By Andrew Ssenyonga and John Masaba
The government has officially recognized and declared the Bagwere a cultural institution in Uganda.
The Obwa Ikumbaania or supreme leader of Bagwere His Highness Bishop John Chrysostom Wayabire becomes the 13th cultural leader to be recognized by the government since the reinstatement of cultural institutions in the country under the 1995 constitution.
According to documents New Vision has seen, Bagwere— an indigenous community in Eastern Uganda, mainly occupying the districts of Budaka, Kibuku and Pallisa — were gazetted on May 6 by the Gender Minister Mary Karooro Okurut.
Bugwere deputy Prime Minister Eric Kasolo hailed government for the recognition.
“It has been a long journey and struggle going through several processes required by the law of the land. Everybody is very excited,” Kasolo said.
After being gazetted the Kingdom now has a legal right to make a claim for privileges and benefits granted for under the law to facilitate the smooth running of the institution.
According to the Act, a cultural leader in Uganda is entitled to an official car (a four wheel 4165cc engine vehicle) and another support car (a 4 cylinder diesel engine 2800cc), educational support for two biological children, a monthly allowance of about sh5m, among other benefits.
However, Gender ministry spokesperson, Mondo Kyateka, said that granting the above benefits will be possible if resources are available.
According to Kyateka, the Kamuswaga of Koki who was recognized in 2010 has not been paid yet.
“What the government provides is just a gesture of support. In principle, we expect the cultural institution to look after their king,” Kyateka said.
The cultural institutions so far recognized by government include Buganda, Bunyoro, Toro, Ker Alur, Ker Kwaro Acholi, Kooki, Tieng Adhola Chiefdom, Buruuli, Iteso Cultural Union, Rwezururu, Inzu Ya Masaaba, Bwamba and Bugwere.
Gov’t recognizes Bugwere cultural institution