oRAKAI- The hereditary cultural leader of Kooki chiefdom, Kamuswaga Apollo Ssansa Kabumbuli II, has marked his 14th coronation anniversary at Bakijulula, Byakabanda Sub- county in Kooki amid questions over the absence Buganda Kingdom representatives.
Hundreds of Kamuswaga’s subjects were joined by representatives from other cultural institutions except Buganda Kingdom.
According Mr Stanley Ndawula, the spokesperson of the chiefdom, they invited both Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II and Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga but none of them attended.
Mr Ndawula said, the failure by Buganda officials to attend the function does not diminish their [Kooki chiefdom’s] spirit to work with Buganda Kingdom.
"We took the honour and invited them [Buganda Kingdom] a gesture that we recognise them," Mr Ndawula said.
Buganda has been sending representatives to attend previous coronation anniversaries and in 2016, Kabaka’s chief in Buddu County, Mr Vincent Mayega, represented the kingdom.
Buddu County borders Kooki County.
When the Kamuswaga was being installed in 2004, the former Katikkiro of Buganda, Mr Joseph Mulwanyammuli Ssemwogerere represented the Kabaka.
Ms Beti Kamya, the Kampala Minister, who was the chief guest, urged the people of Kooki to be loyal to their Kamuswaga because he was “anointed by God”.
“He is in charge of this this territory. You have to be loyal to him because such leaders are anointed by God,” she said on Tuesday at the function.
Efforts to talk to Buganda Kingdom spokesperson, Mr Noah Kiyimba were futile since repeated phone calls went unanswered.
However, Mr Vincent Mayega, the Kabaka’s chief in Buddu County said Buganda Kingdom officials were not invited.
“I could not attend a function where I wasn’t invited .We used to enjoy a good working relationship with Kooki and I am personally surprised that they held such a big event and forgot to invite us,” he said on Wednesday.
Last year, Kooki chiefdom petitioned the Central government asking it to intervene in its strained relationship with Buganda Kingdom.
In a June 2, 2017 letter to Minster of Gender, Labour and Social Development; Hajjat Janat Mukwaya, Hajji Ahmed Kiwanuka, the Kooki prime minister complained that Mengo was undermining the Kooki chiefdom and its hereditary cultural leader, the Kamuswaga.
He said in the letter that the attitude of some Buganda officials was in total contravention of an agreement the leaders of the two institutions signed 121 years ago.
Kooki was once an independent kingdom until 1886, when it became a semi-independent chiefdom under Buganda Kingdom.
Kooki was seeking protection against external invasion.
In an agreement between the then Kamuswaga Hezekiah Ndaula and Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda, Kooki county became part of Buganda Kingdom, but with a special status above other counties.
Kooki leaders also said in their petition that due to the continued marginalisation by Mengo, the Kamuswaga suspended all official representation of Kooki chiefdom at Mengo until the two parties come to an agreement.
According to Mr Ndawula , Kooki chiefdom is one of the recognised cultural institutions in the Uganda Constitution and it is not a “mere county” as Buganda Kingdom wants it to be.
Since his enthronement in 2003, there have been reports that the Kamuswaga is hatching a plan to secede from Buganda Kingdom, after accusing the Mengo of not honouring the agreement his fore fathers signed with Buganda.
The chiefdom has previously said that the Kamuswaga’s throne is supposed to be inside the Mengo Lukiiko Hall.
In July 2015, Kooki officials declared their chiefdom an independent entity and for any Mengo official to visit the area, he or she has to seek permission from the Kamuswaga.
However, some elders in Kooki have since warned the chiefdom officials against seceding from Buganda, saying it would be a miscalculation.
In 2016, the Kooki Council, banned the singing of Buganda’s anthem in all schools and at official functions under its jurisdiction.
The council also resolved to use English during its council meetings. It was resolved that Luganda could only be used by officials who can’t communicate in English.