President Museveni has described Rwenzururu Queen Mother, Christine Biira who died Tuesday as ‘a key champion of peace and unity in the Rwenzori region.’
“I got the sad news of the death of the Rwenzururu Queen Mother, Christine Biira, at Kilembe Hospital. Coming from the Basiita clan, she was my sister. She has been a key champion of peace and unity in the Rwenzori region. The country will miss her. May her soul rest in peace,” Mr Museveni tweeted on Wednesday.
Biira passed on yesterday morning at the age of 85.
She is the mother of Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere and Mr Christopher Kibanzanga, the State minister for Agriculture, among others.
Mr Kibanzanga, who also doubles as the chief prince of Rwenzururu Kingdom, told Daily Monitor in Kampala yesterday that their mother had been ill for the last six months.
“My mother died at around 10:30am from Kilembe Mines Hospital in Kasese. Her illness has taken more than six months. We treated her in so many hospitals in Kampala before she returned home. It is a sad moment for the royal family and the kingdom at large,” he said.
The Kilembe Mines Hospital administrator, Mr Onizimous Kibaya said the Queen Mother was admitted to the facility on May 28.
He could not immediately reveal the exact cause of death but said the hospital had been treating diabetes, high blood pressure and ulcers.
Mr Kibanzanga said the royal family and an organising committee set up in Kasese would announce the burial arrangements.
He said the body of the deceased was handed over to Uganda Funeral Services, which transported it to Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital for postmortem.
King Mumbere, who recently decried being held under house arrest despite being out on bail, was reportedly heartbroken following news of his mother’s death.
He could not be reached for a comment but sources close to him said Mumbere wants the government to allow him travel to Kasese to mourn by “at least seeing the body of his mother”. In Bakonzo culture, kings are not supposed to participate in burials but it is not clear whether they also see dead bodies.
The king who is facing charges of treason, terrorism and murder, among others, is restricted from visiting his kingdom following his arrest on November 26, 2016 during a Uganda People’s Defence Forces raid on Buhikira Royal Palace that left more than 100 people dead.
Mr Mumbere last met with his mother under highly restrictive security measures early February when she was admitted to Case Hospital in Kampala.
At that time, two of her toes had been removed.
President Museveni also had visited her there and had promised to cater for her medication abroad.
Later in March, her leg was amputated at Kilembe Mines Hospital, where family sources said, the remaining part was cut up to the thigh after failing to heal permanently. The first trouble was a wound caused by poorly cut nail, which failed to heal.
She is survived by seven children.