On the morning of Monday August 26, the Busoga Lukiiko endorsed the election of Prince William Gabula IV, as the Kyabazinga of Busoga.
Prince Gabula was elected by the Busoga Royal Chiefs Council, the body of the Hereditary Chiefs of Busoga’s 11 traditional counties who constitute the Electoral College that elects a Kyabazinga, on the afternoon of Saturday August 23.
The development came about a month after an ultimatum from the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, on July 27, asking the subjects to elect a Kyabazinga within one month or lose her support.
However, that was not the only ultimatum. Prince Edward Columbus Wambuzi had on August 13 issued a 14-day demand that the Chiefs recognise him as the Kyabazinga or else they face legal action. The ultimatum elapsed on Wednesday August 27.
The Lukiiko’s endorsement, the elections and the ultimatums that preceded it are the latest in a series of twists and turns that have bedevilled Busoga since the death in September 2008 of Kyabazinga Henry Wako Muloki.
The back and forth fights over the crown have reduced the institution of Obwa Kyabazinga Bwa Busoga, to what some youths have dubbed the “Kaunhe Comedy show” because of the ever changing positions of the Ssabalangira (Chief Prince) Daudi Kaunhe Wakooli.
So how does Gabula’s reign start? What is his meal for the years to come made of?
Already, Prince Wambuzi’s response to the Saturday afternoon election by the chiefs was curt.
“I cannot comment about that (election of a new Kyabazinga) apart from telling you that I am still the Kyabazinga as declared by court,” he told this newspaper on phone.
The chief minister of Bulamogi County, Mr Sam Mutono, has since declared that Gabula IV’s election will be contested in the courts of law.
“…That election was simply some piece of drama, but we shall challenge it,” he told journalists last Monday.
Chief Prince Kaunhe, has indicated that the election was illegal.
“When you look at the process we followed to elect Nadiope [Gabula] it is in breach of our constitution. Besides, there was an injunction against any activity at the kingdom so I decided not to go to Bugembe. I instead went to court to follow up on our case,” he told the press on Monday.
However, during Monday’s function, Ms Kadaga said the election of a substantive Kyabazinga was a stepping stone towards the benefits that other kingdoms are enjoying.
It now seems from the word go that the new Kyabazinga’s task for the years to come has already been cut out. He takes over a widely divided Busoga and analysts think reconciliation is the key element to a better kingdom.
Sources within the Busoga Chiefs Royal Council indicate that the immediate task is to complete work on the kingdom’s constitution.
But Jinja Municipality Mayor Haji Muhammad Baswari Kezaala thinks the first thing Gabula has to do to solve Busoga’s squabbles is institute a region-wide dialogue. He also calls on the two parties to keep away from the fights and unite for the benefit of Busoga.
“If both (Prince) Wambuzi and Gabula love Busoga, they should use this opportunity to lead Busoga for a defined period of time to allow for a process of healing,” he says.
Busoga University lecturer Dr Frank Nabwiso, who believes that Busoga will continue to be plagued by confusion and division, agrees with Haji Kezaala on the idea of the rivals stepping aside, but thinks that the solution lies in greater democratisation of the process of elections.