Celebrations to mark the 19th Coronation anniversary of Omukama of Bunyoro known as Empango has kicked off.
BY PASCAL KWESIGA AND ROBERT ATUHAIRWE
The Omukama of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, Solomon Iguru and Queen (Omugo) Margaret Karunga Adyeeri Tuesday appeared before the people of Bunyoro, kicking off celebrations in the buildup to the 19th Coronation ceremony of the king known as Empango.
Religious leaders from various religious denominations led the opening prayers for the ceremony at Karuziika palace in Hoima town. The ceremony attracted several dignitaries from within and outside Uganda.
People danced to traditional music from heritage roots, a traditional music group in Bunyoro Kitara.
Women dressed in the traditional bark clothes were seen emerging from the traditional huts around the palace to seat around the Omukama and Omugo. A number of rituals are performed ahead of traditional sounding of huge drum by the king (Okutoma Empango). Traditionally, the Omukama sounds the drum at 3:00pm.
The Omukama handed a trophy to Kisaaru Football team which won the Empango football tournament.
Omukama Solomon Iguru and Omugo Margaret Karunga.PHOTO/Mathias Mugisha
People were seen pouring into the palace from all directions leading to the seat of the Kingdom. Security was tight in and around the kingdom. Local government leaders and MPs from the region including the 1st deputy prime minister, Henry Muganwa Kajura and Bunyoro affairs minister, Ernest Kiiza attended.
There were delegations from other kingdoms, US, Canada, European Union, and Oil companies such as Tullow Oil Uganda, CNOOC Uganda and Total among others. Various activities such as HIV testing and counseling, blood donation, trade, tourism and cultural expo took place.
The celebrations climax today (Tuesday) when the Omukama sounds a big drum that marks the beginning of the palace dance, known as Kuguruka Empango. Empango is the first ritual the Omukama performs as he is crowned and it’s celebrated annually in Bunyoro Kingdom every anniversary.
According to the Kingdom’s Information minister, Moses Kirungi this year’s theme is “Tapping Bunyoro’s economic and cultural potential”.
He said the theme was chosen to sensitize the subjects about the Kingdom’s economic and cultural potential that can be harnessed to promote socio-economic transformation of the region.
The Omukama attended the Empango prayers at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Hoima town on Monday. See related pictorial here.
Empango celebrations begin amid pomp