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Govt returns Bunyoro Kingdom property

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By FRANCIS MUGERWA

Posted  Saturday, April 5  2014 at  01:00

In Summary

Bunyoro Affairs minister says return of the assets shows the willingness of government to address the historical challenges of Bunyoro.

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Hoima.

Government has started returning Bunyoro kingdom assets which were confiscated by the state in 1967.
The State Minister for Bunyoro Affairs, Mr Ernest Kiiza, said the government has handed over 20 land titles to the kingdom.
He said the processing of more titles for the kingdom’s land is ongoing and will be compete soon. “The return of the assets demonstrates the willingness of government to address the historical and current challenges of Bunyoro,” Mr Kiiza told the Saturday Monitor on Tuesday.
He revealed that government has set up a team headed by the Attorney General, Mr Peter Nyombi, to negotiate with Bunyoro Kingdom officials over the return of the appropriated properties.

Mr Kiiza also revealed that implementation of systematic land demarcation and titling will start as soon as funds are available after operationalisation of the Land Fund to pay absentee landlords in Kibaale District.
“The regulations for administering the Land Fund have been completed,” Mr Kiiza said.

Bunyoro Kingdom prime minister Jackson Nsamba Kasozi confirmed the negotiations between the kingdom and the government over the return of assets.
“The kingdom has taken a path of dialogue and negotiation to ensure all restituted assets are returned, historical injustices are addressed and it gets its due share on royalties accruing from minerals and other natural resources,” the Rev Kasozi said.
He said Bunyoro’s 10-man committee which he chairs, was appointed by the kingdom cabinet.

“We have already compiled a list of demands which have been submitted to the office of the Attorney General,” he said.
He said the kingdom has also received Shs200 million from President Museveni to rehabilitate the Omukama’s Karuziika (palace), the official seat of the king.
“Construction work is underway but we are mobilising Shs1.5 billion which is required to finalise the renovation of the palace and other cultural sites,” Mr Kasozi said.

Saturday Monitor has seen petitions the kingdom sent to the Attorney General and the President demanding the return of its assets.

Background
Absentee Baganda landlords. Bunyoro Kingdom has been agitating for cancellation of 3,636 land titles belonging to Baganda absentee landlords in Buyaga and Bugangaizi counties, which were formerly gifted to Buganda Kingdom by the British colonialists to punish Bunyoro for resisting colonialism following the defeat of their king Omukama Kabalega.
The referendum. In 1964, the people in the two counties voted in a referendum to return to Bunyoro. However, the land titles remained in the hands of the Baganda absentee landlords.

fmugerwa@ug.nationmedia.com