9 May 2019

Uganda: Kyabazinga Palace Lies Idle 5 Years After Renovation

Jinja — The official multi-million shiling palace of Kyabazinga of Busoga on Igenge Hill, Bugembe Town Council in Jinja District, has remained idle for five years reportedly due to 'lack of furniture' despite undergoing renovations by the government.

Prince William Gabula Nadiope IV was in 2014 elected as the Kyabazinga (king) of Busoga, with his subjects expecting him to settle in this palace.

His subjects now want him to resume occupation so that he can be easily accessed.

Ms Joan Nabirye, a resident of Namulesa Trading Centre in Jinja District, said since the palace was completed, the king should occupy it.

"We want him in the palace. The President stays in State House and it is from there that he is accessed. Why then doesn't the Kyabazinga stay in his official palace?" she said.

Mr James Nkonte, a resident of Jinja, said the Kyabazinga must enter the palace because it is where the day-to-day work of the kingdom gets accomplished.

"The kingdom officials have been claiming there is no furniture in the palace, if the kingdom doesn't have money, we (subjects) can fundraise so that the Kyabazinga enters the palace," he said.

Mr Frank Nabwiso, the former Member of Parliament of Kagoma County, said the subjects don't know where to find their king.

"The Kyabazinga neither lives at his official palace at Igenge Hill nor at Budumbula in Kamuli District where government renovated buildings," he said.

Mr Nabwiso said the kingdom's Premier, Dr Joseph Muvawala, should explain why the king doesn't stay at his official palace.

The palace, one of the most beautiful buildings in Busoga Sub-region, comprises about 40 rooms, libraries, offices, sitting rooms and kitchen, among others.

Kingdom response

The Busoga Kingdom public relations officer, Mr Andrew Ntange, said the Ministry of Works, which was contracted to renovate the palace, handed it over to the line ministry - Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development for official handover to the kingdom.

"We are still waiting for government to hand it over to us but it is currently undergoing repair following the heavy rainstorm that blew off part of its roof last month," he said.

He added: "Although we have taken long without furnishing the palace due to money issues, we have already secured some funds for the furniture and the Kyabazinga will enter the palace as soon as government officially hands it over."

The Ministry of Works and Transport contracted Babcon Uganda Ltd to renovate the palace, and upon completion, hand it over to the kingdom in 2010 through government.

However, during that period, Busoga had no Kyabazinga following the death of Henry Wako Muloki in 2008.

Efforts to get a comment from the government spokesperson, Mr Ofwono Opondo, were futile as he did not respond to our repeated calls.

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