President Yoweri Museveni has vowed to work with the newly enthroned Kyabazinga (king) of Busoga, William Gabula Nadiope.
By Joseph Kizza
President Yoweri Museveni has vowed to work with the newly enthroned Kyabazinga (king) of Busoga, William Gabula Nadiope, but insists the people of Busoga need to be united.
Nadiope was installed as the new king of Busoga on Saturday, replacing the late Henry Wako Muloki who died on September 1, 2008.
The event that took place at Bugembe, the seat of the Kingdom of Busoga, drew huge crowds of people including officials, delegations from other kingdoms, MPs and ministers.
Bunyoro King Solomon Gafabusa crowning Gabula as the Kyabazinga of Busoga. (PPU)
Huge crowds started to flock in for the event on Saturday. PHOTO/Donald Kiirya
The enthronement of Gabula, however, came on the back of tense times within the kingdom, with his rival, Prince Edward Columbus Wambuzi taking to court to prevent the ceremony from taking place.
Wambuzi is the son of the late Kyabazinga Muloki.
His attempt to throw a spanner in the works hit a dead-end when the High Court in Jinja on Friday – the eve of the enthronement – deferred its verdict on whether the coronation of Nadiope should or should not proceed.
That decision resurrected a lot of tension, during which the loyalists of Wambuzi stormed the streets in protest.
Wambuzi insists he is the duly elected Kyabazinga, saying he was elected two month after his father’s death four years ago.
It is this friction within the kingdom that became the pivot of President Museveni's speech at the coronation attended by a mammoth crowd under stifling temperatures.
‘I was worried’
President Museveni said the leaders of Busoga need to dialogue to realise peace and unity in the region. (PPU)
The president threw light on the events that led to him acknowledge Gabiola as the elected king by a corum of local chiefs.
He told of how he had got concerned over Busoga’s future after Muloki’s death.
“When [Kyabazinga] Muloki died, I was very worried. Immediately after the burial, we entered the house at Kaliro. The former Chief Justice [Samuel] Wako Wambuzi was there. So I asked him myself ‘What is going to happen?’ Then he told me, ‘Don’t worry, there is a constitution’.”
Being told that a constitution that details succession in the Busoga Kingdom existed, Museveni thought: “then there is nothing to worry about”.
But, he told the audience, the only other problem there was at the time was that the constitution had not been explained to the people of Busoga.
President Museveni said he would work with the new Busoga king. (PPU)
According to the kingdom’s constitution, electing a new Kyabazinga requires a corum of at least eight chiefs.
“The people responsible for electing the Kyabaziga according to constitution are here. The first time they elected [Columbus] Wambuzi, they elected him with seven instead of eight on the corum. So, they – supporters of Columbus – performed a ceremony here but I did not come because they did not realize a corum,” said Museveni.
“Then the chiefs elected again. They elected Gabula but with six votes, and yet the corum should be eight, so I did not come to support that as well.
“I met many groups, many chiefs, and I told them that the “kisumuluzo” [translated as ‘key’ but figuratively meaning ‘authority’ or ‘power’) is with you. You should know how to go about it.”
‘I was told not to be guided by emotions’
Students carried an effigy of William Gabula Nadiope at Bugembe. PHOTO/Donald Kiirya
The President said he later met 10 chiefs then who assured him that they were more organized and were ready to elect a Kyabazinga.
Museveni addressed the crowds on Saturday mostly in English and had an interpreter to translate into Lusoga, though he every once in a while would briefly switch to Lusoga, and then back to English.
He continued: “When I saw they were 10 out of 11 [chiefs], I said now I can come since the corum is there. There was controversy over it and I was told not to be guided by emotions but instead facts. So that’s why I attended the Lukiiko [meeting with the chiefs].
“Then recently, there was the election of Gabula by 10 chiefs. I was in Addis Ababa [Ethiopia’s capital]. I was in a hurry planning to head to Sheema – Bushenyi – and I saw in the news that he [Gabula] had been elected by 10 chiefs.
Upon learning of the news, President Museveni rang the youthful Gabula and invited him to State House Entebbe.
“I did not know there were still arguments. I had thought it was all sorted. Because of those arguments, I decided to form a committee of ministers including the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General,” he told the audience on a hot day.
“I told them to talk to these Basoga and see what is happening. They talked to the rival groups and to other people as well. When they reported back to me, I said I will go to the ceremony [Saturday’s coronation]."
‘Work on unity’
Earlier on Saturday, Gabula and his subjects made their way to Mpumudde Hill, a cultural site where rituals are done for a new Kyabazinga.
Meanwhile, people had started to flock in at the venue (Bugembe) in large numbers, including delegations from Alur Kingdom, Bugisu, Bunyoro Kingdom, Tooro Kingdom.
Here, newly installed Kyabazinga Gabula recieves the instruments of power. (PPU)
The King of Bunyoro Solomon Iguru I met the youthful leader at Budhumbula royal palace ahead of the start of the event.
Gabula was also greeted by an elated Rebecca Kadaga, the Speaker of Parliament, alongside Kamuli district LC 5 chairperson Proscovia Salaam Musumba.
With the huge numbers collecting at Bugembe, there were all hints that it would be a memorable event, and rightly so, going by popular suggestions that it would be the biggest ceremony in the history of Busoga Kingdom.
Still, borrowing from the timeline of events leading to Saturday’s coronation, a mighty task to forge unity and peace among the people of Busoga still lies ahead. And it is no wonder that upon congratulating the monarch for getting a new Kyabazinga, President Museveni boldly underlined the essence of togetherness, saying “You need to work on the question of unity.”
And as if hinting on how much work in this regard lies ahead, the Ugandan leader said: “Some of the chiefs are not here. They should be contacted. I will also try to contact them”.
“The Bible says, blessed are the peacemakers,” said Museveni, immediately adding on: “The other day I was telling the Moslems that ‘if you are lucky to be alive with your tongues, and with your head, you should use them to work for unity, because if you don’t use it, God will not be happy with you – because God leaves us here [on earth] for a purpose’.”
Several events took place early Saturday at the coronation venue, including wrestling. PHOTO/Donald Kiirya
The President pointed out that people need put to use the gift of life, that of intelligence and also the gift of speech to bring unity in society.
He was to quick to caution: “But to make peace, we must be fair – not biased. Listen to the other side, that’s how you can bring peace permanently."
Even while talking about the need for existence of peace and unity, Museveni made it clear that the most important thing is to bring an end to poverty in Busoga region.
“I have sent soldiers here to help you with these [poverty-alleviation] programmes because they [projects] have taken too long [to be achieved]. I decided to try to it out with the soldiers because I got tired with using civilians. Civilians are very complicated unlike soldiers who must adhere to strict orders."
Meanwhile, the president gave the new Kyabazinga two escort cars, before moments later after making other remarks, delivering his parting words: “Complete the dialogue amongst yourself to solve the problem of unity”.
Museveni vows to work with new Kyabazinga