Bob Kasango’s body belongs in Fort Portal, Not Tororo – Court
Lawyer Bob Kasango’s mortal remains will be buried in Fort Portal, Kabarole district, and not his birthplace in Tororo, the High Court has ruled Friday, bringing an end to a three week impasse over what his final resting place should be.
Judge Lydia Mugambe handed down the decision in a case filed by Kasango’s widow Nice Bitarabeho against the lawyer’s mother Rose Kabise Eseza seeking authority to bury her husband at their family home in Fort Portal.
Bob Kasango, succumbed to heart failure last month in Luzira prison where he had been serving a 16- year jail term for theft of 15.4 Billion in Pensioners’ money and has been embalmed at A- Plus Funeral home in Kampala since March 3rd owing to family animosity over his burial ground.
His wife, claimed he should be buried in Fort Portal because at the time of his death Bob Kasango had denounced any cultural ties with his family in Tororo and indicated he be buried in Fort Portal.
On the other hand, his mother claimed he should be buried in Tororo, his birth place as per the luo and Japadhola customs which apparently bound his late father Mr. Livingstone Richard Kasimo, who along with his mother migrated from Busoga to Tororo and cherished luo custom.
Justice Lydia Mugambe could not find any basis for an order to bury Bob Kasango in Tororo, largely due to his tattered patrilineal ancestry, which is key in the determination of burial grounds.
” One one occasion he got so emotional and went off to the bedroom when [ his] wife asked him about it,” The learned Judge said.
Although he was born to Mr. Livingstone Richard Kasimo who had migrated from Busoga to Tororo and later to Bulemezi in Buganda, a one Sam Okello – the husband to Kasango’s mother’s sister was presented on his wedding in 2000 as his father.
A witness told Justice Mugambe that he believed one Okumu Bonventure – Kasango’s mother’s late husband, was the lawyer’s father. But the Judge did not believe him because he had never met him.
” If the deceased’s mother is believed, in the patriarchal context of culture, then the deceased should be buried in Busoga or Bulemezi where his patriarchal ancestors originated or migrated to or were buried.” Justice Lydia Mugambe ruled.
” It follows therefore that if the deceased’s biological father, a one Kasimo, was a musoga, then there is no justification for the respondent [ Kasango’s mother] to impose the Japadhola culture on the deceased or his family.
” I am inclined to find that the respondent had no patrilineal and consequently no cultural ties in Tororo or the Japadhola tribe, Accordingly, the Japadhola culture doesn’t apply to the deceased, his wife or children”
The learned Judge further considered the best interests of Kasango’s three orphans as children. She reasoned it was in their best interest that their father is buried in Fort Portal, a place they have known and regarded as home.
” It is easy to discern from this case that while the deceased can safely be buried in Tororo or Fort Portal, the deceased’s children have almost only their mother to look up to for their welfare. They have not bonded with the Tororo relatives. As a nucleus family, they are uncomfortable with the burial of the deceased in Tororo where they have never been.
” However, they are comfortable and at peace with the burial on their family land in Fort Portal which they know as intended to be their family burial grounds. It is also in the best interest of the children that the deceased is buried as soon as possible to avert psychological torture they continue to suffer from the prevailing impasse”
Justice Lydia Mugambe took a swipe at Bob Kasango’s mother accusing her of failing to ‘impress Japadhola culture’ on her son.
Court heard that Kasango and his mother had a remarkably unusual bitter relationship and that the fallen lawyer never invited her to his home or introduce her to his wife.
” In circumstances where the mother did not satisfactorily demonstrate she had a good relationship with the deceased, was never introduced to the applicant ( Kasango’s wife) by the deceased as his mother – the [ wife] only getting a sense that the respondent was the deceased’s mother seven years into their marriage, the non recognition or introduction of the respondent ( Kasango’s mother) as the deceased’s mother at the deceased’s wedding, the respondent visiting of the deceased’s home only at the invitation of [ Kasango’s wife];
” It is difficult to fathom why the respondent comes up to fight for the burial of the deceased in Tororo under Japadhola culture” Justice Mugambe said.
Bob Kasango will thus be buried on his land in Gweri village, Burahya county, Fort Portal city in Kabarole district within the next four days, according to the Court decision and the Uganda Police and Local authorities have been directed to ensure the burial is conducted decently.
Bob Kasango’s Tororo relatives are allowed to attend the burial but they will not, Daily Monitor reported.