By John Semakula
TODAY Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II celebrates 17 years since his coronation. Mutebi, the son of Sir Edward Walugembe Mutesa II the first President of Uganda, is the 36th King of Buganda. He was crowned on July 31, 1993 at Naggalabi in Wakiso district.
Mutesa II died in exile in the United Kingdom in 1969 following his narrow escape when the army stormed his palace in 1966.
Before he died, Mutesa chose Mutebi to be his heir. Mutebi was therefore brought up in accordance to the kiganda culture for a prince being prepared for the throne.
Soon after Mutesaâ€™s death, Mutebi was proclaimed the heir in 1969 and by doing that, he had become a king outside his kingdom until July 31, 1993 when he was installed.
While in UK, Mutebi attended Kingâ€™s Mead School in Sussex and Bradfield College before he joined Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he read law.
Mutebi was born in 1955 at Bulange Mengo and his mother was the late Sarah Nalule Kisosonkole who died in the early 70s.
In 1971, Mutesaâ€™s body was returned to Uganda and Mutebi performed the traditional rites as the heir.
Mutebi lived in exile from 1966 when his father was exiled to 1986 when President Yoweri Museveni came to power. He had supported Museveniâ€™s five-year guerilla war by encouraging Baganda to join it.
From the early 1980s, the Kabaka played a significant role of mobilising his subjects to join the 1980-1986 liberation struggle.
Hajji Abdul Nadduli, a former NRA bush war fighter told Saturday Vision that Museveni and Mutebi reached an agreement and the latter visited the war zones in districts of Luwero, Mityana, Mubende and others.
â€œWhen the Baganda heard that the Kabaka was at the war zones, many of them joined the struggle,â€ he said.
Nadduli said Museveni and Mutebi agreed on several issues, among them, restoration of traditional leaders, before he accepted to visit the war zone.
Since 1993, the Baganda have witnessed several memorable events like the royal wedding on August 27, 1999. The Baganda celebrated when the Kabaka walked down the aisle with Lady Sylvia Nagginda Luswata.
Two years later, the couple was blessed with a daughter Princess Sarah Katrina Ssangalyambogo.
Buganda spokesman Charles Peter Mayiga says the Kabakaâ€™s biggest achievement has been to unite Baganda. He has also made achievements in education and health.
Mayiga said that the Kabaka and the Nabagereka have spearheaded a campaign for the promotion of maternal health and immunisation in the Kingdom.
â€œThere was a time when people had refused to take their children for immunisation, but when the Kabaka encouraged them and they responded in big numbers.â€
Unlike in the early years of his tenure when he enjoyed warm relations with President Yoweri Museveni, the Kabakaâ€™s biggest challenge is how to address the strained relations with the central government.
Last September the Government stopped the Kabaka from visiting Kayunga, citing security reasons. This sparked off massive riots in Buganda. Subsequently Museveni disclosed that the Kabaka had repeatedly refused to take his calls for years. He was disappointed that after his government restored Buganda Kingdom, the kingdom was undermining him.
A meeting was organised at State House Entebbe during which the two leaders held behind-the-scenes talks and shook hands.
Nevertheless, Mengo and the central government still have areas of disagreement. Unless such issues are sorted out, Mayiga asserts, the problems that made the Baganda to support Museveniâ€™s guerilla war in the early 1980s would not have been resolved.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the Kabaka is not contented with being simply a cultural leader with no political powers. Mengo has been demanding for a federal system in which the region gets a semi-autonomous government headed by the Kabaka.
The regional government would control a significant percentage of the taxes collected within their area of jurisdiction and take charge of social services.
The central government, however, argues that in modern democracy, an unelected person should not have political powers. Mengo and the central government had reached an agreement in 2005 where the kingdom had settled for the regional tier system of governance, but later Mengo changed.
Mayiga said that Buganda had a right to change its stand on regional tier.
He added: â€œFor years we pushed for our interests, but in vain. Our strategy now is to support people who will push for the kingdomâ€™s interests,â€ Mayiga said.
Buganda is also demanding for the kingdomâ€™s properties that are still in the hands of the government. Among them is the land occupied by many of the county and sub-county headquarters in central Uganda.
They also want the government to pay rent for some of its properties that are being used by the central government.
