New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: The Pro-Obugabe Demand for Kingdom Recognition

The leaders of Ankole Cultural Trust group have agreed to form a committee to meet President Yoweri Museveni to discuss the restoration of the Obugabe (king) of Ankole kingdom.

They also resolved to demand for the Bagyendanwa, the royal drum that was confiscated from Ankole Kingdom palace in 1967 when the former president, the late Dr. Milton Obote abolished monarchies in Uganda. The drum is being kept in the National Museum in Kampala.

The pro-Obugabe group led by Ankole Cultural Trust prime minister, George William Katatumba, said they would ask Museveni to recognize the Ankole kingdom as he did to other cultural institutions like Buganda, Bunyoro, Toro and Rwenzuru among others.

He said they have where to keep the Bagyendanwa other than in the National Museum.

Kingdoms were restored in 1993 by the Traditional Institutions Statute, but president Museveni has not recognized the Ankole kingdom, saying the people of Ankole have to decide. Since then, the pro-Obugabe people are demanding for their kingdom recognition.

The group was attending a workshop on cultural heritage and natural resources of Ankole held at Mizabibu gardens in Biharwe, Mbarara district and organized by the National Association for Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) on Friday.

Frank Muramuzi, the NAPE, executive director, said the training aimed at sensitizing the Ankole cultural group on the restoration of the glory of Ankole culture and heritage, involve the youth to protect Ankole's pride and conserve the environment.

Katatumba said the group is determined to have Ankole kingdom restored saying they have involved the youth in reviving Ankole culture following the crowning of Prince Charles Rwebishengye, installed as the heir to his father Prince John Barigye's throne.

"When Prince Rwebishengye was installed as the heir to his father, he said among other things that he would mobilize the youth to agitate for the recognition of Ankole kingdom by the Government," he said.

Katatumba lashed out at the elderly Banyakole whom he said have watched their culture almost facing extinction and did little to revive it but instead engage in a campaign to have the kingdom abolished.

Gen. Elly Tumwine, the UPDF MP who is also a pro-Obugabe, advised Ankole cultural leaders to be patient and use the right forum in agitating for the restoration of the kingdom.

"Much as we need Obugabe back, we should not use the elections issue as an opportunity to demand for it from the President. You need to have an organized group, process and present your purpose to protect Ankole's resources from destruction before ironing out issues with the President," he urged.

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