Kiruhura. The NRM presidential candidate, Mr Yoweri Museveni, has said he has never opposed the restoration of Obugabe, the Ankole Kingdom, but the district councils in the sub-region never petitioned government to restore the traditional institution like others that had been abolished in 1967.
After the enactment of The Traditional Rulers (Restitution of Assets and Properties) Act 1993, several kingships were reinstated in areas such as Buganda, Tooro, Bunyoro, and Busoga but that of Ankole remains in limbo. New kingships like Rwenzururu, Obudingiya Bwa Bwamba and chiefdoms of Banyala and Baruli have also been established.
Responding to a question from a journalist about the fate of Ankole Kingdom during a press conference at his country home in Rwakitura, Kiruhura District yesterday, Mr Museveni said people in Ankole never yearned for the kingdom.
After the restoration of Buganda, Tooro and Bunyoro kingdoms, there were attempts by Ankole monarchists to install Prince John Barigye (RIP) as king but his coronation, conducted secretly in November 1993 was later declared illegal by the government. Prince Barigye died in 2011. His son Prince Aryeija Rwebishengye, who is pursuing a master degree in Law in the United Kingdom, was installed as heir.
While campaigning in Mbarara and Sheema districts last week, Mr Museveni said people occupying mailo land belonging to Ankole Kingdom officials will be given land titles.
Speaking to Daily Monitor recently, Ankole prime minister William Katatumba said: “We have been pushing for restoration of the kingship, we are waiting. Those who don’t want it are the ones telling the President, “don’t give it.” According to Ms Maria Mutagamba, the State Minister for Tourism, government has unveiled a plan to rehabilitate the run-down king’s palace at Kamukuzi in Mbarara, to be used as a tourism site.