Government has taken a key step in making good on its promises made in the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding with Mengo.
Buganda kingdom received Shs 2bn as part payment of the Shs 20bn, government owes to Mengo in rent arrears. According to the MOU signed between the president and Kabaka Ronald Mutebi on August 2, Shs 2bn was to be paid back this year and the balance would be paid next financial year.
"I can confirm to you that the money has been wired to the (kingdom treasury) but we are waiting for the balance," said Denis Ssengendo Walusimbi, the kingdom spokesman at Bulange - Mengo, today.
However, a source at Bulange intimated to us that the money was actually paid about three weeks ago, but kingdom officials had chosen to keep quiet until they were challenged by a group of politicians.
"Before President Museveni came to Lubiri [for the Kabaka's coronation anniversary] that money had been wired to the kingdom's account," our source said.
Ssengendo refused to be drawn to comment on the matter. But our source told us that the announcements in today's press conference came on the back drop of challenges from politicians under the Ssuubi pressure group, who have so far had two meetings with the Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga over the MOU.
The Kabaka recently appointed his young brother Prince David Kintu Wasajja and the kingdom's Justice and Constitutional affairs minister Apollo Nelson Makubuya, to lead a verification committee that is to work with government on the implementation of the MOU. Other team members are Ambassador William Matovu and William Nagagga. The kingdom is also seeking compensation for the shares it owned in the now defunct Uganda Electricity Board, Uganda Breweries, Uganda Commercial Bank and shares in an Australia based mining company.
The Kabaka has also extended the mandate of Buganda Land Board (BLB) beyond the management of his official estate of 350 square miles of land to include the properties that will soon revert to the kingdom under the MOU. This includes 16 square miles of land, the Katikkiro's official estate, which is mainly prime land situated in Luzira, Kansanga and Kampala Industrial area.
BLB is also to be in charge of the all major estates plus land on which the Makindye based Military Police barracks sits. Ssengendo says that under the MOU, land on which all police barracks sit except for Kampala Central Police Station, Kibuye and Wandegeya Police Stations plus Prisons, belongs to the kingdom and are subject to the verification exercise.