In 2009, Police closed off Sezibwa bridge after the Kabaka was stopped from visiting Kayunga
By Brian Mayanja & David Lumu
The Government has promised to provide security for Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi to safely traverse Bugerere (Kayunga district).
This comes four years after the Government blocked the Kabaka’s visit to the area, citing security reasons.
Buganda Kingdom officials say the tour is slated for January 14 to 20 this year.
Ofwono Opondo, the Government spokesperson, yesterday said the Kabaka, just like any other citizen, was free to visit any part of the country.
“Since there is freedom of movement, he is free to move. The state shall provide him with security. I am not aware of any group of people opposing his visit. But if they exist, they are free to express their displeasure, but in a peaceful way,”Opondo said.
The assurance from the Government has come at a time when Ssabanyala Baker Kimeze, the cultural leader of the Banyala, a small ethnic group in the district, is asking Mengo to formally write to him if the Kabaka wishes to visit the area.
Meanwhile, the Kabaka’s chiefs in Bugerere are preparing for the tour, disclosed Dennis Walusimbi, the kingdom spokesperson. Mengo said it would soon announce the programme for the tour.
Asked about Mengo having to formally inform Kimeze about the tour, Walusimbi said the Kabaka does not need to get permission from anybody to travel in his kingdom.
“We shall not write to Kimeze because he is just a subject of the Kabaka. We cannot negotiate with him because we have never recognised him. You should also know that the Kabaka is a Ugandan, who is free to travel to any part of Uganda,” Walusimbi explained.
Walusimbi also explained that the agreement signed between President Yoweri Museveni and the Kabaka in August last year, brought out the fact that Bugerere is part of Buganda kingdom.
“If President Museveni recognises that the Kabaka is the head of all regions in Buganda kingdom, who is Kimeze to start asking the Kabaka to formally write to him about his tour of Bugerere?” he asked.
Walusimbi stated that according to the Constitution, Bugerere is part of Buganda, which makes it to be directly headed by the Kabaka.
The Katikkiro, Charles Peter Mayiga, broke the news of Kabaka’s tour during Christmas mass at Rubaga Cathedral.
Mayiga said during the visit, the Kabaka would interact with his subjects in addition to visiting various sub-ethnic groups, including the Banyala.
What the Banyala say
James Bululi Rwebikire, the spokesperson for the Banyala cultural group, said the Mengo government should formally write to them about the Kabaka’s visit to Kayunga, so that they could participate in welcoming him.
“The Kabaka is free to visit his people, but we are asking them to inform us officially. We are only hearing rumours about the visit.
“When Katikkiro Mayiga came to Bugerere last year, he wrote to us and we later discussed several issues,” Rwebikire explained.
Asked why they insist that the Mengo government formally writes to them, Rwebikire said the agreement Buganda signed with the Government last year acknowledged the existence of their cultural institution.
“We are not here by accident. For instance, if the Pope is visiting Uganda, Anglican bishops are also informed. We are in Buganda region, but not under Buganda kingdom,” he said.
Rwebikire noted that their cultural group is officially recognised by Government, adding that starting this year, Kimeze will start getting the sh5m the Government gives to cultural leaders.
Kabaka set for Bugerere tour, security assured