Thursday July 28 2011

Museveni cancels Kisekka market tour as Kabaka visits Nakasero Market

City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago (with a hat ) launching the Keep Kampala Clean campaign Wednesday at Nakasero Market  ahead of Kabaka Mutebi's visit. P

City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago (with a hat ) launching the Keep Kampala Clean campaign Wednesday at Nakasero Market ahead of Kabaka Mutebi's visit. PHOTO BY AL-MAHDI SSENKABIRWA 

By Al-Mahdi Ssenkabirwa & Robert Mwanje

President Museveni has cancelled his tour of Kisekka Market to avoid clashing with Kabaka Ronald Mutebi II’s visit to another city market Thursday as part of his 18th coronation anniversary this Sunday.

Presidential Press Secretary, Tamale Mirundi said on Wednesday that the president had postponed his visit to Kisekka Market “until further notice”.

“The people who draw programmes for the Kabaka and the President are different and didn’t know that one clashes with the other. So the President chose to postpone his visit until further notice,” Mr Mirundi said on Wednesday.

Today all roads leading to Nakasero Market have been closed causing heavy traffic jam on Entebbe Road and nearby roads but people were jubilating around the market as they were wait for the guest to arrive.

The Kabaka will meet city traders at Nakasero Market at 11am, he will later in the day commission a Bio gas plant in Gayaza and visit model farmers in Namugongo.

Banana stems were planted on all roads connecting to Nakasero Market and Kabaka's effigies and arches were erected in strategic areas hear the Clock Tower, Shoprite Mall and the Old Taxi Park.

The Kabaka last visited the city last November on the invitation of Kisekka Market traders to sightsee their business entities and economic projects in the Kampala.

The kingdom has enjoyed a strained relationship with central government over unfulfilled pledges and demands. Since the Kabaka was enthroned in 1993, the kingdom has been pushing for the return of its property including land; officials’ estates that were seized by the post independence government of Dr Milton Obote (R.I.P) who abolished the monarchy in 1966.

Surprisingly, whenever the coronation anniversary comes nearer, there some strange episodes that befall the Kingdom, sometimes prompting the organisers to call it off.

The situation is not different this year. On Tuesday, seven people claiming to be members of the royal family stormed the Mengo palace locally known as Lubiri saying they wanted to meet the Kabaka. Although the Kabaka doesn’t reside there, the group claimed that they have on several occasions been denied audience with the Kabaka whom they call their brother. The group accuses kingdom officials of misleading the Kabaka and illegally parceling out kingdom land.

It was later engaged in a scuffle with Buganda royalists from Kisekka Market who accused them of trying to bring confusion in the kingdom. In the melee that ensued, the disgruntled royals were injured but this didn’t stop police from arresting them.

Mengo Information Minister, Mr Peter Mayiga disowned the group saying it was bent on undermining the authority of the Kabaka. “Let the law take its course and we shall as well deal with them from the cultural point of views because their channels they could have used if at all they wanted to address their grievances,” she said.

Kabaka Mutebi was enthroned as the 36th Kabaka of Buganda on July 31, 1993 but some royals have on several occasions disagreed with the former sometimes questioning his authority.

This year the event will take place at Kyadondo county headquarters in Kasangati in Wakiso District. The kingdom rotates the coronation celebrations in the 18 traditional counties to enable the host county benefit through rebuilding its headquarters.

During his 17th coronation anniversary celebrations last July, the Kabaka sent a strong demand for the kingdom to be granted a federal status. But since then he has kept away from making political statements in what analysts say could be a calculated move to avoid being seen as violating the recently passed Cultural Leaders Act 2011.

The Act which President Museveni also asserted to among others bars cultural leaders from engaging in partisan politicians. But Mengo claims the Act is provocative and demeaning to the traditional institutions and has since vowed to challenge it in the constitutional court.