10 July 2019

Uganda: Preparations in High Gear As Kabaka Visits Kayunga

Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II is today expected to begin his two-day visit to Bugerere County, Kayunga District, the disputed area of the Banyala cultural group.

By last Friday, Kabaka's subjects in the area had started constructing arches on roads leading to Kayunga District.

Residents, mostly youth, have been drumming and dancing at arches erected at strategic locations in the area.

"We are waiting for the landlord. We expect no one to interfere with his visit to Bugerere County," an elderly man at Bukolooto Trading Centre, said yesterday.

The renovation of Kabaka's palace at Ntenjeru, Kayunga District headquarters began two weeks ago with elderly women taking part in cleaning the reeds used for the construction works.

Programme

The Buganda Kingdom minister in-charge of Health, Education and Royal travels, Ms Prospers Nankindu, said the Kabaka will arrive in Kayunga today and go straight to Kawongo Landing Site in Galilaya Sub-county where he will open a health camp.

He will retire to his palace at Ntenjeru and then tomorrow, he will preside over the kingdom Annual Health Day at St Marks Primary School, in Wanteete Village, Busaana Sub-county.

The visit is the third in five years after two successful ones in 2014 and 2016.

Last year, the kingdom officials called off the Kabaka's visit to the area citing "insufficient organisation".

The Kabaka had planned to celebrate the kingdom's Annual Health Day with his subjects.

Kingdom officials then promised to hold it on another date before the end of last year, which did not happen.

However, sources in police in Kayunga say the visit was cancelled due to protests from the Banyala, who had given Mengo conditions for the Kabaka's visit.

Among the conditions, the Kabaka was not expected to address his subjects at the disputed Bbaale Sub-county headquarters as the organisers had planned.

It is at Bbaale County headquarters where the Banyala constructed a palace for the Ssabanyala, Maj Baker Kimeze. The site is well guarded and is a no-go area for strangers.

Unlike the previous planned visits such as that of 2009 where the Banyala openly protested the Kabaka's visit, without first seeking permission from the Ssabanyala, this time round, the Banyala leaders have kept a low profile with the chiefdom spokesperson, Mr James Rwebikire, saying they will meet over it.

"We are going to have a meeting that will discuss the visit [Kabaka's visit] and I will have information to give you on Monday," Mr Rwebikere told Journalists at the weekend.

The Ssabanyala said it was his premier to comment on the matter.

"I cannot comment on that matter, contact my premier for Information," the Ssabanyala said on Monday, something that is unusual with him when it comes to commenting on Mengo matters.

The chiefdom premier, Martin Ssenkatuuka, said they have no problem with the Kabaka's visit, but said their only worry were the people he moves with, who he said 'threaten to kill and torch their houses'.

"They [Kabaka loyalists] should observe discipline when they come here because we shall not look on as they harass our people," he said.

He urged the Banyala to boycott the visit and stay away from all planned activities byb Buganda kingdom.

Although everything seems to be going on smoothly, a security source that preferred not to be named, said the Banyala had planned to block the Kabaka from going beyond Kayunga Sub-county to Galilaaya, but their attempts were thwarted by government.

2009 riots

Spontaneous protests erupted within Kayunga and other parts of Buganda in September 2009 following the Kabaka's attempted visit to Bugerere, which later degenerated into riots as police and the army confronted Baganda loyalists.

Lives and property were lost in the riots that spilled to different parts of Buganda.

The Banyala then protested the Kabaka's visit to Bugerere, claiming they are an independent chiefdom, which Mengo discounts.

"Bugerere County is in Buganda and no one can claim and take it away," the Buganda Kingdom spokesperson, Mr Noah Kiyimba, said recently.

Kayunga is constitutionally part of Buganda Kingdom and Bugerere County is among the 18 counties of Buganda.

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