By Fred Kiva
PARLIAMENT. The law only allows for serving Members of Parliament and Ministers to be accorded state burial, Parliament explains as Buhaguzi leaders push for departed former MP Tom Kyahurwenda Abwooli’s state funeral.
The two time Member of Parliament died on Monday morning at Nsambya Hospital after succumbing to multiple organ failure. Following his death, the current Area MP Daniel Muheirwe and other area leaders have been pushing for him to be accorded a state burial for hid contribution as a national leader.
However, in an interview with Kampala Post, Chris Obore the Director of Communications at Parliament said the law doesn’t provide for former legislators to be accorded state burial.
“The law only provides for serving MPs and Ministers, the rest it’s the decision of the executive,” Obore said, adding that a former legislator can be brought in Parliament if the Prime Minister decides so, basing on the deceased’s contribution to the country.
Obore said unless the law is amended, the executive reserves the prerogative on who is granted state burial or not.
Kyahurwenda, aged 60 was member of the 7th and 8th Parliament before losing his seat in 2011.The departed politician once served as Health Inspector Hoima District, Member of Hoima District Council and District NRM Vice Chairman, a position he held from 2001-2011.
At the time of his death, he was the Chairman Buhaguzi Elders Forum. Current Buhaguzi Member of Parliament Daniel Muheirwe says such a contribution deserved state recognition. Muheirwe also eulogizes the deceased for being a unifying factor between the natives and the non-natives (Bafuruki) in the area.
“I really feel cheated, an MP for ten years, NRM Chairperson, Health Inspector and a unifying factor, the only thing government should have done for such a person is give him state burial,” Muheirwe said.
The same sentiments are shared by Kyahurwenda’s successor Julius Bigirwa Junjura.
“I can’t believe Hon Kyahurwenda having served the National Assembly twice, NRM Chair Hoima, district councilor Kabwoya etc can be buried without an official government burial arrangement!” he noted.
According to the program shared by Ignatius Besisira, former MP Buyaga Constituency who is privy to the burial arrangements, the body left Kampala for the deceased’s home in Kisindi, Kabwoya Sub County on Tuesday morning.
At midday mass will be held at the deceased’s home up to 2pm. This will be followed by a night vigil. Burial will be on Wednesday afternoon.