KAMPALA. A massive crowd of devout Buganda Kingdom loyalists turned up on Monday to join Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II celebrate his 60th birthday.
Many who didn’t have the privilege of accessing Bulange, the seat of Buganda Kingdom at Mengo, lined along the Royal Mile (Kabaka-Anjagala) to catch a glimpse of the Kabaka as he arrived and left the venue. Proceedings were relayed on giant screens as NTV broadcast live.
The ceremonies were held amid tight security given the prevailing terror alert, the dignitaries present and the huge crowd. Traffic along roads leading to Bulange was diverted. Counter Terrorism commandos stationed on top of buildings to conduct surveillance of the vicinity.
The Kabaka who arrived at Masengere, the newly completed building, adjacent to Bulange shortly after 10am was welcomed by Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga, who then introduced to him, the team behind the construction of Masengere.
Buganda Kingdom’s attorney general and local government minister David F Mpanga who emceed the function described Masengere as a reminder of the military occupation the kingdom underwent post 1966 crisis.
“The building is a lemon left after the military occupation of our property but we have turned it into lemonade,” Mr Mpanga said.
Kabaka Mutebi planted a Muvule tree outside the Masengere and officially opened the building after a short prayer by Namirembe Diocese Bishop Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira. According to Mr Mayiga, more than Shs5b was spent to complete the Masengere.
Before he left to join his subjects who were eagerly waiting at the Bulange quadrangle, the Kabaka unveiled the statue of a lion that has been put on top of Masengere.
The Kabaka sat on a throne at the entrance to Bulange directly overlooking Lubiri (Palace) at Mengo and the overflowing crowd that turned up to grace the event.
More than 15 schools and various local musicians entertained the Kabaka and his guests who included Tooro King Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru, the Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma, former FDC leader Dr Kizza Besigye, Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and former premier Apollo Nsibambi. There were representatives from Bunyoro and Busoga Kingdoms and Diplomatic Corps.
Others were religious leaders notably Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala, retired Archbishop Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo and Supreme Mufti Sheikh Zubair Kayongo.
Throughout the celebration, the Kabaka was flanked by Nnabagereka Sylivia Nagginda and members of the royal family. While preaching, Bishop Luwalira drummed support for the Etoffali fundraising drive by Katikkiro Mayiga, wondering why anyone should be concerned if they have not been forced to donate.
“In the Buganda spirit, we shall do more activities because the Katikkiro is not tired of collecting etoffali from us and we are not tired of giving. Why should anyone’s head boil?”
Bishop Luwalira said disunity is the only thing that will prohibit Buganda Kingdom from reaching her destiny, savouring the past glory, and asked for a meeting between the Katikkiro and religious leaders.
Vice President Ssekandi hailed the Katikkiro for cultivating harmony between Buganda and the neighbouring kingdoms across the country.
Mr Ssekandi presented the Kabaka with a brand new V8 Land Cruiser as a birthday gift from President Yoweri Museveni.
Kabaka Mutebi who did not speak at the function recognised and awarded a certificate to Mr Paul Saaka, a teacher at Buddo Secondary School for promoting Buganda’s cultural values through composing songs. He also appreciated Buganda Health Volunteers Association, a group of health workers who treat kingdom subjects for free.