Luwero, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The LC 3 Chairpersons and veterans in Luwero district have expressed support for the move by Luwero – Rwenzori Triangle Ministry to take over management of National Resistance Army war mass graves.
Between 1992-1995, the Office of the President constructed mass graves to offer decent burials for the fighters and victims of the 1981-86 Luwero bush war that brought President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni into power.
It’s believed that over 70,000 skulls were collected and buried in mass graves that are located at the headquarters of sub counties spread across the vast Luwero Triangle at the end of the war.
But as years go by, many have been abandoned, colonized by bushes, skulls stolen and others in a sorry state.
Alice Kaboyo, the Minister of State for Luwero-Rwenzori Triangle says that the cabinet resolved that the graves are managed by the Ministry of Tourism but there are public concerns that they have been neglected.
Kaboyo says that she has since appealed to President seeking revision of the resolution and the management of graves be entrusted to her Ministry of Luwero-Rwenzori Triangle. She
says that her Ministry has a direct link to the sites and it is in a bitter position to preserve them.
Sebastian Semalulu, the LC 3 Chairperson of Butuntumula sub county says that the Ministry of Tourism abandoned the sites and it’s the financially constrained sub-counties that are struggling to look after them. He explains that due to a lack of maintenance, part of the graveyard’s fence collapsed and the tiles are broken.
Semalulu adds that the sub-counties lack money to conduct major renovations and welcomed the proposal by the Ministry of Luwero Triangle to take over their management.
Pascal Imarach, the LC 3 Chairperson of Zirobwe town council says that apart from failing to promote them as tourism sites, the Ministry seems not to recognize the importance of the graveyard as a historical site for people who lost lives in the war.
“Luwero-Rwenzori Triangle can be given the mandate to redevelop them but with consultation with Ministry of Tourism. We need promote them as tourism and historical sites,” says Imarach.
Edward Ssimbwa, the LC 3 Chairperson of Luwero sub county says it’s a shame for government to completely forget people who died for it and fail to allocate a fund to renovate their graveyards.
Livingstone Kategeya, a veteran in Kamira sub county says that he has no doubt that Ministry of Luwero Triangle may manage them well because of its relations with veterans as well as their families of fallen fighters.
The LC 3 Chairperson of Luwero Town Council, Chris Buwembo says that apart from failing to renovate the graveyards, the government has failed to construct a monument to preserve the history of the war.
“Seeing people who died laying in bushes is a disrespect by NRM Government. Let’s preserve the graves but in good condition,” says Buwembo.
Efforts to talk to Martin Mugarra Bahinduka the State Minister of Tourism on the concerns were unfruitful since he didn’t pick up calls or return them.