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Tororo, Tooro families meet over Kasango burial

Relatives and friends met in Kampala today to resolve impasse over Kasango’s burial

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The relatives and friends of Robert Kasango, who died last week, have today met in Kampala to try and resolve a dispute about his final resting place.

The discussions are led by West Budama County North MP Fox Odoi, and Kasango’s long time friend Andrew Mwenda, MD of the The Independent.

“This afternoon, Hon Fox Odoi and myself facilitated a meeting of Robert Kasango’s relatives, friends and in laws to resolve the impasse of where his body will be buried. These discussions continue. We agreed to postpone the burial to a future date until we find a common agreement,” said Mwenda.

“We adjourned the meeting to allow further consultations by all concerned. The next meeting will be tomorrow where we hope to forge an agreement. All inconveniences caused friends, in laws, relatives and well wishers are regretted. Date and place of burial will be announced soon.”

A decision to bury Kasango in Fort Portal is disputed by members of his family from Tororo, who at the funeral service on Tuesday, attempted to drive away with the body but were intercepted by police.

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47 comments

  1. What are these discussions about? Culturally, the man should be buried among his relatives, not at his in-laws’ place. Stop the animosity.

    • Bruno Ignatius Namisi

      We need to understand the history behind the man’s will. This business of culture applying at death is use less! People must be as important as when they are alive just like when they are dead. The guy may have been ignored by the same people masquerading as his ancestors.

      • Ask yourself, “Who educated Kasango?” before you speak of masquerading ancestors. It’s Bantu versus Luo or Nilotic. You’re just jumping in on the side of the Bantu. But let’s look at it fairly. The man Kasango is a Jap. The Japs are not soft. They defeated the Bagisu and the Maasai and drove them out of the Tororo area. They drove out the Bagisu who retreated to the mountains and Maasai retreated to Uasin Gishu in Kenya. This was about six to seven centuries ago. The Jopadhola then stayed in the area alone to maintain their Luo culture and language. Let’s respect the Japs. It’s a resilient group.

  2. The burial rituals are specific to each nationality in general and closed Clan in particular. The intervention of modernity ie Friends, wealth, etc is not accounted for in the rituals. Rituals are “settled matter” and not for suberverting by any means necessary. Burial and places of burials are “settled matters” and does not respect modern “Wills”. The choice where one is born and laid to rest is not negotiable. The relatives/children of deceased will forever remain condemned and outcasts if this time-honoured and settled ritual is violated

    • Chief
      Settled matters , in the context of ordinary Ugandans

      Some people even practice what you claim in month X and the alternative in month Y

      However one may have to dig deeper,

      “The relatives/children of deceased will forever remain condemned and outcasts if this time-honoured and settled ritual is violated ”

      is the message that you convey known?, was it emphasized to those who think otherwise? If some one claims to know you well, then he should know how you relate with your parent
      why did society have to be disturbed (sad), looking at a mother(bereaved) in that state at Church?

      It is time for reflection, many lessons learnt

  3. May the solution be the type to make the mother of the deceased regain her status

  4. The only option is for Kasango’s mother and relatives to take Bitarabeho to court. Then get a police escort to take the body to Tororo.

    • Jedidiah Komagum Alony Grace

      Take her to court on what grounds?
      Do u think the wife is not grieved by the loss of her husband?
      Nice has suffered while others were away in their comfort only to appear when Bod has passed on.
      Nice should have a big say in where her husbands remains will be laid to rest.

  5. Bruno Ignatius Namisi

    It is a great shame that Ugandans are always greedy and ready to tussle for dead people’s properties. We may find that most of the so called fighters in this war are doing for their selfish motives! You may find that most of them ever bothered to check on the guy while in prison, now that he is dead, his body appears to be important in the name of culture! Like I have always said, Africa keeps lagging behind due to fear, greed,procrastination, ignorance, sabotage and pretense! Behind this story, I see an element of the above elements. Work for your own and stop disturbing the dead.

    • “You may find that most of them ever bothered to check on the guy while in prison, now that he is dead…” That is not the issue. Kasango was born in Tororo and is a Nilotic/Japadhola and Luo. They have their centuries’ old culture which cannot be changed simply because the widow doesn’t want to be part of it. If a Mugisu, and probably yourself dodges circumcision and runs to another ethnic group, he will be hunted down and circumcised by force and that’s culturally normal.

