Kooki chiefdom officials have protested the recent appointment of new chiefs by Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi, saying it undermines the sovereignty and independence of their cultural institution.
During a meeting attended by the chiefdom ministers in Rakai District last Friday, the leaders questioned the appointments and the intention of Buganda Kingdom.
“The move to reappoint the Kamuswaga and his deputies as recently announced by the Katikkiro (prime minister) of Buganda, Mr Charles Peter Mayiga, was an act of disrespect. The new appointees have no protection in Kooki. We are not responsible in case of any eventuality,” Mr Richard Ssegwanyi, the speaker of the Kooki Lukiiko (parliament), said.
Kooki officials say the Kabaka had no right to appoint the Kamuswaga, including his chiefs.
“The Kabaka is sometimes misguided by his prime minister to think that Kooki is under Buganda yet the agreement purporting to link Kooki to Buganda is no longer relevant to the Bakooki,” Mr Ssegwanyi said.
The appointments announced included Ms Gertrude Ssebugwaawo, Mr Nelson Rubambula and Mr Eliab Kiggundu as coordinators in Kooki chiefdom.
Mr Idd Kiwanuka, the Kooki prime minister, said Buganda Kingdom had no right to interfere in the chiefdom affairs, adding that the chiefdom has existed for more than 300 years.
Mr Kazinduusi Kyaterekera of the Babiito clan (Kooki ruling clan), said their institution has the royal regalia, which they received from the central government in 2004 without consulting Buganda.
However, the Buganda spokesperson and minister for information, Mr Noah Kiyimba, called for calm, saying the appointments were not linked to Kooki.
“Ms Ssebugwaawo, Mr Rubanbula and Mr Kiggundu are not deputies of the Kamuswaga nor chiefs but coordinators with specific duties aimed at linking Kooki to Buganda. Buganda is aware of Kamuswaga’s throne in Kooki and he (Kamuswaga) is respected as a cultural leader who is not deputised nor appointed,” Mr Kiyimba said at the weekend.
“We appeal to the people of Kooki to remain calm and take the appointments as explained without disrupting the existing good relations that have kept the two institutions together,” he added.