What you need to know:
- The kingdom is set on negotiating with the government for the return of administrative units at county and sub-counties as well as other assets.
Busoga has stepped up the process of tasking the government to fulfil its pledge of returning kingdom properties.
The central government took over many of the kingdom’s assets, which include district and sub-county headquarters, following the abolition of cultural institutions in 1966.
Cultural and political leaders from the kingdom have on several occasions reminded the government to return the properties to steer development.
The speaker of Busoga Lukiiko (parliament), Mr George Mutyabule, told Daily Monitor on Monday that they have instituted a committee of eminent personalities from the sub-region to negotiate with the government on the matter.
The kingdom has also started compiling a list of the properties to present to the government.
“We trusted one another so much that we didn’t believe in leases because nobody could interfere with kingdom land; so we urge the government to return these properties in good faith so that we can perhaps rent them,” Mr Mutyabule said.
“Twenty to 30 years from now, Uganda may have a population of more than 100 million people and Busoga alone with 40 million, meaning government will not be able to maintain it,” he added.
Although the government has so far returned Igenge Hill, which houses the palace and Bugembe headquarters, the kingdom is set on negotiating for the return of administrative units at county and sub-counties, forest reserves, landing sites, prison farms, accrued rent, and royalties, among others.
Ms Salaamu Musumba, the Forum for Democratic Change party vice president for the eastern region, however, noted that the kingdom is under utilising its potential and resources.
Ms Musumba called for the creation of a religious tourism circuit to transform martyrs’ shrines into religious tourism sites.
She said the move will also conserve the kingdom’s traditional values, improve household income and promote spiritual guidance.
“We need to transform these places into religious tourist sites, deepen understanding and connection of these saints to Busoga, and integrate religious support services in these communities by creating a story of what martyrdom is and who these Basoga martyrs are,” Ms Musumba said.
Busoga has three martyrs; St Gonzaga Gonza of Bugonza Kaliro [the Patron saint for prisoners, youth, and priests in Jinja Diocese], St Matia Mulumba of Kyebando, Mayuge, and Bishop Hannington also at Kyando, Mayuge.
Kyabazinga Gabula Nadiope IV has been rallying his subjects on unity to harness all available resources to improve the lives of the communities and cherish their heritage.
President Museveni in a speech delivered by the Vice President, Ms Jessica Alupo, on February 11, said his government would always ensure stability during the monarch’s reign. This was during the handover of the Shs12b palace at Igenge Hill, Bugembe Ward, Jinja North City Division to the Kyabazinga.
“My government applauds the cordial, mutual cooperation and collaboration that has existed since the Busoga cultural institution was revived. We are grateful for the achievements that have been reached from both sides and we remain committed to safeguarding the cultural revival aspirations of the Kingdom at all times,” Mr Museveni told the Kyabazinga.
He said the handover of the palace was part of celebrating the achievements of the NRM government in support of the cultural institutions.
The First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Community Affairs, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, called for unity in the kingdom.
Kingdom wants power to manage district land
The acting royal chief of Busiki chiefdom, Mr Yololim Nabongho, said they want a share of local government revenue from the districts occupying kingdom land.
“We want the powers to manage district land be given to Busoga Kingdom because it is our land. We, therefore, want the government to start paying us for using the land,” Mr Nabongho said.
“We also want the government to give the kingdom and all chiefdoms powers to be in-charge of all the government assets, including schools, health centres in both government, and private institutions,” he added.