      • Bruno Ignatius Namisi

        But you very well understand that there is also circumcission through the hospitals/clinics. Once someone undergoes the process through the medical way, one can not claim to circumcize them again in the name of culture! So many Ugandans have been buried and cremated in places they are not born from. Some have even been buried outside Uganda and I believe that among them are some Ugandans. It is laughable that we hide under culture to promote useless things!

        • “Some have even been buried outside Uganda and I believe that among them are some Ugandans. It is laughable that we hide under culture to promote useless things!”

          I can see your surname is Namisi. Why isn’t it “Smith” or “Heseltine” or even “Trump”? I am sure it’s because you are fully following your culture. We are talking about a death that has happened right inside Uganda.
          Please refer to the Kenya scenario concerning the burial of SM Otieno, then discuss how important culture is to the Luo-speaking people. The Jopadhola are fully Luo. Here it’s of course a clash of cultures and I’m sure you don’t have an argument.
          The Bagisu who perform circumcision in hospitals or “medically” are considered cowards and not men enough or brave enough.

        • Jedidiah Komagum Alony Grace

          Well said @Victor.

    • “Work for your own and stop disturbing the dead.” The parents worked to educate him to send him to law school.

  6. Ah not so fast
    The deceased is likely to have belonged to a family before the friends and in-laws knew him

    They have beliefs and practices

    I think their request should not be ignored

    On the other hand the widow has a say

    So this is a a conflict between the African ways and modernity

    One would have expected a transition where individuals maintain touch with relatives [meet their

    expectations] and inform them of the wish to live a modern life

    as you suggest greed to be a motivation, why would people put up with ridicule at a funeral home?

    To prove this point deny them the property but hand over the remains of their relative

    • It is not the property the mother or relatives are after. It is the body of their beloved to be given a decent burial at his place of birth, but not in the wilderness of Tooro.

      The relatives of Kasango should go to court. In Kenya, another Luo group took Wambui, the Kikuyu widow of SM Otieno to court. Otieno was a prominent criminal lawyer. The court battle lasted six months and the Umira Kager clan of SM Otieno prevailed and the burial took place in Nyalgunga his place of birth in Luoland. The Jopadhola also practice their Luo culture and will not change.

  7. Bruno Ignatius Namisi

    We can argue and seem to take sides, however, I doubt if that would be the first Jap to be buried outside Tororo! Someone should first read and understand the history of the Japadhola before we insist on ancestry.

    • Why are you so obsessed with the Jap group?

    • @Bruno Ignatius Namisi: Why should someone first read and understand the history of the Jopadhola or their ancestry? I will give you a statement: They are non-Bantuised Luo according to Prof Bethwell Ogot, in “The History of the Southern Luo” (1967). Alternatively, do your research among the Jopadhola. They know their history orally and practice their Luo culture. You can also consult the book written by Oboth Ofumbi (1961) as well as the book: “The Lwoo” consisting of three volumes by Father P. Crazollara (1950) among others. Or consult their elders for their knowledge if you want to become a scholar of the Japs. If you can win their trust they will probably educate you.

  8. Bruno Ignatius Namisi

    I have seen and heard some people sound sectarian on this platform. This discussion is not about us attacking a certain tribe because of these circumstances. Trust me, I would still stand for a certain Ategeka or a Mbabazi who died from soroti and requested to be buried from there. Someone is pitting the Bantu against the Luo in this. That was the last thing to ever come on my mind. Am just against the pretense of those who stay alive once people are gone! They claim to know who was the right kid of the deceased, who had divorced who and so forth! That level of selfishness must stop! People should not hide under culture to disorganize the families of those who are gone! I still insist that there must be several Japs buried in cemeteries elsewhere and this is not an exclusive case. So, whoever is trying to undermine a certain tribe/ethnic group because of this discussion, am not party to that. I was trying to be objective in my opinion as I have always been.

    • You do not need to be a Luo to plead for the mother and her kin

      One generation ago all relatives were buried in the home stead, and for a parent she may have had

      special attachment to her son

      You need a strong justification to change a practice and this should be acceptable to those who

      believe in that practice

      otherwise can you explain the return of remains of Ugandans from elsewhere?

