King Kigeli V burial set for Sunday

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Pastor Ezra Mpyisi and Kigeli V's family addressing the media in Kigali yesterday on the monarch's burial arrangements. (Sam Ngendahimana)

King Kigeli V, Jean Baptiste Ndahindurwa, will be laid to rest in Nyanza District on Sunday.

The announcement was made Wednesday by members of the late monarch’s family, two days after his body was repatriated from the United States.

He died October 16, 2016 in the state of Virginia.

Speaking on behalf of the bereaved family, Pastor Ezra Mpyisi, a former close aide and senior adviser to the King, told reporters that after consultations, a decision was made that the king be buried next to his late brother, King Mutara III Rudahigwa.

“We have all agreed that his remains cannot be buried in a public cemetery or anywhere else, it is even more meaningful that he is laid to rest where he was both anointed and crowned as a King,” Mpyisi said.

On the other hand, mourners who would like to join the bereaved family, according to Mpyisi, are welcome both at the royal court in Nyanza and in Gacuriro Estate where the vigil is being kept, before other arrangements are made public by family members.

Pastor Mpyisi further dismissed reports that an heir to the throne had been named.

Early this week, there were reports that a certain Emmanuel Bushaija had been identified as the replacement to the throne.

“How can a group of two people appoint a King? To represent whose interests? The King should be for Rwandans and is by all means chosen and graced by Rwandans,” Mpyisi said, adding that those who named the Bushaija did so without following monarchial succession procedures and in disregard to traditional norms.

Mpyisi told the media that the family is yet to decide on the succession process adding that, if it happens, the process will be open to the public.

After the King’s death, there have been disagreements between family members with one side pushing for his repatriation while others wanted him buried abroad.

The matter ended up in a US court, which ruled last week for his repatriation back home.

He will be buried in the Southern Province district of Nyanza. The district is  88 km south of Kigali and is the former residence of King Mutara III Rudahigwa and the Royal Palace which has since been transformed to a museum.  

Jean Baptise Ndahindurwa (Kigeli V) was a son Yuhi Musinga a former Rwandan King, he was born in 1936 in the current Rusizi district and he was a brother to the late Mutara Rudahigwa, another Rwandan King whose monarchy ended in 1959 after his death.

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