By Isaac Mutema
Chanting over dead bodies is as divisive a topic as the culture itself. The same culture has, once more, reared its ugliest head in the wake of Gen Elly Tumwine’s demise.
Ugandans of this culture are chanting shamelessly stating that the same was good riddance.
This position, since the deceased had himself kind of backed the shooting to death of fifty youths protesting against Bobi Wine’s arrest in Bugiri in 2020.
Many of the NRM supporters and leaders, plus Tumwine’s relatives and friends, have understandably expressed a lot of agonizing shock and indignation at the kind of mourning exhibited by the people who have chosen to celebrate the demise of their own.
Among those taking offence include Tumwine’s former combatant, former Luweero LCV chairman and cabinet minister, Hajj Abdu Nadduli.
Let me think this is not the talkative and chaotic old man known as Nadduli I know. Since, the one I know can’t, I presume, be offended by people chanting over dead bodies.
He, himself, captained people previously to chant over former president Dr Apollo Milton Obote’s demise.
If am not mistaken, I remember vividly the shameless old man known as Nadduli demanding then that Obote’s casket be not passed through Luweero on the way to his final resting place in Akokoro in Apac.
What has now fundamentally changed, though I don’t support this kind of nonsense, for Nadduli to remember that it is wrong and shameful to chant over death?
Yet, the chairman of his party, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who had overthrown the dead man, incidentally, had now credibly counselled that there was a time to hate and a time to forget.
The present NRM itself hit the town in 1986 complete with the culture of chanting over the dead. It went on to shockingly skill Ugandans including the little boys and girls into the culture of dancing over dead bodies.
Don’t argue and listen. Upon the advent of Nadduli and company in 1986, people would be arrested suspected of being rebels.
The suspects would now be swiftly tried by the kangaroo courts there on the roadsides or wherever else the mobs would choose.
Meantime, some among the mob would be collecting firewood and old tyres. Using the firewood and tyres, they would prepare a bonfire as if they were now going to roast a goat.
After that, they would go ahead and tie up the suspect and throw him in the hell of fire.
Down they would now sit there to watch on while indulging themselves in violently laughing, giggling as well as cheering. As another human being was now screaming in utter pain and such untold torture.
If not tortured in that gory manner above, then the mob many times supervised by the new rebels in town, would tie the suspect kandoya(three-piece style) and leave him alone there to writhe in pain till he could finally breathe his last.
We got to learn later that such had been the new government’s leaders’ preferred form of the court system and punishment for enemies whilst they were still fighting in the jungles of Luweero and elsewhere.
There had been in the past a saying which gained currency. It went, ‘Ensi Egula Mirambo’. The same would loosely translate to,’ The Earth is paid for by blood’.
This one has been reinvented and gained more currency during the current regime. Each time, people suspected of being opponents of the regime ended up killed, some of the top leaders would now come out and replay the adage.
Sometime in the past a big security officer known as David Tinyefuza now Sejusa controversially locked up fellow human beings in a train wagon in Mukura-Teso.
As if that wasn’t cruel enough, the former bush war hero would set the wagon on fire thus subjecting the objects of this inhuman treatment to a slow and painful death.
No one in this government would it incumbent upon him or her to subject the high-ranking military offer to any kind of prosecution or reprimand.
Now I think you can see why Ugandans have gradually learned to celebrate the death of certain characters of people much as that is certainly cruel and unexpected for civilised people.
Yet this is why I highly backed Gen Severino Kahinda Otafiire when he said we should leave the people dancing over Gen Elly Tumwine’s dead body to their follies and stupidity.