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Abiriga funeral: Lugbara natives say chaos is normal

Chaos started from Arua airstrip 

Many Ugandans were left in shock at the sight of chaotic scenes and destruction that broke out at the country home of slain Arua municipality legislator Ibrahim Abiriga.

It all started when hundred of mourners who had surrounded Arua airfield awaiting the arrival of late Arua municipality Ibrahim Abiriga's body overpowered security and poured unto the airfield. 
The body of late Abiriga and his brother Saidi Buga Congo touched down in Arua from Kololo airstrip at around 4.40p.m. But no sooner had the two bodies been removed from the chopper than the mourners who were watching from the western side of the airfield poured into the airfield weeping, wailing and shouting - blaming government for Abiriga's death.
MPs Mario Obiga Kania, Ismail Ogama, the wife of late Abiriga and some of his younger children all burst into tears as the crowd started wailing unstoppably. Many mourners shouted and wailed loudly blaming government for the death of Abiriga. They also demanded that the security personnel leave them to mourn their dear ones.
Meanwhile, several women fainted and collapsed on the ground as the crowd became uncontrollably, overwhelming the Red Cross team that had staged a first aid camp at the airport. Groups of youth overpowered security, forcibly opened the ambulances and seized the two caskets.  
At his home, mourners destroyed several property including chairs, tents, A-Plus hearse among others.  To the uninitiated, funerals among the Lugbara, the indigenous people of Arua, is culturally a chaotic and destructive affair.
Like in literally all societies, death is always not expected and mysterious, and to the Lugbara death, of any nature draws a lot of questions, anger and fury.

Although Abiriga is not a Lugbara but a Madi-Okollo, he represented a mainly Lugbara people of Arua municipality. The Lugbara and Madi-Okollo are also culturally and linguistically similar, all belonging to the Sudanic stock.

Joel Chakua, a Lugbara and graduate teacher, says the chaos at Abiriga's funeral "looks strange and a surprise but originally that's how people mourned in our culture, however natural the death was".

Chakua adds that in Abiriga's case  "the violence should even be worse", because of the emotive and high profile nature.

According to Chakua, head of Entebbe Adult Education Centre and now in his mid 40s, during his childhood "all funerals were chaotic and destructive", concluding that once they have vented their anger "it will cool down!"

Aldo Candia, another Lugbara, says such chaotic scenes at a funeral, like Abiriga's, is "true and normal". Candia says "in our culture that (chaos) is normal but others see it unique".

Being cultural, its likely the local organisers took that in stride, but never imagined the magnitude. Chakua says in Lugbra culture, especially in the olden days, "granaries would be pulled down, crops destroyed in the garden, and so forth, as a sign of outpouring of grief".

In Abiriga's case, explains Chakua, "the violence should even be worse, we should be seeing bows and arrows".

According to Chakua, if the security forces are not informed of this cultural aspect, they may overreact, and as he puts it, "this will make matters worse".


+5 #1 Juma Kato 2018-06-10 23:42
"we should see bows and arrows " !!!

Museveni should be welcome to this normal chaos

Maybe the Lugbara can save Uganda .
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+3 #2 Timbay 2018-06-11 04:53
These are people born after 1986,like the police and other security agencies who takes the blame for there impunity?

Are we going to hear the same Blah, blah, blah…….
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0 #3 jackson m, 2018-06-11 11:12
sorry for the death of Abriga and all other ugandans who die in cold blood. am requesting all ugandans to ask presedent Museveni to resign.

we appreciate his early days performance in as far as security is concerned. to day things are different.

its beyound his control, he might not feel it, but those who lose their dear ones are feel it indeed. museven should be kind to ugandans and real resign.
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+2 #4 Eric Obi 2018-06-11 13:38
Quoting Juma Kato:
"we should see bows and arrows " !!!

Museveni should be welcome to this normal chaos

Maybe the Lugbara can save Uganda .

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0 #5 Candia Geoffrey 2018-06-11 14:08
The so-called choas was not real choas to any indigenous Lugbara, culturally, it was a way natural mechanism of relieving pain, anger, motion and mourning the dead (their dear one), except the organizing committees over sighted or didn't put things into the real cultural perspective in the interest of state affairs.

I see no problem with yesterday's situation. However, it should act as a lesson to understand and appreciate culture diversity in this country for co-existence.

Never, ignore the facts of culture and the state shouldn't impose on the cultural dignity. To me such cultural sediments should be studied and reframed tourism resource in this country instead of condemning or demonizing it.
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0 #6 Musamali Isaac 2018-06-11 15:17
Abiriga's and Buga's senseless deaths are indeed very sad and extremely unfortunate.

At least he is receiving a decent burial. Future generations will be able to visit his resting place and pay tribute.

Gone are the days, when Ugandans were murdered and their graves have never been seen.
RIP Abiriga. RIP Buga.
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+2 #7 miki 2018-06-11 17:33
Would Mr. Isaac Musamali or his loved ones rather be murdered today as long as he will have a decent burial and a grave to be visited by future generations??

This kind of argument is callous at best. Just like President Museveni's interpretations of them. "We can't catch the murderers and other criminals because we have been building roads and power dams. The criminals succeed because there now many cars and many boda bodas …. blah blah .. blah".

Dams and roads are for the living. Mr.. Museveni doesn't get it.

No Ugandan will trade his/her life or that of a loved one so that Uganda gets an extra mile of tarmac or another power dam. Just like no Uganda would be happy because of the prospect of glorious grave when murdered.
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