The latest leaked photo of the frail Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi betrays the silence with which the responsible palace officials have been handling the king’s health. The picture – supposing the same had not been merely photoshopped, must have made a disquieting watching for many a Kabaka’s subject, friends and well-wisher. Such a picture would end up leaving yours truly devoid of any taste in his buds.
Let me explain. The picture depicts a frighteningly frail as well as physically leaner Kabaka. The sight of the usually burbly and jolly Kabaka uncharacteristically sporting an obviously oversized suit for his evidently frail figure, spoilt beyond words yours truly day. Add to this sorry bodily state, the sunken eyes of the king as depicted by the picture, to understand the kind of misfortune which would be cast on yours truly on looking at the revolting picture.
While the photo depicts the king to be speaking, what he is doing cannot be realistically described as such. What is true is that the king was either forcing himself or being forced to speak, going by his quite unmistakable ill-health. The visible pain which is clearly attested to by his twisted eyes, would give away the fact that the Kabaka was at the time of taking the photo, not OK health wise. Such unappetizing picture is said to have been captured as the Kabaka launched this year’s edition of Bulungibwansi campaign (community service).
The bad physical state of the Kabaka as reflected by the foregoing picture would seem to corroborate the recent concern by his former minister, Dr Robert Ssebunnya that he (Kabaka) is seriously ill. Serving as the President Museveni’s aide currently, following his reshuffle as Kabaka’s health minister, Dr Ssebunnya lampooned the Kabaka’s handlers’ insistence on guardedly keeping the King’s bad state of health out of the public knowledge.
Another equally concerned minister, Dr Sam Mayanja divulged how out of concern, the President was forced in the past to resort to spies to keep him abreast of the Kabaka’s ill-health. After being informed by such spies of the king’s grave illness, Mayanja said, the President tricked the Kabaka into a make-up meeting and used the same to immediately arrange for his medication abroad. Though not so much is known about the nature of what is afflicting the Kabaka, intel coming through indicates how he could be suffering from a health condition known as allergy.
Allergy is an ailment where the victim’s immune system reacts hyper-sensitively to a certain category of things such as drinks, food, odor, environ and weather. The ailment is characterized, among other irritating inconveniences, by lack of sleep which would usually lead to disquietingly general body and mental weakness. We also know that the king has been in and out of hospital particularly in Germany, to receive the required specialized treatment.
On account of this illness, Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga has been turned into a punching bag by the critics accusing him of hiding his master’s bad health. Mayiga has been trying to deflate such criticism by stating that Kabaka’s health is an issue between him and his specialist doctors. “The king has the benefit of doctors here and abroad. Those doctors are highly specialized. They know what to do. They (the specialized people) must be given an opportunity and left alone to do what they know how to do,” Mayiga counsels. One familiar about these matters can understand where Mayiga is speaking from as well as coming from, as he tries to make himself loud and clear about what is going on.
Being a well-polished lawyer, Mayiga knows quite well that matters of health are strictly private and which one cannot therefore dare divulge, nor comment about except with the prior knowledge, consent and approval of the patient themselves.
Being the most high-ranking Buganda kingdom official after the Kabaka, who also in Buganda’s norms and cultures, is in a way the technical Kabaka, Mayiga must have sworn an oath of secrecy prior to taking up the post. The same oath would ideally bar the Katikkiro from not only divulging the King’s core private issues, but to also not publicly discuss such. Such core issues would no doubt include the health of the Kabaka. Yet the common belief here in Uganda is that leaders being public figures, should be stripped of the right to privacy. And as such, their own private issues including illness, accordingly, be made fodder for public consumption as well as debate.
A senior lawyer and law Don at that, Dr Sam Mayanja as if speaking outside of the known legal parameters, is of the unapologetic view that the Kabaka’s ill-health must be publicly declared, for the interest of his subjects, fellow leaders, friends, well-wishers and perhaps, naysayers. Yet, much as he states so, it’s highly doubtful if Mayanja would demand the same, were his boss, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni find himself in the same health predicament in which the Kabaka himself happens to be stuck in currently.
While Dr Mayanja is a sworn opponent of the Buganda monarch and whatever he stands for, he is nonetheless of the firm view that those hiding Kabaka’s sickness are guilty of endangering his life. He accuses the Kabaka’s handlers of keeping the President uninformed of the bad health condition of the king to the extent that he had to use his own intelligence in the past to understand what was going on and upon learning so, he acted accordingly. For that reason, Mayanja strongly calls for harsh punitive measures against those doing so must to endangering Kabaka`s life.
- Mr. Stephen Kasozi Muwambi is a seasoned crime investigative writer, majoring in judicial-based stories. His two decades’ experience as a senior investigative journalist has made him one of the best to reckon on in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected]
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