Barigye declared king of Ankole

1 year before His dead, but God will realize his dream (MYR Agung Sidayu) Print E-mail
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Written by Michael Mubangizi   
Sunday, 17 January 2010 21:49
Pro-Ankole Kingdom (Obugabe) activists have hit back at those opposed to the cultural institution, including President Museveni, saying there’s no need for them to seek the restoration of the kingdom by government because a law enacted in 1993 restored all kingdoms abolished in 1967.
William Katatumba, the kingdom’s Prime Minister, says in a document seen by The Observer that according to the law, Traditional Rulers (Restitution of Assets and Properties) Statute 1993, John Barigye Ntare VI is the King of Ankole who only awaits the return of his kingdom’s regalia and properties.

“By virtue of both the 1993 Statute and the 1995 Constitution, Obugabe of Ankole was restored and John Barigye Ntare VI is the King of Ankole. What remains is for the Uganda Government to recognise that fact, return to the Omugabe (king) his royal drums and all the other regalia, as well as [his palace] at Kamukuzi, Mbarara, and other kingdom property,” Katatumba says.

His declaration of Barigye as king is likely to jolt some in the NRM government, especially non-Bahima, who are vehemently opposed to the restoration of the monarchy.

One of such person is the Minister of Tourism, Trade and Industry, Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire, who recently suggested that pro-Ankole monarchy agitators could be stoned to death. But Katatumba said that the Nkore Cultural Trust takes exception of Otafiire’s comments and accused the minister of “inciting violence.”

He demanded a public apology.

“It is unfortunate that some people who were in the forefront of fighting to bring unity and peace in Uganda are now the same people who are sowing seeds of disunity and threatening to stone people if they do not follow their wishes,” he said.

Katatumba added that President Museveni, who visited Bushenyi District last week to address the Obugabe issue, underestimates the popularity the cultural institution enjoys in Ankole.

“The President has been misinformed by his political leaders that the District Councils of Ankole do not support the recognition of the Obugabe. The fact of the matter is that an overwhelming number of councillors in all district councils of Ankole support the Obugabe.” He claimed that in one district, which he declined to name, the Obugabe has 100% support, and in another more than 95%.

Katatumba also accused the President of “shifting goal posts” on the issue. He was referring to the President’s comments in Bunyoro late last year, in which he said that the restoration of the Kingdom of Ankole must be endorsed by district councils in the sub-region.

“Now that our support of the district councils is certain, goal posts have been changed and the new requirement is to get the support of LC-III [councils] as well,” Katatumba said.

The President recently claimed that those campaigning for the restoration of the kingdom were bribing councilors to pass a resolution to that effect, an accusation Katatumba denies.

“Ankole Kingdom, once recognised by government, will be fighting against the rampant corruption and bribery that has bedevilled all sectors of our society. It is, therefore, hard for any one to believe that it is now the institution that is promoting it,” he said.

He added that Prince Barigye has neither the money nor the desire to bribe anybody. Katatumba, who also chairs the Nkore Cultural Trust, a lobby group for the restoration of Obugabe, says the institution will be “purely for culture and development and not involved in politics.”

He adds that allegations of bribery were crafted by people opposed to the Obugabe after realising the overwhelming support that the institution received in district councils. Mbarara, Isingiro, Kiruhura, Ntungamo and Bushenyi district councils recently inconclusively debated the issue amid claims that they had been bribed.

Fingers were also pointed to a foreign country as having had a hand in the move. The issue of Obugabe resurrected in November 2009 when a meeting of cultural leaders in Masindi called for its restoration.

Later, the Omukama (king) of Bunyoro, Solomon Iguru Gafabusa, who chairs the Uganda Cultural Leader’s Forum, wrote to all district councils in Ankole, imploring them to pass resolutions for the restoration of the monarchy. This was in line with President Museveni’s counsel during the forum that demands for Obugabe restoration should be endorsed by district council resolutions.

However, following the inconclusive debate in the district councils, anti-Obugabe activists such as the Banyankole Cultural Foundation, issued a statement protesting “Omukama Solomon Iguru’s self-appointment as an agent of Mr. John Barigye in writing to Ankole District local councils calling for resolutions to restore the defunct Obugabe of Ankole.”

The group argues that the Masindi meeting had no right or legitimacy to make requests for the restoration of the Obugabe that it says “culturally and legally is for the Banyankole exclusively to decide.”

But Katatumba said an attack on Iguru is “disrespectful and is not in the spirit of Banyankole culture.”
He argues that the Omukama did nothing wrong because he simply gave advice “on purely cultural matters.”

He rejected claims that Obugabe is divisive.
“Disunity in Ankole is a historical factor and those people who claim that there is unity in Ankole are like an ostrich which buries its head in the sand. You cannot suppress a section of a community and claim that there will be unity in such a community. To the contrary the restoration of the Obugabe is the only way that unity will be assured in Ankole.”

He adds that misdeeds committed by kings in the past can’t be repeated in modern Uganda.

“The king of Buganda killed the Uganda Martyrs but all Baganda are solidly behind the Kabaka. You cannot say that the previous Ugandan presidents were tyrannical, therefore there should be no President in Uganda.”

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