Kadaga speakership loss cited in renewed Kyabazinga woes

President Museveni (2nd right, front row) with royal chiefs grace Gabula day at Budhumbula Palace in Kamuli District in 2012. Right is Kyabazinga William Nadiope Gabula IV, who was voted out by six royal chiefs. PHOTO / SAM CALEB OPIO

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  • These include his alleged failure to unite them, give them their loyalties, refusal to stay in the kingdom’s official palace at Igenge Hill and reluctance to relinquish the throne after five years as agreed, among others.

The Busoga Kingdom has been plunged into wrangles, this time taking an unfamiliar trend.

Last week in Iganga District, six out of the 11 hereditary chiefs entrusted with electing the Kyabazinga voted out Prince William Nadiope Gabula IV, citing eight reasons.

These include his alleged failure to unite them, give them their loyalties, refusal to stay in the kingdom’s official palace at Igenge Hill and reluctance to relinquish the throne after five years as agreed, among others.

The chiefs who signed the petition include Mr Isiko Yokonia Kawanguzi of Busiki, Mr John Ntale Bunhole Bunanhumba, Mr Robert Yokanna Mukajjanga Luba of Bunha, Mr Vicky Okaali Musiitwa Muluya of Bukooli, Mr Godfrey Mutyaba of Bukono, and Mr Ayubu Banamwita of Butembe.

Those who declined are Mr Willington Nabwana Inhensiko of Luuka, Mr Samuel Nkuutu Zirabamuzaale of Bugweri, Mr Patrick Izimba Gologolo of Kigulu, Mr William Wilberforce Gabula Nadiope of Bugabula, and Mr Edward Columbus Wambuzi of Bulamogi.

Mr Moses Bakera, the former chairperson of Busoga Bulaale pressure group that was at the forefront of Prince Gabula’s ascension to the throne, at the weekend said Ms Rebecca Kadaga’s position as the Speaker of Parliament played a key role in their struggle.

Mr Bakera said during their lobbying, they were confident that Ms Kadaga would use her position to bail them out if they committed any wrong during a struggle for Gabula’s kingship.

“We were confident that Ms Kadaga would use her position as Speaker if we stepped on anybody’s toes because she was highly respected by all organs,’’ Mr Bakera said.

It is now being suggested that the Kyabazinga’s opponents have realised that Ms Kadaga’s powers were clipped following her loss to Mr Jacob Oulanyah, and renewed their fight for the throne.

Subsequently, in a January 3 declaration, the chiefs’ royal council decreed that said Prince Gabula was no longer the Kyabazinga in preference for prince Wambuzi, who they say will be installed anytime.

Mr Bakera also said the Kyabazinga’s administration has allegedly fallen apart with those who helped him to unseat Mr Wambuzi.

The former Kagoma County MP, Mr Frank Nabwiso, attributed the disagreements to the delays by court to rule on the Kyabazingaship.

“I don’t believe that the institution has been stable from 2014 because Prince Wambuzi went to the High Court in Jinja and claimed that the 11 royal chiefs had elected a new Kyabazinga when the position was not vacant because he (Wambuzi) had been elected on October 31, 2008,’’ he said.

Mr Nabwiso said the court cases must be disposed of because Busoga has not been stable ever since 2008 when Prince Wambuzi was elected and was contested by a court injunction from the Gabula group.

“While going to court in December 2014, the case was not heard for five years until from July 17 to 19, 2019, five years after and the judge promised to give her ruling within 60 days. This meant that the ruling would come in October 2019, but it has been two-and-a-half years and the ruling is yet to be made. There have been a lot of complaints among Wambuzi and Gabula supporters,’’ he said.

The former Kaliro District chairperson, Mr Wycliffe Ibanda, however, said the renewed fights are due to the alleged failure by the kingdom administration to protect their properties.

“It is due to financial issues; there is a group that has sold off every kingdom land and property. They have disorganised everything,’’ he said, advising the 11 chiefs to harmonise everything so that the kingdom can go ahead.

However, the kingdom spokesperson, Mr Andrew Ntange, said the royal chiefs should not disunite Busoga because those are challenges that happen to every institution.

“Every institution has challenges, including Busoga. The Kyabazinga and his siblings had challenges which you would have not noticed, but we will not deny that there is an outsider who is fuelling them. It would have been sorted out as a family, but it is now a shame to all Basoga,’’ he said.

In Kamuli, subjects have also pointed out Ms Kadaga’s loss of the speakership and a perceived attempt to weaken her since she is seen as the main face behind the Kyabazinga’s enthronement.

When Deputy Speaker, Ms Anita Among was in Buyende District recently, she positioned herself as a “stepmother to Busoga” and later stormed Bulamogi, which is seen as a hostile ground to Gabula’s Kyabazingaship, to officiate at a youth function as “Mama Busoga”.

During a burial of Bugabula North MP John Teira’s brother, Sam Tira Iduuli, at Bulawoli in Kamuli at the weekend, Busoga MPs condemn what they referred to the repeated use of Basoga by external forces in their advancement to block any efforts towards creation of harmony and unity in the region.

“The triumphant entry and massive warm reception Ms Kadaga got when she stormed Bulamogi in Kaliro early this year sent shock waves to those who have been sowing seeds of disunity and divisions,” Ms Mariam Naigaga, the Namutumba Woman MP, said.

Mr Moses Bigirwa, the NUP Busoga region coordinator, however, said the current standoff in the kingdom is one of the regime’s underhand schemes to pit Basoga against themselves.

Mr Milton Muwuma, who is accused of being Ms Among’s promoter in the sub-region, and behind the mobilisation and sneaking of the petition to Parliament, distanced himself from the saga.

 “Let us keep political sentiments off Kyabazinga for he is a symbol, fountain of unity as a father of Busoga,” he said.

On promoting Ms Among, he said she is his Deputy Speaker and a “Musoga by association”.

Ms Salaamu Musumba, the FDC vice president for eastern region and former Kamuli chairperson, dismissed the petition as “acts of selfish egos” and “attempts to perpetuate divisions in Busoga by schemers”.

“This is reverse political psychology using chimpanzee-led male formation. I went against my party, organised, and broke Museveni’s resolve for the love of Busoga and Kyabazinga and we should be using him as a bargaining voice, respect him as fountain of unity and through him, build unity, cohesion and development,” Ms Musumba said.

While addressing a press conference in Kampala, the kingdom prime minister, Mr Joseph Muvawaala, said the chiefs who signed the petition are “illegal” because they were not officially enthroned.  “I will resign if these chiefs were legally enthroned; what they have made is illegal.”

Background

Confusion over the Kyabazingaship started in 2008 shortly after the death of Kyabazinga Henry Wako Muloki, when his son (Columbus) Wambuzi was positioned to succeed him. Prince Wambuzi was elected on October 31, 2008, amidst protest from Prince Gabula’s camp. The Gabula camp included Ms Rebecca Kadaga who asked the chiefs to come up with a substantive Kyabazinga to end the confusion by 2014. On August 23, 2014, Prince Gabula was elected as Kyabazinga amidst protests from Wambuzi’s supporters who argued that he (Gabula) was elected in total disregard of the kingdom’s constitution.

Compiled by Tausi Nakato, Abubaker Kirunda, Philip Wafula & Sam Opio Caleb

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