BUGWERE – The Bugwere cultural leader (Ikumbania), Bishop John Christom Weyabire, has succumbed to COVID-19.
Ikumbania has been battling the disease in an isolation center in Entebbe for the past week.
He becomes the 3rd cultural leader to succumb to the disease in a month. Others include Umukuka Bob Mushikori of Bugisu who died on January 4th, followed by Kingo of Sebei on 19th of the same month.
Bishop Weyabire, was on July 4, 2015, elected unopposed and crowned as the rightful king of Obwa Ikumbania Bwa Bagwere after the institution was gazetted by government on May 6, 2014.
However, he leaves behind a divided kingdom. This is after a parallel cultural leader, Prince Nelson Mulabi Kamba Kidandaire IV from the royal clan of Balangira, was installed at Gadumire Grounds at Budaka Sub-county in Budaka District.
The ceremony came after they developed misunderstandings with the leadership of Weyabire.
Prince Muhammad Ngobi, who was appointed prime minister of the parallel institution, said historically, the leader of the royal Balangira clan, automatically becomes the reigning king of Bagwere.
Mr Ngobi added that they do not recognise Bishop Weyabire as their king.
“The current gazetted cultural leader is holding the title illegally and worst of it, his title is Ikumbania, which has never existed. Historically, our hereditary kings were referred to as Nagwere not Ikumbania, who is elected by human beings,” Prince Ngobi, said.
In December 2019, a section of clan and spiritual leaders in Bugwere Sub-region also installed a parallel cultural leader from Balalaka clan allegedly on orders of their ancestral spirits.
The general overseer of Balalaka be’Ngoma clan, Mr Patrick Byassi, then said the gods had appeared and instructed him to install Prince Paul Patrick Pangoli Ndobooli Lyada as their king in order to avert their anger.
Weyabire was born in 1957 in Kenkebu Sub-county, present-day Kibuku District, to the late Mr. Lawrence Mwoya, son of Mr.Daniel Kawu of the Abakatikoko Abanamwera Katikati clan.