      It is true some relatives may be materialistic, but involvement of the mother, demands caution

      “disorganize the families of those who are gone”

      Several Ugandans are running up and down to reconstruct their family trees, may be it matters at

      some point in life

      • Please give @Namisi the example of former President Obama, who though the mother was White, looked for his roots and where the father and grandfather were buried. He also looked for his relatives and slept in a semi-permanent mud house during his visit. He even went to sell vegetables for his grandmother in the market.

  9. @Bruno Ignatius Namisi: What?? Were you not the one who wrote that the Japs’ history should be studied? Why are you chickening out? Even the use of the word sectarian is out of context and does not scare anyone. The Luo are better placed to speak for themselves concerning cultural matters. You cannot speak for the Japs in this context.

    “I still insist that there must be several Japs buried in cemeteries elsewhere and this is not an exclusive case…” That lie does not affect the culture of the Jopadhola or how they live their lives. Please read more books and learn not to interfere in cultures that are not yours or that you know nothing about. You are not an authority on the Luo culture and may not make a decision on their behalf. Also learn not to objectify them; they are proud people with a sound social organization.

  10. Why chicken out now or try to insist that the discussion go your way? Can you defend your argument with facts and figures?

  11. Please give @Namisi the example of former President Obama, who though the mother was White, looked for his roots and where the father and grandfather were buried. He also looked for his relatives and slept in a semi-permanent mud house during his visit. He even went to sell vegetables for his grandmother in the market.

    • Bruno Ignatius Namisi

      You either just seem to have your own vendetta or something against the Bantu that has clouded your mind. My reference of understanding the history of the Japs is to inform me whether Tororo was their first area of occupation! Using the best example of Obama, do you think when he dies the Luo will go to the U.S and claim his remains to be brought to Kogelo because the Luo have to be buried on their ancestral land? Mr. Very educated and informed man, do you want to inform me that ever since the Obama’s relocated to the U.S have been burying all those who die in the Luo land? My argument is far beyond a tribe or an individual. To you, I see that you have limited it to a small group, and that is your own problem, not mine.

      • The court will uphold the WILL. It is a sacred document which he made when he was of sound mind. DONE. FINITO. Get used to it. No cultural stories and school fees paid by the tribe.

        He is not getting buried in New York for crying out loud. He could have opted for cremation and drop ashes off in River Nile.

      • Don’t be jealous. You don’t even know my nationality.

      • @Bruno Ignatius Namisi: This thing was about the Japs and the Batoro. Yes, the Japs who are Luo still have some relationship/connection with the Batoro dynasty. For example, King Oyo is a descendant of the Luo Babito dynasty which ruled or still reigns in Tooro which can be detected through some of the Luo names they’ve retained, for example, Patrick Olimi Kaboyo. The middle name is purely Luo. There are also lots of Japs called Oyo which is a Luo name. The meaning of Oyo remains the same for those who can interpret it. Similarly, the Empako names found in Tooro and Bunyoro are pure Luo names with meanings interpreted in Luo and each Mutooro has such praise names. Even when the Kingdom of Tooro officials say that it is an abomination for a man to be buried at his in-laws’ home, it is similar to the Luo culture.

        On your mockery: “Mr. Very educated and informed man, do you want to inform me that ever since the Obama’s relocated to the U.S have been burying all those who die in the Luo land.”

        The point I made was that Obama sought his roots in Kogelo. Recently, his aunt Zeituni who died in the US was brought home for burial, which was normal for the family and friends.

        Again, the issue is between the Batooro and the Japs. Not between the Japs and the relatives of Namisi. Therefore, it is a waste of time for you to take it as some personal to you at this point.

        “My reference of understanding the history of the Japs is to inform me whether Tororo was their first area of occupation!”

        Again, your obsession with negativity towards the Japs deserves condemnation. You introduced here the false notion of sectarianism, however, your attitude towards the Japs or the Luo betrays you as a Luo pessimist or Jap pessimist and therefore “sectarianism” effectively applies to you. You cannot hide behind being objective and then express biased sentiments. It’s clear that you have a bias against the Japs, because they are a minority Luo-speaking people dwelling in the area where they are today; a place they call home and practicing their culture. Hence your statement:

        “My reference of understanding the history of the Japs is to inform me whether Tororo was their first area of occupation!”

