Kampala- The acting Kyabazinga is a rather reserved man. He talks with the calmness and collectedness you only see in royals — pausing in between statements as if to reflect on what he has said, before he says anything else.
As we sat in a corner at his home on second lane in Jinja, David Kaune Wakooli fondly spoke about the forthcoming swearing-in of the Lukiiko by President Museveni - It was a week away.
“That is going to be the beginning of a new dawn for Busoga,” he said. “There have been many disagreements, everyone is pulling to their own side, the Basoga have been left aside but if the President comes to Bugembe, I will know that we have started a move to solve all this.”
The swearing-in happened at the close of last month. One of the things the Lukiiko is expected to do is discussing and passing the draft constitution, a document borne out of wide consultations dating back to 2004.
Mr Shaban Nkutu Muziransa, whose firm was hired by the late Henry Muloki to review the constitution, said the late Kyabazinga took the step to review the constitution because he had seen a problem with the status quo then.
He says Muloki had started seeing squabbles among the six hereditary chiefdoms that had been categorised as none Baise-Ngobi and so could not produce a Kyabazinga, yet they had been part of the 11 clans who from inception had been part of the Kyabazinga process.
Ring fencing the Kyabazingaship for only five clans out of 11 had been done under the leadership of Muloki under the belief that the seat was only for those clans believed to be royal clans from Bunyoro.
“Because of that reason some people were indifferent because they were contesting the logic of selecting only five out of the 11 chiefdoms to produce a Kyabazinga,” Mr Muziransa said. “One of the major problems of the Obwakyabazinga bwa Busoga is that the Basoga have never come out to properly own, support and cherish the institution. It has always been lukewarm.”
Mr Kakaire Tutu, the minister for culture and research in the Menhya government, says the lukewarm behaviour of the Basoga towards their region is the continued infighting among those who were supposed to be leaders.
“They should first put themselves right in their own chiefdoms before they start expecting Basoga to listen to them,” he said. ?“You might find that those who are making noise do not even have councils back in their counties,” Mr Kakaire said.
Talking to those who come from the different chiefdoms, the feeling is that of entrenched distrust. Those from Bulamogi argue that most of the current chiefs, but themselves, are imposters installed by Sir William Wilberforce Nadiope for selfish interests.
There have been several incidents where Ms Maureen Walube Kyalya, who was sent to Busoga to fight poverty has paraded old men saying they are the right chiefs.
She is currently in court, through Mayanja Nkangi and Company Advocates, challenging the seat of Menhya of Bugweri. She says the current chief, Samwiri Zirabamuzale Nkutu, is not the right person for the sit.
Ms Kyaalya is married in the Menhya family. When I visited Mr Fred Menha at his country home, he challenged whoever is calling his son to go and tell him the right person to be on the seat.
“Look at the photo (pointing at a wall portrait of the late Menha Zirabamuzale), and look at me,” he said. “That was my father the one I inherited this throne from. I asked my son to take up from me because I am too old and sick. So if there is someone challenging it, let court come and tell me who I am supposed to give it to.”
Such accusations and counter accusations are what you find among the chiefs and those who are close to the royal families.
Mr Daniel Lubogo, a lawyer who also works with the law firm through which Ms Kyalya is challenging the Menha chieftaincy, believes that many of the chief are imposters and they should be weeded out if Busoga is to change.