There are mixed reactions after some ‘Baganda,’ the Buganda king’s subjects, have blasted UNAIDS Executive Director and opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye’s wife Winnie Byanyima for ‘refusing’ to kneel before Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II.
Staunch and loyal Kabaka Mutebi’s subjects have described a photo showing Byanyima greeting the Kabaka while standing as “painful to watch.”
In her capacity as the UNAIDS Executive Director, Byanyima was in company of the Kabaka on June 02 and June 03.
On June 02, Byanyima was at Mengo ahead of today’s Kabaka Run to which the UNAIDS Executive Director returned to participate.
Byanyima saluted the Kabaka for championing an HIV/AIDS prevention campaign to rally men to actively participate in efforts to fight the disease.
“It was a great honour to meet HRH the Kabaka of Buganda today. As UNAIDS Africa Goodwill Ambassador, HRH Kabaka Ronald Mutebi II has led a five-year male engagement HIV campaign, “Abaami Munyenye” that has yielded remarkable results in Buganda region,” wrote Byanyima.
“Thank you Your Royal Highness Kabaka of Buganda for the meeting we had today. Under your leadership & thru your messages to men & boys, Buganda has made remarkable progress against AIDS in the last 5 years. Thank you for being a @UNAIDS Africa Goodwill Ambassador.”
But some people were concerned that as most women do, Byanyima should have knelt before the Kabaka to show him respect.
“The likes of you ladies you’re the reason as to why Africa has lost her origin.. in your very words you see kneeling like a humiliating gesture…you were simply trying to show your stand on how you per take kneeling. Don’t explain your stand cause it’s known.” — Brian Tamale @Tamale4Brian
The question is y didn’t u kneel down while greeting him ? If u admire our culture as you say you would have done what was supposed to be done cox if pipo like chief justice did it who a u to insist? — Esther nankinga @EstherNankinga
Next time learn the code of conduct of a woman b4 the Kabaka before meeting him, it’s not about status or money or fame, its a tradition and it’s very sensitive. — Ben Kasumba @BenKasumba4
When in Rome, do as the Romans, you didn’t show respect and this isn’t an argument of gender, even men take the bow. — Jesse Sakira @JesseSakira
But other people in the social media debates said they saw nothing wrong with Byanyima’s handshake.
The Kabaka was glad to receive a colleague with whom they are working in UNAIDS. In western Uganda, they hug and in Central they kneel… And in Acholi they… while in Bunyoro they… so pls stop trivialities. Imagine in covid tyms they only waved… did you mind? Tuveeko. — Mutaasa Humphrey-Insights @mutaasah1
Our king wasn’t offended so it’s okay, in Buganda the king chooses how he hosts and welcomes his guests you’re not the first or the last to be received like this. The criticism here z as a result of limited understanding of our traditions…the kingdom z over 700yrs old 4 sakes! — Kiguli Jorge @JorgeKiguli
You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. Those who think you did wrong should are just mentally unstable. — John Linonn Sengendo @EltonKibuuka
On her part, Byanyima said: “I showed HRH The Kabaka of Buganda full respect and expressed my admiration for Buganda and its culture and traditions.”