The Uganda government -- already beset by major problems of famine and public order -- has another one, less urgent, but with roots deep in the country's history.
GV PAN Site of tombs, GV thatched tomb (2 shots)
GV & SV Damaged thatch, guardian points to damage (3 shots)
GV PAN Damaged fence
GV & CU Graves and tombstones (2 shots)
CU INTERIOR Photograph Kabaka Edward Mutesa as President, PULL OUT TO spears on wall
SV Stuffed leopard
SV Table and chairs
SV Officers lead Kabaka to inspect guard of honour, 1964. (3 shots)
CU, GV PAN & SV Exiled Kabaka looking at river in London, 1968 (3 shots)
GV PAN Troops, PAN TO coffin, President Idi Amin on dais. 1971.
CU ZOOM OUT Coffin, military cap on top
SV INTERIOR Mourners file past body in coffin (3 shots)
CU General Amin lays wreath
SV Leaders behind coffin
SV Edirise Kasirye Kibondwe interviewed by June Decter replies through interpreter
SV & GV Huts where people are camped at tombs (2 shots)
SV People including army veterans with medals, in line
SV & GV People dancing, drumming and clapping (4 shots)
DECTER: "What is it that you need to fix these tombs at this point?"
KBONDWE replies in Lugandan.
INTERPRETER: "We want units of transport and money."
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Background: The Uganda government -- already beset by major problems of famine and public order -- has another one, less urgent, but with roots deep in the country's history. The Baganda people, who make up about a fifth of the country's population, are complaining that the tombs of their kings have been allowed to fall into disrepair.
SYNOPSIS: Buganda, as the territory is called, was one of Four hereditary kingdoms abolished after Uganda became independent. Four of its kings are buried at Kisubi, outside ampala. Monarchist clansmen who look after the site have asked for help from successive Uganda governments to repair the rotting thatch and derelict boundary fences. The guardians have been collecting money from their own people, but the thatch and its transport cost more than they can afford.
The tombs date back to the late nineteenth century -- the great days of the Buganda monarchy. The first ruler to be buried here was Kabaka Mutesa the First, in 1884; the last, the ill-fated Mutesa the Second. Inside are relics such as a stuffed leopard, which was one of Kabaka's pets, and furniture given to another by a British explorer.
Mutesa the Second, the last Kabaka, was also Uganda's first president, elected in 1963. But it was not long before he found himself in total disagreement with the Prime Minister, Milton Obote. Dr. Obote brought in a new constitution, abolishing the kingdoms, and the Kabaka fled into exile in London. He stayed there in considerable poverty till he died in 1969 at the age of 45, officially of "acute alcoholic poisoning".
In 1971, General Idi Amin, who had overthrown President Obote, had the Kabaka's body brought back from Britain, to be reburied with full military honours among the graves of his ancestors. But some Bagandans have never been fully satisfied. There were rumours that the Kabaka had been poisoned in London. Despite the fact that the body lay in state in a perspex coffin for all to see, there are some who still believe that it was not that of the Kabaka at all.
The burial place is looked after by the elders of the Bataka clan of the Baganda. The Chairman of Abataka Cultural Heritage, Edirise Kasirye Kibondwe told June Doctor about his problems.
Four days later, Mr. Kibondwe and two other people were arrested. They were leading figures among a group of about two hundred who have been camping outside the tombs for the last six months. They claim to represent all 52 clans of the Baganda people, and are staying there to try to impress their demands for the care of the tombs on the Uganda government.