        • Bruno Ignatius Namisi

          So, why are you bothering your head and running in circles? You know the truth and the more you argue, the more you seem to be shooting your own foot! The Batooro are related to the Japs, they are all Ugandans and more Ugandans have been buried in foreign lands before. No Luo will ever claim Obama’s body incase he died from America and I doubt if you have any proof that this guy had no will! I have nothing against the Japs and mind you, many of them are married in my family. What i see in you is someone filled with anger over some other matter(s) that am unable to tell. I do not know how you are related to the late Kasango, but, all in all, I can confirm to you that my argument was never meant to haul an attack on a particular individual or community. I am just as objective as those fighting female genital mutilation, I think it is one practice that those who believe in it hold in high regard. We have introductions/kwanjulas which are a common practice in Uganda, how many relationships have you seen or heard being ended on the basis of no dowry being paid? We need to practice our cultures, fine but with a focus to some changes that have occurred with time. By the way you know it that Africans used to walk naked, but we have adopted clothes with time. Had we been so culturally attached as you claim, we would still be walking naked!

          • Keep off you are not part of the bereavement. Wait until you die to be taken to your in-laws since you seem uncultured. I hope it will be the next funeral.

          • @Bruno Ignatius Namisi: “By the way you know it that Africans used to walk naked…”

            Not true. We used to wear bark cloth. I think you have been paid by some colonialists to write such trash.

            “We need to practice our cultures, fine but with a focus to some changes that have occurred with time..”

            Say that in your own culture. We have cultural institutions in the country. No culture tells another culture what to do. Respect people’s culture and stop attempting to “civilize” them through your own. The Japs do not need your sneaky and arrogant advice.

            “I am just as objective as those fighting female genital mutilation, I think it is one practice that those who believe in it hold in high reg…”

            The Japs do not have any FGM in their culture. They also do not have male circumcision. But they have not called on their neighbours the Bamasaaba to end the male circumcision in their culture. The Bamasaaba even carry out their dance processions before circumcision around Tororo and they are given chickens and goats by the Japs to celebrate their rite of passage or imbalu in their culture. In other words, I know that the Japs respect their neighbours’ cultures.

            Leave the Japs to practice their culture and give them due respect without your intervention with your own cultural attitudes. If they want to abandon some aspects it is still their choice but not to be dictated to. Your advice is not needed for a culture that is not yours. I have not seen you in the Zoom meetings of the Japs and friends. So why not stop commenting on what you do not know?

          • @Bruno Ignatius Namisi. “The Batooro are related to the Japs.” This is not true. I said the relationship is only with the Luo Babito Dynasty, not ordinary Batooro. Let’s see who is going in circles denying the Luo ancestry of the Tooro royal family simply because he’s a Luo pessimist. The example I gave are of the Luo names of Tooro dynasty. The Luo also birthed the Empako or praise names in Tooro and Bunyoro. Namisi, do the right thing: “Get lost.” You have no stake in the Jap/Tooro disagreement around the death and burial of Kasango, a son of the Japs.

          • @Bruno Ignatius Namisi. “Go to hell.”

  12. @Bruno Ignatius Namisi: “You either just seem to have your own vendetta or something against the Bantu that has clouded your mind.” You are wrong. You can’t speak for the Bantu. Your own culture is not similar to that of the Bantu. For example, your community practices circumcision like the Nilo Hamites of Kenya, circumcision. The rest of the Bantu of Uganda don’t practice that. You can only speak for your own community as one of them or as a person who has learned that culture. The Bantu are diverse and practice diverse cultures. The concept of grouping people as Bantu was introduced by the colonialists in their “define, conquer and rule” agenda. The concept of Bantu has also been used to discriminate against others not considered “Bantu” implying that they are not people or persons, hence “they are animals.” So let’s see who is sectarian. In the case of the Jopadhola, the people who want to bury Kasango away from his home of birth have that attitude.

  13. @ Martha Musoke: What a stupid statement you have made! “Get used to it. No cultural stories and school fees paid by the tribe.” The Kabaka of Buganda will only look for a Muganda woman to produce the heir because it the culture. The son born by a Rwandan woman cannot inherit his throne. You got used to it. When it is a Jap then their culture does not matter? By the way, the Luo still claim their gate at Buganda palace called Wangkac (Wankaki). It is a Luo gate.
    Be ready for a bruising battle in court. In fact, even though not a Jap, I am contributing going to contribute to the legal fees because I support the Luo cultural causes.

