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Know history and you’ll have learnt the mystery

By Vision Reporter

Added 18th February 2002 03:00 AM

Busoga has produced two deputy speakers and a VP

Busoga has produced two deputy speakers and a VP

The Other Side of the Coin with Paul Waibale Senior The “Kyabazinga’s Day” celebrated on February 11 at Bugembe is a historicday for Busoga in particular and Uganda in general. It was an occasion for which the headline of Abubaker Mukose’s article in The New Vision’s supplement published that very day: “Busoga revives lost glory” was quite befitting. As a Musoga I accord unreserved appreciation to Mukose’s efforts to commemorate the occasion with an assortment of historical facts and figures relating to the institution of Kyabazingaship and the Obwakyabazinga of Busoga. I for one do not subscribe to the idea of referring to the Kyabazinga as “King” or to Busoga as a “Kingdom.” Nor do I have any taste for the obviously inappropriate title of “His Royal Highness” haphazardly dumped on the Kyabazinga from non-informed sources. Apart from meaning nothing to the ordinary Musoga, those English versions are adulterations of the original lusoga meanings attributed to those titles. If I may elaborate, “Kyabazinga” means “the almighty controller of everything within the compass” and is in that context a superior title to “King”. Similarly, Isebantu (Father of the people) is, more meaningful than the English concoction of “His Royal Highness.” And of course there are its unsavoury imperial connotations, which aggravate its unsuitability. In that context, I would, if I were a Muganda, vigourously oppose elements in Mengo who aspire to equate the title of “Ssabasajja” to that of “His Majesty.” It is pertinent to note that the title “Isebantu Kyabazinga” was conceived deliberately to displace the alien-orientated “Owekitibwa President” so that the leader of Busoga bore a title that reflected the relationship of endearment between him and his subjects. Owekitibwa Ezekeeri Tenywa Wako was President of Busoga when the change from President to Kyabazinga took place. He was, therefore, the first Kyabazinga of Busoga and not “the first Musoga to be Kyabazinga” as Mukose put it in his article. In my contention, inadvertent remark breeds the misleading analogy that there had been some non-Musoga Kyabazinga before him. History indicates that Kakungulu had been President of Busoga Lukiko before Wako but it was Wako who became Kyabazinga after taking over from Kakungulu as President. In his article, Mukose highlighted a few achievements gained since the post of Kyabazinga was revived by the Movement government six years before. The establishment of the Busoga University is one of the major achievements listed. In the same breath, however, he lamented the acute lack of funds for running the various activities conducted under the auspices of the Kyabazinga institution. Rumour has it that minor items such s the purchase of fuel for the Kyabazinga’s car often degenerates into an embarrassing money hunting expedition. Although the sale of certificates provides one narrow avenue for generating finance for the Obwakyabazinga, the most effective solution to the institution’s financial woes is the enactment of the Busoga Charter, which has been the subject of sweet talk for the last three years. It is on that score that I appeal to Vice President Dr. Sipecioza Wandira Kazibwe and National Assembly Deputy Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to put their full weight behind efforts to enact the Busoga Charter as authorised by the l995 constitution. Let the Charter be put in place and all the districts in Busoga will be jointly obliged to provide funds for the maintenance of projects such as the Busoga University, Namasagali College and others. Is it not a shame that Busoga, the tribe that has produced two Vice President (Sir William Wilberforce Nadiope and Dr Specioza Wandira Kazibwe) and two Deputy Speakers of Parliament (Adonia Nume and Rebecca Kadaaga) cannot organise their affairs to match Buganda or Toro where the Omukama is still an infant. In a nutshell, I was insensed by the historical segments with which Mukose spiced his article. They pleasantly reminded me of a rhyme my history teacher at Busoga Mwiri, Rev F. G. Coates, once introduced in Sunday summon: “If you learn history, you have learnt all the mystery.” But for the sake of the record, it is important to point out an error that could have been a slip of the pen in what was by and large a satisfactory historical account of events relating to the office of Kyabazinga and three men —Wako, Nadiope, and Muloki —who have ascended and descended from it diverse styles. By stating in his article that “Henry Wako Muloki was appointed after Nadiope, but ruled for a short time because of the abolition of kingdoms by the central government in l967”, Mukose implied that Muloki was the Kyabazinga of Busoga at the time kingdoms were abolished. In fact, Muloki had ceased to be Kyabazinga in l963 when he was ousted by a vote of no-confidence by a predominantly UPC Lukiiko and replaced by Nadiope. Nadiope’s appointment was declared null and void by the High Court because it had violated the l962 the provisions of the constitution. But Obote immediately summoned Parliament on radio to pass the Busoga Validation Act, which legalised Nadiope’s appointment. Consequently, Nadiope was Kyabazinga when Obote’s hammer fell on the Kingdoms. Incidentally, Muloki had reigned as Kyabazinga since l955 when he was removed in l963, so he had not merely “ruled for a short time’”.

Know history and you’ll have learnt the mystery

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