Gun salutes at burial of civilians worry Lango culture minister
Last Updated on: 2nd January 2023, 09:54 am
A number of high-profile Lango civilians who passed on in recent and past months and years have been honoured with gun salutes by the government. Not only that, they have been accorded official burials.
Traditionally, men and women in uniform (officers) with ranks would receive gun salutes during their burials. This trend is fast changing in Uganda to include high-ranking noncombatants in the government systems.
Speaking to TND News on January 1, 2023, Patrick Abal, the Awitong of Arakongoda clan who also doubles as the minister for culture and tourism at Lango Cultural Foundation says they are “concerned”.
Abal describes it as “a creeping culture where burials of civilians are accompanied with gun salutes”.
“There is a growing disquiet over this practice as it is contrary to Lango burial culture,” according to the culture minister.
“Gun salute has historically been associated with burying of soldiers and other security personnel, who understandably would have been using the gun in their daily work.”
In Lango, he says such a gun salute for deceased civilians will be construed to mean introducing the souls of the deceased to violence and could give rise to violent demons in the community.
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Without being specific, the culture minister alluded to some burials in the past that led to terrible violence in some communities.
The Arakongoda clan chief tells this digital publication that the deceased families are rarely consulted on whether to have a gun salute at these burials. He wants political and security leaders to respect the culture and traditions of communities in these matters.
“….deceased civilians deserve peaceful and prayerful burials, not the violent and traumatizing gun salutes,” according to him.