Police, RDC block Buganda football tournament in Kooki

Some of the Kooki loyalists who went to Lwamaggwa Sub County to disrupt a football match organised by Buganda Kingdom officials on May 20, 2022. PHOTO/ AMBROSE MUSASIZI

What you need to know:

  • The latest development seems to indicate that the rift between the two cultural institutions is far from over.

Rakai Resident District commissioner Ms Sarah Kiyimba has suspended a football tournament organised by Buganda Kingdom officials in the area on grounds that the games will breed conflict between loyalists from Buganda Kingdom and Kooki chiefdom.

Police on the instructions of Ms Kiyimba dispersed football fans who had gathered to watch two games at different play grounds in the sub counties of Lwamaggwa and Kifamba over the weekend.

The RDC who is the head of security in the district, said they had received information that youth from Kooki chiefdom were planning to disrupt the matches by pelting stones at the spectators.

"As security, we get information from different sources. We were therefore, told that there could be chaos and thus we had to intervene and save lives,” she told this reporter on Sunday.

Ms Gertrude Nakalanzi Ssebugwawo , the coordinator of Buganda Kingdom programmes  in Rakai/ Kooki Chiefdom, said the matches had been organised in different sub counties to select a suitable team which would represent Kooki in this year’s  Buganda Kingdom Masaza Cup.

"We have all along been struggling to get a good team to represent us in the Masaza Cup tournament and we came up with this idea of screening the players after they have played in their respective sub counties,” she said.

Despite the interruption, Ms Ssebugwawo said the football matches would be rescheduled as planned.

“These games are well-intentioned and the security people have no justification for stopping them. Those who say they want to disrupt the games are stage managed and police should deal with them decisively,” she added. 

Mr Godfrey Kimbugwe, the deputy Katikkiro ( Premier) of the Kooki cultural institution accused Ms Ssebugwawo and her team of undermining their chiefdom and its hereditary cultural leader, the Kamuswaga Apollo Sansa Kabumbuli II, by organising  cultural activities without informing them. 

"Unless we are informed about such activities before they are organized, we shall use all possible ways to disrupt them because they are intended to create divisions among our people,” he said.

The latest development seems to indicate that the rift between the two cultural institutions is far from over.

Kooki is constitutionally part of Buganda and one of the 18 counties of Buganda Kingdom, but leaders in Kooki insist it is an independent cultural institution.

In January this year, four Buganda officials including Ms Ssebugwawo were arrested in Kooki after police accused them of “trespassing, organizing and installing sub county chiefs without the knowledge of Kamuswaga”.

In 2018, police attempted to block Buganda Kingdom Prime Minister, Mr Charles Peter Mayiga from visiting Kooki to promote coffee growing after Kooki loyalists held demonstrations protesting his visit. However, Mr Mayiga was later allowed to proceed with his journey to Kooki, with additional security.

In 2018, authorities in Kooki chiefdom announced that they had cut ties with Buganda Kingdom, citing lack of respect and marginalization by kingdom officials.

 Kooki Chiefdom officials insist they will only renew their cooperation with Mengo after Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II has held direct talks with the Kamuswaga.

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