Today marks one year since William Wilberforce Kadhumbula Nadiope Gabula IV was enthroned as the Isebantu Kyabazinga of Busoga.
Kyabazinga Gabula IV was enthroned a day after Justice Godfrey Namundi of the High Court in Jinja threw out a last-ditch attempt by his former rival for the seat, Prince Edward Columbus Wambuzi, to block the event on grounds that there was no throne for him to occupy as he was the rightful Kyabazinga of Busoga.
The rise of Gabula IV
The ascendency to the throne lends credence to the fatalists’ belief that what will be will always be and what will never be will never be.
As early as the late 1990s, word had been doing the rounds in Busoga that a boy who was destined to be the Kyabazinga had been put in school at Mwiri.
It, therefore, did not come as a surprise on October 31, 2008, a month after the death of Kyabazinga Henry Wako Muloki, that the grandson of the late Kyabazinga and first vice president of Uganda, Sir William Wilberforce Kadhumbula Nadiope was seeking to succeed Muloki.
On that day, Prince Edward Columbus Wambuzi was declared the winner of an election which was immediately challenged by chief Fred Menhya Kakaire who argued that the exercise had been carried out without quorum.
Though the case was later dismissed for lack of prosecution, Prince Wambuzi was never recognised by the courts and government and was, therefore, never enthroned, creating an eight-year vacuum.
That vacuum was only filled on August 23, 2014, when the Busoga Royal Chiefs Council, the body of the hereditary chiefs of Busoga’s 11 traditional counties who constitute the electoral college that elects a Kyabazinga, elected Gabula as the Kyabazinga.
He was received and endorsed by the Busoga Lukiiko on August 23, 2014, and subsequently gazetted as Busoga king.
Like lawyer Fred Muwema argued during hearing of the suit that Prince Wambuzi had filed to block the enthronement, “Prince Wambuzi failed to demonstrate that he is the Kyabazinga of Busoga.”
In his maiden speech, the Kyabazinga, who described himself as an educated person who valued education, called on the Basoga to value education, bring up their children to be morally upright, embrace hard work and grow more food for both home consumption and sale.
Though he did not make any promises, those around him, like Kamuli LC5 chairperson Salaamu Musumba, did. She talked of a multifaceted plan to empower the people of Busoga economically, beginning with the 11 traditional hereditary chiefs.
She also talked of a plan to end the divisions and disunity by extending an olive branch to Prince Wambuzi.
“We want to share with him our aspirations, which are actually his aspirations and those of the people of Bulamogi and the rest of Busoga. Those discussions will, however, be outside the public domain,” she said at the time.
The Kyabazinga himself has been juggling between completing his studies and trying to market Busoga as an investment destination.
Last month, Gabula toured Holmlund Farm in Aarlborg, Denmark. He also toured the 124-year-old Danish egg packaging and distribution firm, Danaeg, and addressed businessmen and Ugandans living in Scandinavia, with a call on them to invest in Busoga.
It should, however, be remembered that during the enthronement, President Museveni advised Gabula to work towards unity.
“For instance, some chiefs (Prince Wambuzi and David Kaunhe) are not here, these should be talked to. I will also talk to them,” Mr Museveni had urged.
One year later, Kaunhe has returned to the Chiefs Royal Council, but not so for Prince Wambuzi, a situation which the speaker of the Busoga Lukiiko, Mr George William Mutyabule, said has been left to the Kyabazinga himself to deal with.
“We tried to reach him, but we later felt that we were not the best placed persons to do so. We have left that to His Majesty himself,” he says.
Mr Mutyabule named some of the achievements of the last one year as giving out 1,700 scholarships and bursaries, distribution of Mama Kits and organising health camps where people from four counties of Busoga received free medical treatment.
He also said together with Eskom Uganda Limited, the kingdom launched a project which shall see 30,000 different tree species, including fruits, planted across Busoga sub-region.
Mr Mutyabule says the most important achievement has been at the level of organisation.
“We have had a stable Lukiiko (assembly) which has operated well albeit with a few problems. The biggest achievements of all have been the completion of a development plan,” he says.
The development plan which was due to be debated by the Busoga Lukiiko yesterday (Saturday) is expected to be implemented by an interim executive committee led by Dr Joseph Muvawala.
The problem though is that sections of the Busoga Chiefs Royal Council have for the last several months been trying to force the committee out of office.
On August 19, while speaking in Kaliro District where he presided over the centennial celebrations of St Luke’s Church, President Museveni told Busoga leaders: “You should stop involving the government of Uganda in the Kyabazinga wrangles because the Constitution is clear on this.”
With an election coming up, the LC5 chairperson of Kaliro, Mr Wycliffe Ibanda, must have thought that President Museveni would buckle under pressure and personally intervene in the wrangle. “No one can force me to make a statement on the Kyabazingaship. I can only do this through the advice of the Attorney General,” the President said.
Mr Mutyabule, however, defers. He says though it was important that the highest authority in the land made a statement to draw a line under the matter.
Who is Gabula IV?
He was born on November 1, 1987. He was born to former minister of Tourism, Prof Wilson Nadiope and Ms Josephine Nadiope.
He is a grandson to the late Kyabazinga, Sir William Wilberforce Kadhumbula Nadiope.
Gabula lost his father when he was three years old and was taken up by his maternal grandmother Ruth Mpaata of Wakalenge village, in Mafubira Sub-county, Jinja District.
He attended Mwiri Primary School between 1994 and 2001. He studied O-Level at Busoga College Mwiri, joining in 2005 and leaving in 2008, before proceeding to Kyambogo College for his A-Level between 2009 and 2010.
Had his university education at Kyambogo University where he obtained a degree in Economics. He is currently pursuing a Masters’ Degree in Economics in the UK.
His regents and mentors include the retired Bishop of Busoga, Rt Rev Cyprian Bamwoze and Dr David Kazungu.