By Jude Kafuuma
THE Baruli-Banyala are not in Buganda and do not support federo, their prime minister Sebwato Lutaya Gawera has said. â€œWe are not in Buganda and cannot be forced to become Baganda,â€ he added.
In a petition to Parliament yesterday, the Baruli also said Mengo should stop undermining their cultural leaders. The petitioners said Buruli was the ancestral area of the Baruli people.
â€œMengo collaborators in Buruli must stop holding subversive meetings and activities in Buruli aimed at undermining the culture and the cultural leaders of the Baruli people,â€ they said.
According to the Constitution, Buruli in which Nakasongola district is located, is part of Buganda. It is one of the counties which Bunyoro and Buganda kingdoms have historically fought over.
The petition, handed over to the Speaker Edward Ssekandi, in the presence of Nakasongola MP Grace Tibwita (NRM), was signed by Buruli minister for information Bagonza Mohammed Muruli.
It said: â€œWe do not support federo as advocated by Mengo. We support the regional tier.â€
The document contained the resolution of which the Nakasongola district council passed on July 16, describing the Baruli as the indigenous people of Buruli.
The resolution also accused Mengo agents of issuing death threats to 10 prominent Baruli. The petitioners warned of retaliation if the Baruli were killed. â€œThis scenario must be stopped,â€ they said.
The Baruli also declared a boycott of the Mengo-sponsored soccer galas. â€œThe players ostensibly representing Baruli are neither Baruli nor selected from Buruli,â€ they said.
Ssekandi asked the delegation if they considered Buruli part of Buganda as the Constitution states.
In reply, Sebwato said: â€œWe are not Baganda and cannot be forced to become Baganda.â€
However, Ssekandi urged them to sit with Mengo and iron out their grievances. â€œI have received the petition and I will forward it to the concerned committee for scrutiny. However, my appeal is that you agree to co-exist,â€ he said.
As Ssekandi met the petitioners, the Kabaka was swearing in Ssentongo, a Muruli, as a minister in Mengo. However, they said Ssentongo is a rebel who does not respect Baruli culture.
The Baruli-Banyala vowed to document the â€œBaruli crusade for cultural emancipationâ€.
They added that the Baruli were not against Baganda but the â€œMengo cliqueâ€. They also said they were ready to resist the â€œcultural colonialism of the Mengo cliqueâ€.
Recently, Baruli peasants expressed fear of eviction from their â€œbibanjaâ€ by Baganda landlords and asked for the Governmentâ€™s help.
The petitioners also said they respected Buruliâ€™s cultural diversity and were committed to living in peace with the different tribes and cultural institutions which recognise and respect their culture.
They urged the Government to support indigenous minorities enjoy their cultures and to make a law that allows two cultural institutions to exist in the same geographic area.