By Fred Oloka
There is a wise saying among the Basoga that: “Omukwa ndala; amanhira masasula” loosely translated that: One who paid one cow for a bride price (dowry) is known when is being paid back.
This proverb’s explanation is that: Misunderstandings among the friends reveal many secrets.
In relation to the institution of the Obwakyabazinga bwa Busoga a lot has been revealed in the space of one week. 10 out of 11 chiefs attended and participated in the election of Prince Gabula to the seat of Kyabazinga. The people of Busoga and beyond welcomed the development as a positive move towards a united Busoga.
The Lukiiko convened 48 hours later to approve the elected Kyabazinga; out of the 10 royal princes who participated in the election, nine attended the inauguration.
One of them and most importantly, the Isaabalangira (acting Kyabazinga) for the last six (6) years was notably absent.
Earlier reports stated that he was attending a court session. The Isabalaangira who was supposed to show the people the elected Kyabazinga came out in the media to denounce the election of the Kyabazinga saying he had been coerced into endorsing Prince Gabula as Kyabazinga.
To the surprise of many, he made a big U-turn within the same week to publically announce a parallel Kyabazinga, Prince Columbus.
In the history of Busoga the Kyabazinga wrangles is not a new development, in 1993 before HRH Muloki had been inaugurated as the official “Kyabazinga”, Prince Eriakesi Ngobi Kiregeya Nkobe from Kigulu alleged that he was the true Kyabazinga since that Kyabazingaship was supposed to rotate among all Busoga princes (Abaise Ngobi) but not to be monopolized by the Zibondo and Gabula lineages only.
As a result, Kiregeya who is said to have been secretly crowned as the Kyabazinga at Nampirika, on the outskirts of Iganga Town unsuccessfully attempted to disrupt the Lukiiko inauguration function.
A week before that, he had announced his own council in the similar way today where Kawunhe crowned Prince Columbus in Nakabango on the outskirts of Jinja town.
It only took the intervention of the president when the pro – Muloki group visited the president at his home in Rwakitura to inform him officially of the plans which were being made to install Muloki, while the Kiregeya group went there the next day. And after more discussions between the two groups that the Government of Uganda allowed Muloki to be installed on February 11, 1996.
With the current development the Gabula camp has already visited the State house and we are looking forward to Columbus –Kawunhe alliance to follow suit. This would in fact cement the saying that “History repeats itself”.
In the interest of harmony, peace and unity in Busoga, amicable consensus needs to found just the same way it was with Muloki-Kiregeya factions in the 1990s. The most important aspect is that the two princes vying for the office of Kyabazinga are youthful and vibrant people who still have a bright future in Obwakyabazinga bwa Busoga.
The one elected has only five years in the office and after which the post will fall vacant. The concerned parties should not drift away from the motto of Busoga: ‘Busoga Okwisania n’amaani’ translated in English to mean Unity is Strength.
The writer works with CRC, Jinja and Chairperson: Uganda Community Museums Association