By: Ismael Kasooha
President Yoweri Museveni has mourned the passing away of Lay Canon James Rweteega of Kazo District and described him as a person who loved and treasured his culture.
“I received the news of the death of Mzee James Rweteega, with great sadness. On behalf of the Government of Uganda and on my own behalf, I wish to convey my most heartfelt and sincere condolences to his family, the Bariisa Clan and all the people of Kazo,” the message read in part.
The president’s message was delivered by the Prime Minister of Uganda, Robinah Nabbanja at the burial of the 96-year-old Rweteega, a former presidential advisor, in Kamugongo village, Kazo Town Council Kazo District.
Museveni said that Mzee Rweteega will be remembered as a gallant son of Uganda who loved and treasured his culture.
“Our Bantu dialects and other African languages are richer than the European languages. Unfortunately, most of these dialects were not written down. With limited writing and with our elders dying, I get very worried that we may lose these languages. I, together with some Linguists from Makerere University, decided to write a Thesaurus of Runyankore-Rukiga (Katondozi y’Orunyankore-Rukiga),” said Museveni.
The president described Mzee Rweteega as a great source of information in the writing of Runyankore/Rukiga Dictionary.
“We shall forever be grateful! Our mother tongues have a potential great future, if we could get more linguistic patriots to sensitize the population about the importance of our rich and robust cultures,” said Museveni.
Museveni said that Mzee Rweteega had a sharp mind and great intellect he found him very resourceful and whenever he wanted to know anything, he consulted him on several occasions, about different topics because he was knowledgeable.
“His death leaves behind a big vacuum that will be hard to fill. He was a person of enormous influence. We will miss him!” added Museveni.
The president thanked the wife of Mzee Rweteega, Mrs. Betty Rweteega, for being a woman of valour and for giving her husband support and for raising good children.
Engineer John Nassasira, the former Minister for Works and Transport thanked president Museveni for remembering historicals and supporting them.
“We thank president Museveni for unifying the different groups of people in this country, especially those who could not sit at the same table and discuss. The country is now one and united,” said Nassasira.
A number of mourners including relatives of the deceased described Mzee Rweteega as a man who loved all mankind and also was an advisor to all.
Betty Rweteega, the wife of the deceased, thanked president Museveni for keeping in touch with the family and for the support extended to them.
“When my husband breathed his last, the president called me on phone inquiring what had happened. He has indeed taken care of us and may you deliver our heartfelt appreciation to him,” said Betty.
John Mubangizi, retired Bishop of North Ankore Diocese asked the mourners never to be desperate in life but rather accept Jesus Christ.
“Never accept to be desperate in your life otherwise you will commit many sins in such situations. Some people are drunkards because of despair, others are taking marijuana while others are practicing homosexuality because they have no hope,” said Mubangizi.
He asked people to accept Jesus Christ as their savior and all their problems shall be addressed.
Mzee Rweteega instructed not to be buried in any concrete or tiled grave but rather buy a very good casket and place it directly in the soil.
He also told his people that they should never lay any wreath on his casket and whoever had turned up with a wreath was not allowed to lay it.
He is survived by a widow, children and grandchildren.
May Mzee Rweteega’s Soul Rest in Peace.