At 11.40 am Thursday, the Kabaka of Buganda arrived at Ssezibwa Bridge, which separates Kayunga and Mukono districts, amid tight security.
Early, rumours had circulated among the subjects, that security would not allow the Kabaka to visit Bbaale County where the Banyala are constructing their Shs3b chiefdom headquarters.
But police calmed their fears. “The heavy deployment is only to ensure that the Kabaka has a peaceful visit and that his subjects are safe,” said Mr John Lukooto, the Kayunga District Police Commander.
The Bunyala chiefdom premier, Mr Martin Ssenkatuuka, on Monday urged all the Banyala to boycott the Kabaka’s visit.
The Kabaka is on a two-day tour of Bugerere County that is claimed by both Buganda Kingdom and Bunyala Chiefdom.
Ssezibwa bridge is where former Katikkiro of Buganda John Baptist Walusimbi was in September 2009 blocked by security agencies from accessing Kayunga District to prepare for the Kabaka’s visit to the area.
Police then cited security concerns for blocking the Kabaka’s visit that resulted in spontaneous riots in various parts of Buganda during which at least 21 people were killed and property worth millions of shillings destroyed.
On arrival at the bridge where a big arch had been erected, the Kabaka was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd.
In the crowd were Buganda first deputy premier Hajj Twaha Kawase, Mukono Diocese Bishop Williams Ssebaggala, Mengo’s Bugerere County chief James Ssempigga, area MP Amos Lugoloobi and Kayunga District chairperson Tom Sserwanga.
Pupils sang and danced for the king. Some of the Kabaka’s subjects wore gomesi, hats and suits made from backcloth.
The Kabaka then walked for about 50 metres into Kayunga District before entering his vehicle and proceeding to Galilaaya Sub-county.
At Ntimba Primary School in Galilaaya, the Kabaka opened a health camp where hundreds of residents received free treatment.
In his address at the health camp, he urged residents to engage in income-generating activities to fight poverty in their homes.
“You should remain united, educate your children and avoid tribal wrangles because they are useless,” the Kabaka said.
The king’s visit to the area is the third in five years, the previous two having been in 2014 and 2016. Last year, the kingdom officials called off the visit citing “insufficient organisation”.
The Kabaka will today preside over the kingdom’s annual health day to be held at St Mark’s Primary School in Wanteete Village, Busaana Sub-county.