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Tooro subjects walk to Parliament over assets

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Some of the subjects walk through Fort Portal Town after starting their walk to Parliament on Saturday to demand assets owned by the Tooro Kingdom and still held by the central government. PHOTO by FELIX BASIIME 

By FELIX BASIIME & RUTH KATUSABE

Posted  Sunday, May 11   2014 at  21:20
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KAMPALA.
A group of subjects from Tooro mainly youth, on Saturday started a four-day-walk to Parliament from Fort Portal Town to present a [petition] to the Speaker of Parliament, demanding for the return of the kingdom’s assets held by the central government.

The group, which started its walk from Muchwa, the kingdom’s parliament, expects to reach Kampala [Parliament] on Wednesday.

Mr Patrick Mwesige, the chairperson of the king’s spears and swords (Amacumu ne Bitara bya Rukirabasaija), said they were ready to pressurise government to return assets owned by the king in trust of the people of Tooro.

Those walking include youths from Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa, Kamwenge, Ntoroko and Kabarole districts among others.
Mr Hebert Mugisa, the Fort Portal Municipality South Division chairperson, said: “We are taking our document [petition] to the Speaker of Parliament. We expect to reach there on Wednesday at 11am.”

“We have decided to walk because just like our ancestors, we want to express our grievance to government for failing to return what belongs to us,” he added.

The subjects accuse government of refusing to return the kingdom’s assets including sub-county headquarters within the kingdom.

Other assets are Semuliki Game Reserve, sand and lime stone quarries in Kamwenge and 400 acres of tea plantations in Butiiti and Kyenjojo, among others. Government recently returned Buganda Kingdom land titles.
The Milton Obote I government abolished cultural institutions in 1967. However, President Museveni reinstated some of them, including Tooro Kingdom.

some of the properties
78 land titles
Saaza and Gombolola headquarter
Butiiti Tea Estates
Oruha Tree Plantation
Forest Estates in Kyenjojo
Mineral Salts at Lake Katwe
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Katonga Game Reserve
Tooro-Semuliki Game Reserve
Mines of Kilembe (Coper-Cabolt)
Stone and Sand at Kazingo, Kabarole
Limestone at Dura in Kamwenge
Compensation for lost royalties for a number of assets