  14. OK. Guys. Enough of this engagement. Next, we meet at the Court. Culture will prevail in the end. If the wife takes away the body by force the Japs will bury a banana stump in Tororo. So Kasango will have two graves. The consequences will not be a victory for the wife or her family. Burying Kasango at his ancestral home does not force the wife to become a Jap. She will remain in her ethnic group and even remarry soon. She can also keep the ill-gotten property, no doubt about it. But burying Kasango in Western province when he is from the East is just trying to show who is in power. But the customs of Kasango’s family require that he be buried at home, not at his in-laws’ place. I pity that widow being deceived by men around her.

    • Hi

      as we the believers in customs of our ancestors (minus those renounced at baptism) eagerly awaited feedback from you, the widow has taken the mother of the deceased to court.

      well i don’t know If Lord Delamere’s declaration ( 1923) also covers the laws in East Africa

  15. The new vision seems to suggest that the deceased had been traumatized by a family member (not blood relative)
    So you have to prove that he kept in touch with people in Tororo. An argument that may have informed the decision for the case in Kenya

    These ethnic arguments are deceptive, wait until somebody uses your DNA to study relatedness: realizing that you are related with people that you dislike will hurt.

    You do not need to mention the King, a child of a female who does not understand the culture of a certain group, should not take up leadership, he is not likely to respect the beliefs and practices

    Mr. Namisi, there is nothing wrong with our cultures, I also disagree with you when you plead for spouses who believe that a man ceases to have relatives when he gets married. They should keep away from his house and luxuries but he remains one of them. The AIDS epidemic (in its early phase) was a reminder to those who had no reason to relate. The indifference of modern people extends to their parents [1 Timothy 5:4,]

    There are societies that have abandoned dependency but retained the interaction

  16. Thanks all for the deliberations.
    I would like to differ a bit on the discussions. Its culturally upright for the man to be buried in a newly acquired home. So i don’t have any problem for our late brother being buried in Fort Portal. However, what is purtabing and culturally wrong is that when they showed his burial ground he was to be buried next to his father in law and this showed that he is to be buried at his in-laws which a taboo in the African culture regardless of whether jap or mutoro.

    I would advise that if they are to burry him in Fort portal, let the burial be on the acquired piece of land he bought for his family even if no house built there.

    Secondly, in the whole saga, the father of Kasango is no where. I see the mam being the most vocal. If the Tororo chaps wants the man buried at mam’s home, then its also culturally wrong.

    Let the father clarify if the body is to be taken to Tororo that it will be burried at father’s place.

  17. If the father is dead should he rise up and speak? No. The Clan speaks. The mother now belongs to the father’s clan in the Jap culture and lives with them. It seems you have been sent by the wife’s people. The wife had dominated Kasango when he was alive to the extent of never bothering to visit the place where he was born. She has contempt for the Japs, and that’s her problem. However, she made Kasango work like a donkey, to the extent of stealing to make her rich. She knew Kasango was sick with heart disease. But still helped him to race against time to acquire for her wealth by hook or crook. This is the wrong woman. She can keep her children.

  18. Please gentlemen leave the children out of this problem, no one chooses parents!

    Now you hit the nail on the head:

    The lady controlled him, i do not know her, but a classmate in HSC and later at University said he did not

    mention family

    irrespective of tribe relatives believe it is the wife dominating the man, let the men do a self evaluation; is this true or wives are a scapegoat?

    This problem has made individuals understand the need to respect culture, and the sense of belonging

  19. Bruno Ignatius Namisi

    Society must stop this business of blaming women for their sons’ misdeeds! These are men whom they meet as fully grown up human beings and they must be having a sense of right and wrong! For anyone to neglect their parents is a predetermined position that one had before meeting the woman in question. For every success is attributed to the man’s ability and knowledge. However, any failure arises from the woman. This must stop. We must not judge the dead but condemning his wife for the man’s actions is too kiddish. Who knows, may be it was some sort of set up and the man never did whatever he is accused of. He may be paying a price for someone else’s deeds. I pray that we may refrain ourselves from making some sweeping statements about this matter.

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