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Busoga Council should tread carefully on new Kyabazinga

By Vision Reporter

Added 21st September 2008 03:00 AM

ONE of the claims spreading fast in Busoga and the rest of Uganda is that the late Henry Wako Muloki made an agreement with the people of Bugabula in the 1990s stating that young prince William Nadiope would become the next Kyabazinga of Busoga.

ONE of the claims spreading fast in Busoga and the rest of Uganda is that the late Henry Wako Muloki made an agreement with the people of Bugabula in the 1990s stating that young prince William Nadiope would become the next Kyabazinga of Busoga.

By Frank Nabwiso

ONE of the claims spreading fast in Busoga and the rest of Uganda is that the late Henry Wako Muloki made an agreement with the people of Bugabula in the 1990s stating that young prince William Nadiope would become the next Kyabazinga of Busoga.

I have nothing against Nadiope or any prince, but if the agreement exists, it should be published in the press so that we all read its contents. I suppose the agreement will also show the signatories to it with a quotation of the authority under which they signed. In other wards, it is necessary for all of us to know the authenticity, legitimacy and validity of the agreement.

Having been researching about the evolution of the institution of Kyabazinga from 1894 to 2008, I consider the following to be the milestones and selection procedures the institution has gone through:
In 1894, William Grant, the first district commissioner for Busoga called all the key hereditary rulers of Busoga at Bukaleba in Bunya (now Mayuge district) and persuaded them to establish their own council to help him administer the area. The rulers identified the then Zibondo of Bulamogi (Prince Kisira) as their leader but he died in 1898 of natural causes and not from the sleeping sickness epidemic which had invaded Bunya in the same year.

Earlier in 1897, Sudanese soldiers based at Bukaleba had mutinied against and killed their British Commander, Maj. Thurston. So, Bukaleba was not considered a safe place to stay in. Grant, the hereditary rulers, the White Missionaries, as well as the Muslim leaders, abandoned the place and moved northwards (to Iganga) and eastwards to Bugweri county, to avoid encountering more calamities.

In 1905, Sir, Hesketh Bell, Uganda’s Governor, appointed Simei Lwakirenzi Kakungulu (an ex-soldier from Kooki, Buganda) to be the first president of Busoga and he began his duties in 1906.
In 1911, 11 Busoga hereditary chiefs led by Kakungulu, met on Mpumwire hill (near Jinja) with British administrators and formally accepted colonial rule.

The rulers included Zibondo of Bulamogi, Gabula of Bugabula,Tabingwa of Luuka, Ngobi of Kigulu, Nkono of Bukono, Wakooli of Bukooli, Menhya of Bugweri, Ntembe of Butembe, Luba of Bunya, Kisiki of Busiki and Nanyumba of Bunyoli.
By 1913, Kakungulu had ceased to be the President and the Colonial Government introduced a rotational presidential system. Each of the hereditary rulers was expected to spend three months at Bugembe (the Busoga government headquarters) to preside over Busoga Council meetings and Busoga court proceedings.

In 1919, Prince Ezekyeri Tenywa Wako was elected the first Musoga President, and in 1925 became a member of the “Native Kings Council” together with the Kabaka of Buganda, the Abakama of Bunyoro and Toro, and the Omugabe of Ankole. Wako also remained the President of Busoga for 20 years, up to February 11, 1939 when his post was renamed “Isebantu Kyabazinga” (father of all people of Busoga) and served as Kyabazinga for 10 years until his retirement in 1949. In total, he served as Busoga’s leader for 30 years.

In 1949, Prince William Wilberforce Nadiope from Bugabula was elected by Busoga Council the second Kyabazinga. He was the son of Yosia Nadiope (the ruler of Bugabula), who died in 1913 when William was only two years old. William had served as county chief of Bugabula from 1930 to 1939, before he joined the Second World War as a soldier from a British Colony.

In 1955, the Busoga Council elected 34-year-old Henry Wako Muloki the third Kyabazinga. He was the son of Ezekyeri Wako, the first Kyabazinga, and the grandson of Kisira, whom the hereditary rulers had identified as their leader in 1894 at Bukaleba.

On October 6, 1962, Nadiope regained the Kyabazingaship of Busoga through party politics. He was re-elected by the Busoga UPC-dominated Council on September 30, 1962. Nadiope had already joined Uganda’s Legislative Council (Parliament) from 1958 and became the vice-president of UPC at its inception in 1960. He had also become the Minister of Internal Affairs in the first UPC Government from April 1962.

On June 2, 1963, Nadiope became a knight with the title “Sir” from Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the first Vice-President of Uganda in October 1963. By that time, Nadiope was one of the most powerful men in Uganda.
In 1967, the Obote Government, with the concurrence of Parliament, abolished all hereditary rulers in Uganda and Nadiope lost his Kyabazingaship.

In 1995, the NRM Government restored cultural institutions, including the Kyabazingaship, and Muloki was re-elected to the post by his fellow hereditary rulers in Busoga.

On the basis of the above historical facts, it would be strange if the Busoga Council or hereditary rulers made a concealed agreement with anyone regarding who would succeed Muloki instead of using straightforward channels that have been used in the past to select a new Kyabazinga. But if they did so, then they should forthrightly come out and tell the public.

Busoga should seek to have a Kyabazinga (from the eligible ‘Baisengobi’ clans) who is mature, well-educated and visionary. He should be someone who will be able to harness the resources and skills of all the key stakeholders in Busoga’s socio-economic and political development. Not just any prince because of rotational, party or sub-sectarian politics.

My last humble prayer to our 11 hereditary rulers (as the supreme decision makers in the Kyabazinga succession issue) is to set up a small committee of well respected Basoga, preferably led by the former Chief Justice of Uganda, Samuel Wako Wambuzi or Justice Egonda Ntende to help refine the responsibilities of the Kyabazinga within Article 246 of the 1995 Constitution and the required qualifications for such responsibilities. The committee’s findings might make it easier for the hereditary rulers to make their decision.

The writer is the former Kagoma County MP

Busoga Council should tread carefully on new Kyabazinga

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