In an interview with the Saturday Vision, governmentâ€™s spokesperson, Hon. Kabakumba Masiko said the central government is committed to responding to Bugandaâ€™s demands, but through negotiations.
Kabakumba said that government has pledged to pay Buganda the money it owes the kingdom in rent. â€œWe also gave traditional leaders, including the Kabaka, sh5m monthly, but we do not know why it is not collected.â€
But Kabakumba said that the central government had found it hard to give Buganda the kind of federalism the Kingdom is agitating for in the existing situation. â€œBuganda should settle for the regional tier; we had talks with the Katikiro and we agreed on regional tier, but they changed their stand. Regional tier is still on and we pray that they accept it.â€
Some officials of the Buganda government have resigned their positions to join politics, arguing they will push for the interests of the kingdom at all levels. They include former Katikiro Mulwanyamuli Ssemwogerere and former spokesperson Medard Lubega Segona.
There are also many other youth royal to the King who are contesting in the forth coming elections.
Whatâ€™s not clear is whether Buganda will raise a big number of leaders at all levels who will push for its interests in the next five years.
If that is not achieved that the challenge will be for Buganda to accept what is being offered by the NRM government and continue advocating for more or remain hesitant and antagonistic until a new government assumes power.
Mutebi tours Butambala
KABAKA Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II on Thursday kicked off his coronation celebrations with a two-day tour to Butambala County in Butambala district.
The tour started at Kyabadaza in Budde sub-county, where he was received by hundreds of enthusiastic Baganda clad in gomesi and other traditional gabs.
On his way to Butambala the Kabaka had a stop over at Nakirebe in Mawokota. A group of Baganda youth clad in the backcloth were drumming and dancing besides the road. They had also planted banana suckers along the road.
His convoy drove through queues of enthusiastic people who followed it to the the ceremony venue.
The main function takes place today at Butambala county headquarters.
Accompanied by his Katikiro, Eng. John Baptist Walusimbi, Mutebi was received in Butambala by his county chief Twaha Rwanyaga, Education Minister Geraldine Namirembe Bitamazire, the LC5 chairman Godfrey Bavekuno and the area MPs.
During the tour, he visited several prominent farmers, schools and met students and their teachers.
He commissioned a three classroom block at Kibibi Muslim Secondary School in Kibibi Budinse Memorial School.
The Kabaka said he was happy with the farmers he visited because they showed that they could fight poverty. He challenged his other subjects in to engage in farming.
Yesterday, the Kabaka commissioned a trade show at Butambala county headquarters before attending Juma prayers in Kalamba.
He will also visit Kitimbwa Health Center where he will engage in the immunization of children as a gesture of encouraging his subjects to take their children for immunization against the six killer diseases.
Kabaka Mutebi was installed to the throne in 1993 at Nagalabi in Wakiso District, 24 years after he was pronounced heir of his late father Sir Edward Mutesa II.
Buganda kings since 1300 AD
Kato Kintu Early 14 century
Ccwa I Mid 14th century
Kimera 1374 -1404
Ttembo 1404 - 1434
Kiggala 1434 - 1464 and 1484-1494
Kiyimba 1464 - 1484
Kayima 1494 -1524
Nakibinge 1524 - 1554
(No Kabaka) 1554-.1555)
Mulondo 1555 - 1564
Jjemba 1564 - 1584
Ssuuna I 1584 - 1614
Ssekamaanya 1614 - 1634
Kimbugwe 1634 - 1644
Katerega 1644 - 1674
Mutebi I 1674 - 1680
Jjuuko 1680 - 1690
Kayemba 1690 - 1704
Tebandeke 1704 - 1724
Ndawula 1724 - 1734
Kagulu 1734 - 1736
Kikulwe 1736 - 1738
Mawanda 1738 - 1740
Mwanga I 1740 - 1741
Namugala 1741 - 1750
Kyabagu 1750 - 1780
Jjunju 1780 - 1797
Semakookiro 1797 - 1814
Kamanya 1814 - 1832
Ssuna 1832 - 1856
Mutesa I 1856 - 1884
Mwanga II 1884 - 1888 and 1889 - 1897
Kiweewa 1888 - 1888
Kaleema 1888 - 1889
Ccwa II 1897 - 1939
Mutesa II 1939 - 1969
(No Kabaka) 1969 - 1993
Mutebi 1993 - present