The apology to the Kabaka by the Newvision boss, Robert Kabushenga, was a good step but they should not have followed it with publication of another picture of a woman who they claim to be the mother of prince Richard Semakokilo. It sends out a bad message to the one you are apologising to. Newvision was once again giving the ‘two fingers’ to the Mengo administration. They should have learned from that ‘Kutesa-Kabaka- land tittle’ story some years ago.

Yes, Newvision might have made millions out of this story, probably more than shs.500 Mrs Barbara Patience Kirabo is demanding from them, but they should not have rubbed salt in the wounds again by publishing another picture they aren’t sure of. Now, what if Mengo embarasses them and produces a different picture of the mother of prince Ssemakokilo? Will they apologise again or what?

Click for Full Size Barbara Patience Kirabo, the lady whose photograph appeared in the state-owned Newspaper – The New Vision and its sister publication vernacular daily Bukedde on Wednesday as the mother of the Kabaka’s new son, Prince Richard Ssemakookiro

Newspaper columnists have the right to express whatever opinion they want, but they do not have the right to disseminate inaccuracies, distortions or fabrications and present them as facts. The way Newvision wrote their apology was like as if they have got some beef to settle with Kabaka, and i think this is what is hurting some Baganda.

I had avoided commenting on Prince Richard Semakokilo’s story ever since it was broken on the Ugandans At Heart(UAH) forum because of the mistakes that have so far been committed by both Mengo and the state. The story reminds of the day my daughter asked me if I was ‘uncle dad’ not ‘dad.

The world is laughing at us not because we have a king who cheated on his wife and never lied about it but it’s because we have made a great deal about it yet we have a lot of problems in our country. Please let’s cut the Kabaka some slack.

Yes! Kabaka has fathered a kid out of the wedlock. So are many other rich, poor and famous Ugandans. What I’m trying to figure out is don’t we have other issues to handle in Kampala other than Kabaka’s private life?? There are ‘snake-filled’ hospitals and corrupt government officers running rampant within the State House and all we are talking about is whether what Kabaka did was Christian or not. We should not really give a damn about where a traditional leader sticks his pecker because it’s so likely that the majority of kings in Uganda have boinked someone other than their wife while in office. This has only become media-worthy since the people in power figured out that it could take their bad headlines out of the media for a while. The Kabaka’s mistress story or whatever one wants to call it, is meant to bury the bad headlines for a while but I don’t think it’s gonna work.

Speaking of the bible and polygamy, I think, in the Old Testament, God had no problem with polygamy; the Bible does not prohibit it, and some of God’s favourite and most-beloved kings had wives by the dozens or even hundreds! For instance, King Solomon is said to have had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). Also, King David is said to have had many wives and concubines (2 Samuel 5:13). In Exodus 21:10, a man can marry an infinite amount of women without any limits to how many he can marry.

Click for Full Size Another picture produced by Newvision as the mother of the prince

With King Solomon, he loved many foreign women. For example, he married the daughter of Pharaoh, and Moabite, Ammonite, E’domite, Sido’nian, and Hittite women. So, Kabaka Mutebi can marry in any tribe outside Buganda if he fancy doing it. It’s indeed not very pragmatic to weaken the Kabakaship over something so trivial.

Marriages in Western culture are based on monogamy and high-pair-bonding and this is something some Africans have come to appreciate. As a result, compatibility, age difference and long-term attractiveness is a matter of consideration before people get married. But I think this is not something Kabaka Mutebi had in mind when he went for the mother of Prince Richard Semakokilo.

In other words, he went with the universal view that other things are more important than wealth, age and status, because he(Kabaka) has got all the means to marry a woman whom he does not need to hide away from the media especially after having a son with her. There are a lot of families with ‘status’ that would have been willing to offer their daughters( young or old) to the Kabaka for anything, but may be he is silently trying to redefine ‘statuses. Today’s warped view of ?status? is entirely dependent on wealth but let’s face it, majority of the highest ?status? men and women in Uganda are arguably criminals, and most of them are hypocrites. You bring them near you, they can destroy you. So, why would a leader who is arguably ‘enemies’ with the state wish to marry from such influential families in Uganda at the moment?

Historically, marriage was a business arrangement. The bride was a commodity, her dowry a deal sweetener. And the groom was likely to be an unwitting pawn in an economic alliance between two families. For example, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) married his daughter to his cousin, Ali, to cement the friendship between families. Then two of his caliphs, Othman and Omar offered their daughters to him to also cement their friendship with the prophet. There was no paperwork, no possibility of divorce, and more often than not- no romance. But there was work to be done: procreation, the rearing of children and the enforcement of a contract that allowed for the orderly transfer of wealth and the cycle of arranged matrimony to continue.

Similarly, the birth of Prince Semakokilo should be looked at in that spectrum and we put this issue to bed. Marriage as some Ugandans know it today didn’t exist 90 years ago. I think the Kabaka is trying to balance the seesaw here (as we used to call it in my little physics at Kibuli.S.S). He could have ?married? another woman but he did not do so presumably because he did not wish to upset the church; he could have got another lady from an influential family but he decided to tap into the working class (‘commoners’) to balance things up. Buganda needed another prince and he found a way to offer it. End of story!

Now, he needs to man up and take that extra step as a social and cultural revolutionary, and tell the world the mother of his newlyborn son. He has not done anything wrong in the eyes of the law. The moment he introduced the prince to the media, more questions were definitely going to be asked, and the most important of all questions is:” who is the mother to the prince?’ Let Mengo come out with it and shut up the people that are making a great deal out of it. It does not matter whether the mother is of higher status or not as long as the Kabaka did whatever he did for the right reasons.The truth is that Mengo made some mistakes in the way they handled this issue, but I don’t intend to discuss their mistakes in a public forum out of respect and love for my Kabaka.

Nze bwendaba

By: Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba.

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