Lyantonde, Uganda | URN | Business came to a standstill at Lyantonde Hospital when a family from Bujjubi-Kiweesi village, Kalungu district, stormed the facility to exhume the remains of their family member who was buried at the cemetery at the hospital entrance 100 years ago.
It is said that Paul Kivumagana died from a strange ailment in 1921 and his body was buried in the hospital cemetery after failing to trace his family members. But the family now says that the spirit of the deceased is haunting them, as he demands a decent burial.
Sadala Mutaawe, 75, a grandson of Kivumagana’s fourth generation, says the spirit of the dead possessed one of the family members and revealed every detail about his death which forced them to look for his remains and have them exhumed. He adds that he was buried before the hospital structures were expanded back in the day.
“Grandfather Kivumagana has been talking to us in dreams, and the children have been falling sick. So he talked to one of our children explaining how he died. When we consulted the elders, they said we have to perform all the funeral rituals,” said Mutaawe.
However, they had to secure a court order and support of Lyantonde district security committee, Kaliiro Zone B chairperson, and the hospital administration before embarking on the exercise, which was conducted amidst heavy police presence to contain the situation at the hospital.
Different rituals were performed by traditionalists and the family members while the area residents, patients and caregivers looked on. They dug up the area and took up the remains which they wrapped in bark cloth before putting them in the coffin.
Muhammed Ssekimpi, the Kaliiro Zone B Chairperson, says they had to allow the family to exhume the remains as a cultural right, after explaining what they have endured over the last year, as the spirit haunted them.