It is not the first time the kingdom has petitioned and reminded the government to fulfil its promise to build a public university in the region.
KAMPALA - Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom has asked government to expedite the return of her property and fulfilment of the pledge to set up a public university in the region.
The kingdom delegation led by Prime Minister, Andrew Byakutaga, delivered the petition containing the demands to the government on Wednesday. Handing the petition to Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda, in Kampala, Byakutaga said, Bunyoro is the only region without a public university.
It is not the first time the kingdom has petitioned and reminded the government to fulfil its promise to build a public university in the region. In the April 2018 meeting, the Omukama of Bunyoro, Solomon Iguru, reminded President Yoweri Museveni about the long-standing pledge and asked his government to get the institution established.
"According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics report of 2014, only about 0.8% of the population above 18 years had a degree and 3.8% had post-secondary training in Bunyoro," Byakutaga told Rugunda. It's estimated that there are over three million people residing in Bunyoro.
The kingdom delegation told Rugunda that the institution has asked the Government to set up the university on many occasions to no avail. Byakutaga reminded Rugunda of his (Rugunda) comments in response to demands for the university during the coronation anniversary for the Omukama on June 11 last year.
"Rt. Hon. Prime Minister, you informed the people of Bunyoro that government had completed plans to establish a public university in Bunyoro. However, we have not yet seen any signs on the ground in fulfilment of this promise," the kingdom petition read. The kingdom delegation comprised Byakutaga, the first deputy premier, Nyendwoha Mutiti, and the minister for external relations, Philip Katahoire.
The kingdom urged the government to treat the establishment of the university as a matter of priority. Byakutaga added that the demand for the university is a major issue in the campaigns for the forthcoming general elections.
Rugunda promised to forward the petition to the president. He explained that the Government resolved to develop Uganda Petroleum Institute in Kigumba into a public university in Bunyoro, with constituent colleges in other districts in the region.
But the kingdom delegation asked for timelines for the establishment of the university, and steps being taken to set up the institution. Byakutaga asked if government intends to pass a special law creating the university.
"There is no doubt Bunyoro will have a university. You have heard government taking over Busoga University. By the way, you do not need a law to start Bunyoro University. But the education ministry is in the best position to give an update on what is being done to get it started," Rugunda stated.
On June 25, 2015, Parliament passed a resolution establishing a public university in Bunyoro, Busoga, Kabale, Lira and Soroti districts. With the exception of Bunyoro, all the rest now have public universities.
The Government has been promising to set up a public university in Bunyoro for over 15 years now. The demand was a major campaign issue in the Hoima woman MP by-election last year. It remains an issue of great concern and debate in the region.
At the end of the Bunyoro conference in March last year, participants set up a committee comprised of people with diverse backgrounds to follow up with the government promise and get the university started. The committee developed a strategic plan for the proposed university and engaged relevant government institutions about the same. According to the strategic plan, Bunyoro needs a university modelled on a system of education focusing on high-quality sciences and application.
The kingdom also said it has had several engagements with Government over the return of its assets confiscated in 1967. President Yoweri Museveni had promised to sign a memorandum of understanding with the kingdom for the return of its assets on June 10, last year. But the event did not take place.
"We, therefore, request that Government expedites this exercise," the petition further read.