The controversial billboard that was put up in Rakai town council two weeks ago provoked mixed reactions among the youths.
PIC: A Bilboard of Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi in Kooki. (Credit: Davis Buyondo)
RAKAI - Police was called on Tuesday to thwart a clash between Buganda loyalists and Kooki Chiefdom youths over an MTN billboard with a picture of Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II.
The controversial billboard that was put up in Rakai town council two weeks ago provoked mixed reactions among the institution 'diehards'.
According to Daniel Samula, the Rakai town clerk, the advertising agency yet to be identified submitted its request to the town council authorities to raise an MTN banner to promote the company brand.
However, on Monday; the agency instead put a different banner on the billboard containing a picture of the Kabaka with a message “wangaala ayi sabasajja,” to mean long live our king; in a way, praising him.
Samula said the agency erected the billboard without being mindful of the eventualities.
The billboard however sparked off disagreements between the two groups.
A group of Kooki youths, led by Tom Nelson Bukenya, protested over the billboard claiming it undermined their Chiefdom leader-Apollo Kabumbuli Ssansa II.
Brian Ssembatya, another youth leader, further argued that the agency did not consult Kooki leaders before installing Kabaka’s billboard.
Buganda loyalists also came out to protect the billboard claiming that Kooki is one of Buganda’s counties and has several people who pay allegiance to their Kabaka.
This further annoyed a group of Kooki youths who pulled down the banner.
They further vowed to break MTN lines to other networks that will respect the Kamuswaga.
Stanley Ndawula, the Kooki Information Minister, said that the motive behind the ‘provocative’ billboard is not known.
He further added that Kooki Chiefdom’s is independent of Buganda and therefore needs to be respected.
“Chiefdom has a flag, emblem, anthem and other instruments of power. We deserve the respect like we do to other institutions,” he said.
A group of Buganda youths have also vowed to retaliate for the action which they said demeaned the Kabaka.
Attempts to get Noah Kiyimba, the Buganda Minister for Information, were futile due to different engagements that he was handling.
But Vincent Mayega, the Pokino of Buddu County, said he is aware of the ongoing differences but they are rectifiable.
In a meantime, there is still police presence in the town council to foil plans for another clash.
Patience Baganzi, the Rakai DPC, is currently handling the matter for which she opts for arbitration between the two sides in order to restore calm.
The rift between the institutions started when the Kamuswaga unveiling plans to be independent of Buganda claiming their binding agreement of 1896 expired.
As a result, Kooki has created parallel departments to run the chiefdom activities among others.