At Barbara Allimadi’s Funeral, Party Leader Muntu Urges Ugandans to fight Political Coronavirus

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Barbara Allimadi was all smiles last year when she completed her Masters degree from Makerere University. Now she belongs to the ancestors.
 
Ugandans can honor Barbara Allimadi’s legacy by fighting the country’s coronavirus of political dysfunction, the leader of her party said during her funeral service on Saturday.
 
Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, only limited participants were permitted. They all observed social distancing. The official numbers were restricted to 10 participants; yet, an estimated 200 people gathered in the outside perimeter of the Allimadi ancestral home. They were unable to resist the urge to bid farewell to Allimadi, who’s been referred to as a “lioness” in thousands of social media postings by her friends and supporters. She passed away on April 27.
 
Mugisha Muntu, national coordinator of the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT), told mourners that “Barbara dedicated her life to fighting for justice, fighting for freedom and rights of people to fairness.” Muntu added: “But we all need to know one thing as a Ugandan people. There is no way the political covid will end unless people who believe in justice, people who believe in transparency, people who believe in fairness, get into politics. There is no other way.”
 
Allimadi’s funeral service was in her family’s ancestral home in Bungatira, near the city of Gulu, in Uganda. Muntu told mourners that Ugandans would be better off if the same kind of effort that’s been put into fighting the Covid-19 coronavirus was applied to fighting the country’s “political covid.”
 
Even after the Covid-19 pandemic has come to an end, Ugandans will still have to deal with the country’s dysfunctional governance, Muntu said. Muntu said Barbara had joined ANT because she believed in the party’s philosophy of recruiting dedicated honest leadership to build from the grassroots with branches throughout the country. “Once we get good people who concentrate in politics then we can end the political covid that we see not only here in Uganda but on the African continent,” Muntu added.
 
“So the good men and women in this country, people who believe in fairness, people who believe in transparency, people who believe in justice, don’t stand by the side and complain when crooks run down governance,” Muntu said. “You stay out, it will remain the same. You come in, we can become part of the solution.”
 
Other senior ANT officials who attended the service were: Alice Alaso, Ambassador Edith Sempala, and David Bela. Others in attendance were member of parliament for Jinja East Municipality Paul Mwiru, Winnie Kizza, the former leader of opposition in parliament, and the current one, Betty Aol Ochan.
"One of the things that Barbara told me was that she had accepted Christ as her lord and savior," Alaso said, before she introduced Muntu. "That settles my tears. And I want to encourage you to know Christ as your lord and savior."
 
The funeral was presided over by Atiko Collins Mutu, the paramount leader of the Patiko community. The pastor who led the prayers was Rev. Francis Ocira. It was livestreamed over ANT’s Facebook page.
 
Allimadi gained national and global prominence in 2012 when she led a protest against police brutality by young women in Kampala, the Ugandan capital, after Ingrid Turinawe, a prominent leader of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) political party had been publicly assaulted and humiliated. While arresting her, a police officer had reached into her car while she was behind the wheels and attempted to pull her out by grabbing her breast. Allimadi and the young women were arrested outside police headquarters after they opened their shirts, exposing  their bras, to protest the violation of womanhood.
 
In the following years, Barbara worked closely with the FDC and party leader Dr. Kizza Besigye. When Muntu, also a former FDC leader formed ANT in 2019, Allimadi became the spokesperson for international and diaspora affairs. Allimadi mobilized Ugandans in diaspora, urging them to play a role in transforming their country away from 34 years of dictatorship.
 
She had plans to travel in the future to meet in person with Ugandans in Europe, the U.S., Canada, the Middle East, and elsewhere.  
 
“We have lost a sister whom we all loved dearly,” said Milton Allimadi, Barbara’s brother, who is publisher of New York City-based Black Star News and an adjunct professor of African history at John Jay College. “Barbara was a Pan-African. Uganda has lost a rising star who would have contributed tremendously to national leadership in the coming years. Africa has lost a passionate sister who had many ideas to share in the ongoing process of integration on the continent.”
 
He added: “At the end of the day, what took Barbara away from us too soon is dictatorship. It is abnormal for citizens of any country to wake up every day and go to sleep every night, resisting tyranny, for 34 years.”
 
Allimadi was found on the living room floor of her home in Kampala. A preliminary autopsy found blood clots in both lungs. Allimadi was the daughter of the late Erifasi Otema Allimadi, former prime minister, who died in 2001. Barbara’s mother, Alice Lamunu Allimadi, died in 2007.
 
The Allimadi family and ANT plan to organize a fitting send-off in the future to allow Barbara’s many friends and admirers, especially the thousands of youth in Uganda and around the world whom she inspired, to join in celebrating her life.

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