New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Busoga Cultural Leaders Row Over Sh5 Million

Edward Columbus Wambuzi, the son and heir to the late Henry Wako Muloki the former Kyabazinga of Busoga and Prime Minister (Katukiro) Wilson Muwereza have protested against President Yoweri Museveni's recent communication concerning the kingdom affairs.

Museveni, in a letter dated May 26, 2012, titled 'Busoga Kingdom Turmoil' instructed the minister of gender and social affairs to start disbursing sh5m to Busoga like it's done to other Kingdoms.

He also ordered that the kingdom be given arrears of the money from the time it was stopped, following the death of Muloki in September 2008.

"The Katukiro and acting kyabazinga David Kawunhe should be the ones to manage this money in the interest of the kingdom," Museveni said in the letter copied to vice president Edward Sekandi, parliament speaker Rebecca Kadaga, chief justice, attorney general, finance minister and secretary to the treasury among others.

However, Wambuzi through his lawyers Matovu and Matovu Advocates interpreted the letter as a ploy by the government to appoint an acting kyabazinga (king) alongside a legitimate one, describing it as unconstitutional.

"Appointing an acting kyabazinga in the presence of a legally elected and legitmate kyabazinga is an overthrow of the Busoga constitution and the Busoga government and has both legal and political negative consequences which the government of Uganda must avoid," he said

Wambuzi added that Busoga constitution Article 6 provides that upon death of a kyabazinga, the Isabalangira (chief prince) is mandated to hold the position in acting capacity and organize elections of the substantive king within 150 days, beyond which he cannot act.

"His role therefore is only procedural and can only act as kyabazinga strictly within this period," he stressed

Wambuzi, who is the Zibondo (chief of Bulamogi County), said he was duly elected kyabazinga on October 31, 2008 after his father's demise and was thereafter approved by the Busoga Lukiiko (parliament).

He added that on December 14, 2011, the High Court in Jinja dismissed a petition filed by Menyha Kakaire the chief of Bugweri County that sought to restrain him from performing his duties as kyabazinga. "This sustained the status quo that Edward Wambuzi was elected in accordance with the constitution of Busoga as the kyabazinga," he stated

Caretaker kyabazinga David Bogere Gabula quoting a constitutional court ruling of September 17, 2009, noted that the judges disqualified Kawunhe from holding the office of kyabazinga over incompetence, and lack of integrity.

Gabula said the President's decision tantamounts to 'imposing Kawunhe on people in Busoga who have lost confidence in him for presiding over the two controversial elections of both Wambuzi and William Gabula Nadiope as kyabazinga.'

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