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Page last updated at 12:52 GMT, Monday, 8 September 2008 13:52 UK

Ugandan king given state funeral

Henry Wako Muloki
Henry Wako Muloki was described as popular in Busoga

Uganda is holding a public holiday for the burial of one of the country's traditional kings, who died last week of throat cancer aged 87.

Henry Wako Muloki ruled over Busoga, one of Uganda's five kingdoms.

Journalist Robert Ilukol told the BBC that people in the Ugandan town of Jinja were in a sombre mood ahead of the late king's state funeral.

Locals described the king as a man who talked to young and old, and the most unifying factor in the region, he said.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was among those attending the state funeral near Busoga's main town, Jinja.

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His government has agreed to meet all the costs of the funeral. Correspondents say the Busoga region has generally supported Mr Museveni in recent elections.

Golooba Mutebi of the Makerere University's Institute of Social Research said the president's role should be seen in the context of Busoga's potential importance in 2011 elections, when Mr Museveni is expected to stand for another term.

The president's show of support for traditional institutions was "politicking at its best", he said.

In the 1980s, the king helped mobilise his people to block fighters loyal to rebel priestess Alice Lakwena from marching on the capital, Kampala.

On Sunday, a five-hour requiem service was held for the deceased king in Jinja, the New Vision newspaper reported.


SEE ALSO
Country profile: Uganda
15 Apr 08 |  Country profiles

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