By Pascal Kwesiga
KAIZIROKWEERA. This is the name of the nine-legged seat Omukama Solomon Gafabusa Iguru will sit on today as he marks 24 years as king of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom. He was enthroned on June 11, 1994.
The coronation ceremony, known as Empango, is characterised by a series of traditional rituals. It is also the major occasion that brings the Omukama and his people together annually.
Dressed in the traditional bark cloth, Omukama Iguru and Omugo (Queen mother) will sit on a raised platform inside the main house in Karuziika (palace) in Hoima town where the king will strike a drum called Tibamuliinde nine times with a stick.
The Omukama has to perform the ritual of striking the drum traditionally not later than 3:00pm at each coronation anniversary, marking the start of nine days of a key ceremony, known as Okuguruka empango. He performs a number of rituals before and every June 11 each year in commemoration of the day he was enthroned.
Although Kaizirokweera is widely confused with Nyamyaaro, the two seats are different. The seat the crown princes of Bunyoro would sit on as they were being enthroned and later during coronation anniversaries is different from the one Omukama Iguru will sit on today to perform the coronation anniversary rituals.
Nyamyaaro was an eightlegged stool. It used to be placed in a prominent room at the Omukama's main palace. Nyamyaaro and a crown were confiscated by Henry Colville in 1894, the then commissioner and consul general of the Queen of Britain during the protracted anti-colonial war of Bunyoro under Omukama Kabalega waged against the British. Kabalega was captured by the British in 1899.
In the absence of Nyamyaaro, according to Omukama Iguru's former principal private secretary, Yolamu Nsamba, Bunyoro uses Kaizirokweera to enthrone kings and during coronation ceremonies. Kaizirokweera, Nsamba says, was reserved for the king in other rooms (Omurusiika) in his main palace. It could not be placed in the enthronement area.
"That area (enthronement place) was reserved for the Nyamyaaro seat and other traditional items for enthronement and coronation purposes. The Kaizirokweera seat which is used today during enthronement and coronation ceremonies was not meant for such purposes," he adds.
Previously, the kingdom officials responsible for enthronement and coronation ceremonies (Ab'ebikwaato) argued over the legitimacy of the king's enthronement without Nyamyaaro. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY
We can restore Bunyoro's glory
In the last 23 years, a lot of development has taken place in the kingdom. Together with the district local governments in Bunyoro, the kingdom established Hoima Nursing School. The institution, located in the heart of Hoima town, has since been taken over by the Government.
The kingdom has sponsored hundreds of students at various universities and pushed for the operationalisation of a public university. In April, Omukama Solomon Iguru met President Yoweri Museveni and they agreed that a public university for Bunyoro would be established at the Uganda Petroleum Institute in Kigumba (UPIK) in Kiryandongo.
The President had in a January 8 letter, repeated the Government's pledge to establish a public university in Bunyoro. What is still unclear, however, is when the university will materialise. A voluntary task force spearheading the operationalisation of the university presented its strategic plan at the Bunyoro symposium in April. It was chaired by Prof. Julius Kiiza. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY
Empaako: Bunyoro's cultural greeting
If you happen to be at 24th Empango, you should earn yourself a pet-name (empaako) as you engage with the locals. Empaako is used in Bunyoro for greeting and culturally, it is ludicrous that one would call one's neighbour by their formal name. On first interaction, you are asked: "What is your empaako?" in the subsequent interactions, one is addressed by his or her empaako while kneeling if they are a woman and bending for a man. Whatever the time of the day, empaako is a must use.
Oraire ota (good morning), Osibiire ota (good afternoon) and Oiriirwe ota (good evening), is often followed by empaako of whoever is being greeted. The respondent, echoes the other person's empaako: "Ndaire Kurungi, Akiiki (its good morning, Akiiki), Nsibiire kurungi, Adyeeri'' (my afternoon is fine, Akiiki). Empaako are also used when addressing or referring to someone for instance Abooki kankuyambeho (let me assist you, Abooki), Abwooli Okugenda Nkaha (where are you going Abwooli?).
Praise names which are attached to one's name, they are similar to English titles like Sir, honourable, mister and madam. Empaako are used as an addressas part of one's name. It comes after a person's full name. Barbra Kaija Atwooki. It is hyphenated with people's sir names like Pascal Kwesiga Amooti.
Among the Banyoro, Batooro, Batuku, Banyabindi and Batagwenda societies, one's name is regarded incomplete without a praise name. Empaako is used to restore harmony and reconciliation for instance during misunderstandings, one can ask for forgiveness in a polite manner: Araali nganyira (forgive or pardon me, Araali). Webale muno, Atenyi (I am grateful, Atenyi). CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY