Family Divided Over Burial of Masaka Ex-Mayor

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In short
There is still uncertainty over the burial of former Masaka mayor, John Tebyasa Matovu, as family members bicker over when and where the veteran politician should be buried.

There is still uncertainty over the burial of former Masaka mayor, John Tebyasa Matovu, as family members bicker over when and where the veteran politician should be buried.
Matovu died on December 31 after suffering from an infection in the chest. He was 83.
At the time of his death Matovu, a longtime Democratic Party politician who served as mayor of Masaka until 2009, had been taken to his Lungujja home in Kampala by his elder children and his former wife, Nalongo Gertrude Matovu.
One of his sons, Dr Joseph Wasswa Matovu, took him to Kampala for medical attention after he declared of unsound mind. In 2009, Matovu stepped down as mayor after he was declared of unsound mind.
Until his death, Matovu was living in Lungujja.
However, other children from his second wife, Adronia Nyindombi, accuse Dr Joseph Wasswa Matovu of keeping them out of the burial programme. They also claim that the body of their father is nowhere to be seen. They claim that it is neither at his home in Lungujja, Mulago Hospital, nor at any known funeral homes.
Nyindombi says she is bitter that her children cannot see the remains of their father. "We expected his body to be brought here at his Agrippa home on Monday but Dr Wasswa has decided to hide it from us," Nyindombi tells Uganda Radio Network.
She adds that they are currently stuck because Dr Wasswa plans to bury the veteran politician in Lungujja, Kampala. "This is crazy, how can you bury a very important person like my husband in the city," she asks.
Joseph Ssengoza, Tebyasa Matovu's close friend says Dr. Wasswa wants to bury his father in Lungujja to cement his quest to grab the family assets. He adds that in his Will, Matovu had declared that he will be buried at his ancestral home in Kalisizo where his parents were buried.
Ssengoza says they they plan to hold a crisis meeting today to come up with the final burial arrangements.
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Iin a telephone interview, Dr Wasswa confirmed that Tebyasa Matovu will be buried in Lunguja. He explained that the veteran politician had declared in his Will that he would be buried in his Namasuba Estate but because of the dispute over ownership of the Estate, they have agreed as children to bury him in Lungujja.
Dr Wasswa has described his stem mother Adronia Nyindombi and his daughters as thieves who could not dictate anything.
Asked about the whereabouts of the body, Dr Wasswa responded that it is kept secretly until the day of his burial which is not yet decided. He also disputed the burial arrangements released by Democratic Party as forgery.
The Democratic Party had released a tentative burial programme for Matovu with a special requiem mass at Blessed Sacrament Kimanya Church in Masaka on Thursday and then a special sitting of Masaka Municipal Council later in the afternoon.
But Wasswa says they have never sat and drafted that programme as a family.
Godfrey Kayemba Afaayo, the Masaka Mayor says they are in negotiations with the family to release the body for Council to pay last respects for him. Kayemba, who worked Matovu as his secretary between 1996 and 2001, describes him as a generous person.
Kayemba says because Masaka Municipality was very poor to hold council meetings, he would finance the sittings and pay allowances to councillors and technocrats. He says he did this for several sittings.
According to Kayemba, with such generosity, Masaka municipal council would really love to sit and eulogise him.
Dennis Lukanga Majwaala, the Katwe-Butego Division chairman who worked with Tebyasa Matovu as speaker of Masaka municipal council, describes him as incorruptible. He says the former mayor had stopped allocation of public spaces such as the bus park, Golf Course and the Main Hall.
He however says that after leaving council, the following Mayor and his council approved the allocation of these assets to private developers.
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John Tebyasa Matovu served as Masaka Mayor between 1996 and 2009 when he was declared of unsound mind. He had previously served as a deputy mayor for eight years. He is one of the biggest property owners in Masaka region. He owns most of the buildings in Kalisizo town council. He is also the biggest land owner in Kyotera district.


About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.