Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Family Court in Kampala has ruled that lawyer Bob Kasango be buried in Fort Portal, Kabarole district within four days and not Tororo District, ending a nearly month-long feud between his in-laws and paternal families.
Kasango succumbed to heart-related complications a month ago from Luzira prison on February 27, from where he was serving a 16-year jail term for theft of more than Shs 15 billion meant for pensioners. However, his burial was delayed by a bitter fight between Kasango’s widow Nice Bitarabeho, and his family from Tororo district.
The controversy started when a section of relatives from Tororo grabbed his casket from All Saints cathedral-Kampala, where it had been announced, after a funeral service, that the deceased would be buried in Fort Portal.
However, the vehicle, which was reportedly taking the body to Tororo, was intercepted by police and the casket sent back to A-Funeral services home where it has been held under protection since then. A-Plus has been charging a daily fee of Shs 250,000 to preserve the body since March 3.
In the aftermath, the widow sought a court order to bury the husband in Kabarole district on grounds that Kasango had denounced his family and never wished to be buried in his ancestral home.
The court also heard that Kasango was never close to his family members in life, let alone his mother, Rose Kabise, who was fighting to stop the burial in Fort Portal. The wife also told the court that one of the family members had confided in her that the family in Tororo had planned to kill Kasango when he was still young, as a result of family wrangles. Reports indicate that Kasango’s father had a relationship with two sisters, one of which resulted in the birth of Kasango.
Bitarabeho also told the court that she never met her mother in law until after seven years of her marriage to Kasango on December 22, 2000, and that every time she asked him about his father, he would break down in tears. Bitarabeho also told court that Kasango warned her about his hostile family and asked her to keep a distance for her own safety and their children.
But Kasango’s mother Kabise told the court that Kasango was born to a Musoga father, Livingston Richard Kasimo and raised by his stepfather Bonaventure Okello, a Japadhola from Tororo and his real name is Robert Kasango Othieno who belongs to the Nyapolo oligo clan of Japadhola and he perfectly knew his lineage. She also explained that she is the one who gave Kasango the name Otieno and Robert at birth.
But she added that Kasimo died many years ago and, she heard that, he had been buried somewhere in Bulemeezi where he had bought a piece of land. Kabise added that Kasango had bought her land in Tororo, and that is where she wanted her son to be buried. However, during cross-examination by Bitarabeho’s lawyers Jamilu Mujurizi and Humphrey Tumwesigye, it was revealed that there is no proof for the purchase of land in Tororo.
Justice Lydia Mugambe Ssali today ruled in favour of Kasango’s wife. She instructed that the burial takes place within four days from today so as to avoid any further physiological torture of the children. She added that the family of Kasango’s mother should be allowed to attend the funeral and ensure that the deceased is accorded a decent burial.
But in her decision, Mugambe explained that the Japadhola culture was not applicable to Kasango since her mother already indicated that his real father was from Busoga. She added that Kabise also couldn’t impose that culture onto the deceased, in a country that has about 54 tribes whose people keep migrating to other areas.
Mugambe noted that Kasango did not have a strong attachment to his parents, pointing to the fact that the mother-in-law remained unknown to Kasango’s wife, Kasango’s failure to recognize Kabise at their wedding, Kasango’s wife and children having no attachment to the family in Tororo, and the fact that Kabise only visited Kasango on Bitarabeho’s invitation.
She also noted that during the hearing of the matter, Kasango’s eldest son, Samora Kasango, 19, said that they were comfortable burying their father in Fort Portal. As such, the judge said that the land in Fort portal which the deceased used to visit regularly is big enough for burial.
But the Tororo family said that they will not attend the burial in Fort portal. Earlier, Esau Michael Opiiri, the only person who testified as a neutral person in the case said that it is against the traditional values and norms of the Japadhola to bury a person in a foreign land.