Uganda: Rival Kyabazinga Unaware of Gabula's Move to Rule for Life

21 November 2017

Jinja — Mr Edward Columbus Wambuzi, the rival to the Kyabazinga of Busoga, Mr William Wilberforce Kadumbula Nadiope Gabula IV, says he is not aware of any life Kyabazingaship project for his cultural foe.

Mr Wambuzi's statements come after the Busoga Parliament (Lukiiko) last Friday amended the Constitution of Busoga Kingdom and paved way for the current Kyabazinga to rule for life.

While speaking to Daily Monitor in the aftermath of that sitting, Mr Wambuzi said: "I am not aware and neither have I seen any document."

At an extraordinary sitting of the Lukiiko at the Kingdom headquarters in Bugembe, Bunyha Chiefdom representative, Mr Mathias Mutatyama, called on the House to unanimously second his motion that paves for life Kyabazingaship.

The Lukiiko speaker, Mr George Mutyabule, says: "I received this document from the Royal Council signed by nine Royal Chiefs recalling Articles 6 and 8 of the Busoga Constitution to allow Kyabazinga hold office without a prescribed period and election."

Mr Mutyabule adds that Articles 6 and 8 which specifically deal with the election and tenure of office of the Isebantu Kyabazinga, states: "Once elected, the Kyabazinga shall hold the throne until his death."

The Kingdom's Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Mr Alex Luganda, says the said articles were earlier suspended following the conflict within the kingdom that culminated in the monarchy spending six years without a sitting kyabazinga.

These, he added, were replaced by another Article in which all Royal Chiefs agreed that any elected Kyabazinga would rule for five years and allow the Kyabazingaship to rotate among the 11 chiefdoms.

Mr Wambuzi and Kyabazinga Gabula IV have endured a frosty relationship since the death of Kyabazinga Henry Wako Muloki in September 2008.

Their decade-long hostility momentarily plunged the Kingdom into an abyss of cultural uncertainty, culminating into the Kingdom spending six years without a Kyabazinga.

Expert opinion

Dr Frank Nabwiso, the former Member of Parliament for Kagoma County, Jinja District and author of Busoga's Eleven Hereditary Chiefdoms And The Kyabazingaship In Uganda (Dec 2016), a book that traces the Kyabazingaship from 1600 to 2016, says he does not understand why some people think they can make the Kyabazingaship a life project.

Dr Nabwiso notes that the recently passed life Kyabazinga project is 'bad for Busoga Kingdom business' as it means: "Someone will be there for life and will have turned the 'whole thing' into a monarchy."

The kingdom's spokesperson, Mr Andrew Ntange, said: "I will not respond to Dr Nabwiso. The last time I heard he was an academician, then he's a politician. I will not answer him back. I only answer clan leaders and cultural leaders but not politicians," he said.

Earlier attempts at life Kyabazingaship

"In December 1962", Dr Nabwiso recounts, "An attempt was made to make Sir Wilberforce Nadiope (the current Kyabazinga's grandfather) a Kyabazinga for life but he was stopped in his tracks by Dr Milton Obote. Do you remember?"

He adds: "Earlier in 1961, Busoga Lukiiko passed a similar motion to make Henry Wako Muloki a Kyabazinga for life but that attempt was earlier thwarted by Nadiope."

Dr Nabwiso notes that the recently passed life Kyabazinga project is 'bad for Busoga Kingdom business' as it means: "Someone will be there for life and will have turned the 'whole thing' into a monarchy."

"You have to think carefully, involve a number of stakeholders within an outside Busoga before coming up with such a decision," Dr Nabwiso advised.

Dr Nabwiso who claims to be in possession of the agenda of the December 17 meeting that passed the life Kyabazingaship project says the meeting started at 12:00pm but item Number Five which was meant to be 'Communication form Justice and Constitutional Affairs', was conspicuously skipped and what followed was Item Number Six (Resolution) and later closure.

"The members of the Lukiiko didn't tell the House the nature of the resolution which, in my understanding, must be in writing," Dr Nabwiso noted.

He added: "The Busoga Constitution that was signed in December 2000 does not say that at any time the institution (Busoga Kingdom) will be amended to turn the Kyabazingaship into a life project. The whole process had a number of illegalities. Why, for instance, didn't they wait for Court?"

In 2014, supporters of Prince Wambuzi sought an injunction from Jinja High Court halting Kyabazinga Nadiope's coronation claiming that Wambuzi was the legitimate King.

Persistent efforts to get a comment from the Kingdom's Spokesperson, Mr Andrew Ntange, on Monday were futile as he wasn't responding to our calls to both of his known lines.

Mr Samuel Mununa, the LCI Chairman Central Village, Walukuba East Parish, Walukuba-Masese Division in Jinja, says the recently passed life Kyabazingaship project will widen the animosity between the Balamogi (Basoga hailing from Kaliro) who pay their allegiance to Prince Wambuzi, and the Bagabula (Basoga from Kamuli) whose loyalty is bestowed upon the reigning Kyabazinga.

Busoga comprises of 11 Chiefdoms but the Kyabazinga is picked from any of the five Chiefdoms of; Bulamogi, Bugabula, Kigulu, Luuka and Bukono.

"The Kingdom is already divided enough but this project (life Kyabazingaship) will simply widen the division. Currently, Parliament Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, a Mugabula (from Kamuli), can't visit Balamogi in Kaliro because as you can remember, she was widely seen as the person who orchestrated Gabula's coronation at the expense of Prince Wambuzi. So, these divisions will only widen," Mr Mununa said on Monday, adding that while Prince Wambuzi can - 'on any day' - leave Kaliro for his Nakabango palace located in Butembe Chiefdom, Kyabazinga Gabula can't leave his Butembe Chiefdom palace in Bugembe and Kamuli for Kaliro.

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