese District, on June 18.

Addressing mourners during a funeral service at Izahura Primary School in Bundibugyo, Mr Kibanzanga said he decided to take the Queen Mother’s body to Bundibugyo because the kingdom administration planned to bury her in a game reserve.

“My father (Isaya Mukirania) was buried in the bush because of the prevailing circumstances then (1966). My mother has no debt with me and I would not see her be buried in a national park,” he said.

A day after the burial, on June 17, Mr Mumbere was reportedly stopped by the government from travelling to Kasese for “security reasons”.

He has now barred Mr Kibanzanga from representing the royal family at any public function.

Mr Kibanzanga was not available for a comment as his known contacts were unavailable. His son, Mr Moses Kibanzanga, said the minister was “resting after returning from a Cabinet meeting.”

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