Roofing of Kasubi tombs starts
The Prime Minister of the Buganda Kingdom, Charles Peter Mayiga, yesterday announced the start of the roofing of the Kasubi Tombs, the latest step in their restoration.
“We are going to start thatching according to the standards and practices that are acceptable in the situation, using the rightful clandestine virtues. This is the last step – all the lawsuits,” Mayiga said in an audio statement released by his media team.
The Kasubi Tombs were set ablaze in a mysterious fire on March 16, 2010, just nine years after it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It was founded by King Mukaabya Walugembe Muteesa I in 1856.
The mausoleum contains the remains of four former kings of Buganda, namely Mwanga, Muteesa I, Daudi Chwa and Sir Edward Muteesa II.
Restoring the royal tombs remains the biggest challenge and the biggest debt to the people of Buganda by the government led by Mayiga, who set a one-year deadline eight years ago when he became prime minister to renovate the structures.
But in his statement, Mr Mayiga assured the people of Buganda that, as he said early this year, the tombs could be completed even by the end of the year.
“Eleven years since the graves were burned, we have worked tirelessly to restore them; using a variety of strategies, consulting with fundraising, technical teams and traditional leaders,” said Mr. Mayiga.
Kasubi Tombs are an iconic structure in the Baganda’s heritage, embodying the culture and spiritual beliefs of the people.
The delayed restoration has been criticized by the Baganda, with some officials accusing them of embezzling the funds.
Through a fundraiser called Ettoffaali and other sources, the Kingdom raised and spent Shs6.06b, with the government contributing Shs2.3b of the amount and pledging more Shs1.7b.
The Japanese government will also contribute $500,000 (approximately Shs1.7b) through UNESCO and will be used to purchase fire-fighting equipment to be installed once reconstruction is complete.
In a responsibility of Mr. Mayiga in 2019, of the Shs4b raised by the kingdom, Shs2.5b was spent building a 64-acre perimeter wall to protect the area from land grabs and other attackers; other caretaker residences; and include a solar water system.
Mr. Mayiga then explained: “This (mausoleum) has been restored according to the standards and certain practices related to certain beliefs, as it symbolizes the cultural and spiritual beliefs of the people of Buganda.”
He praised the people of Buganda for their patience with the delayed restoration, as the Kasubi Tombs are one of the iconic installations in the kingdom. He also praised the restoration committee headed by businessman Kaddu Kiberu.
He said that during the hectic work, the kingdom has been led directly by Kabaka Ronald Mutebi since March 2010.
The government has provided more than Shs2.3b and is working on the construction of the guardhouse or Bujjabukula at the entrance to the tombs. Mayiga said the Bujjabukula still contains the materials first used when Kabaka Muteesa I first built it.