Ssabanyala’s family blocks swearing-in of new cabinet

In this file photo, the Ssabanyala, Maj Baker Kimeze, launches the Lunyara dictionary as the Isaabaruuli looks on. Photo/File

What you need to know:

  • The Ssabanyala Kimeze rose to the throne after the death of his father the late Nathan Mpagi in 2008. 

A section of the family of Ssabanyala (chief) Baker Kimeze on Saturday blocked the swearing-in ceremony of the new chiefdom cabinet over a land dispute.

The angry family members accused Ssabanyala Kimeze of turning the family land into his palace. They also accused the cultural leader of selling part of the 572-acre land in Nabityanka Village in Bbaale Sub-county to GM Sugar without their consent. 

However, the Ssabanyala has on several occasions denied the allegations, saying the land does not belong to the family.

He said the land belonged to the late Adam Kikonyogo, who allowed the Ssabanyala’s family to use it. However, when he died, one of his relatives, Ms Sarah Nanyonga, sold the land.

On Friday, several members of the family pitched camp on the property and vowed to block the swearing-in ceremony unless Ssabanyala Kimeze “returns the family land”.

The next day, the group, some of whom were wielding clubs, blocked all the roads leading to the palace.
“Go away, this is our family home. This home doesn’t belong to the Ssabanyala. We shall only allow him to hold his function here if he returns our land he unlawfully sold,” Mr Ssebunya Mpagi, one of the family members, said.

As tensions rose, riot police and soldiers from Kayunga District were deployed to the area. 
Security officials urged the group to remain calm but the latter instead started hurling insults at them while others vandalised the CCTV cameras around the palace.

Guests, including ministers who tried to access the venue of the function, were turned away by the angry mob.
Mr Muruli Mukasa, the minister of Public Service, who was scheduled to preside over the ceremony, arrived in Kayunga Town at 10am and was taken a hotel. He was later joined by the Ssabanyala.

He eventually left when it became clear that the function would not take place.

Mr Muruli is one of the people who worked hard to have both Bunyala and Buruuli chiefdoms created.

In a press conference later, Mr Derrick Kaddu, the chiefdom spokesperson, blamed the issue on “envy” and promised that the function would be held another day.

Mr Rymond Odong, the officer-in-charge of Kayunga Central Police Station, declined to comment on the matter.

Previous incidents
Last year, the same family members disarmed and harassed armed soldiers who were guarding the contested land.

The incident attracted the attention of President Museveni and security chiefs in the country.
Some of the family members were arrested by security and detained at Kireka special investigations unit for several days but were later released.

New cabinet
In a recent cabinet reshuffle, the Ssabanyala had appointed Rev Wilson Galimaka, a retired cleric, educationist and former Mukono diocesan education secretary, as the chiefdom premier.

The Ssabanyala Kimeze rose to the throne after the death of his father the late Nathan Mpagi in 2008.