Inside Politics | Buganda Wins, Eyes More

Posted August 4, 2013 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Buganda Kingdom ~ 4,353 views


Kampala Dispatch — The process that yielded the return of Buganda Kingdom property by the central government was a watertight secret deal between the Kabaka and President Museveni. The Sunday Monitor has learnt from reliable sources at Mengo, the seat of Buganda Kingdom, that the Kabaka’s team led by the kingdom’s Katikkiro, Charles Peter Mayiga and State House had kept their negotiations top secret to ensure no information leaked until the whole deal was concluded and sealed.

Nearly the whole country was taken by utter surprise when State House announced on Friday that President Museveni had signed an agreement with Buganda to return the kingdom properties which were seized by President Milton Obote’s government in 1966. The properties include Saza (county), Gombolola (sub-county) assets, and mailo land.

As a pointer that it was not only the general populace which was surprised at the deal, Hajj Abdul Nadduli, the NRM vice chairperson for Buganda, said he too had no clue before the State House announcement. He had participated in previous negotiations between the two centres of power, but this time round he was totally shut out of the know.

A Cabinet source told the Sunday Monitor that not even President Museveni’s ministers knew about the negotiations because the issue was never tabled before the Cabinet. Even the Attorney General, Mr Peter Nyombi, reportedly learnt of the agreement on Thursday when President Museveni tasked him to take the paperwork of the Memorandum of Understanding between the government and Buganda to Kabaka Mutebi for signing.

The two parties, the source said, agreed to keep the deal a guarded secret as a way of preventing political interference with the discussions. Mr Museveni reportedly consulted Gen Salim Saleh, his younger brother, and behind-the-scenes power broker at State House, before the agreement was concluded.

Katikkiro Mayiga negotiated on Buganda’s behalf with Prince David Wasajja, Mr Apollo Makubuya (Buganda’s constitutional affairs minister), Mr William Matovu, who is the chief palace adviser and Mr Herbert Ndiwalana Nsubuga. During the Kabaka’s 20th coronation anniversary celebrations in Lubiri yesterday, Mr Mayiga confirmed that the talks about the return of the kingdom’s assets had been a top secret process between Buganda Kingdom and State House.

Delivering his speech, Mr Mayiga stated that he continued with the “secret talks”, which he said had been initiated by his predecessor, Mr John Baptist Walusimbi. Mr Mayiga said the Kabaka gave him orders to “reduce friction between Buganda and the central government.”

The Kabaka reiterated this point by urging Ugandans to always seek “consensus” instead of resorting to force, which he said has claimed many lives since independence. President Museveni for the first time in many years attended a Buganda Kingdom function in the Kabaka’s palace at Lubiri, Mengo.
Mr Museveni’s relations with the Buganda administration hit the lowest ebb in 2009 when Kabaka Mutebi was blocked from touring Kayunga, a district under Buganda Kingdom.

At the coronation anniversary celebrations yesterday, Museveni retraced his historical relationship with Kabaka Mutebi since the early 1980s when he was introduced to the then Crown Prince in London by the late Prof Yusuf Lule.

“We have worked together with the Kabaka for a long time, but working together does not mean that you won’t have disagreements,” Mr Museveni said. He added that he is not an erratic person and that he had to take time to study Buganda Kingdom’s demands before making a decision.


The demand for the properties and a federal system of governance has been the major cause of friction between Mr Museveni’s government and the kingdom for a long time. On his part, the Kabaka commended Mr Museveni for his role “in the restoration of the Kabakaship. Buganda Kingdom was restored in 1993 but it has since been in futile negotiations with President Museveni’s government to return the kingdom’s properties.

Earlier during the celebrations, many people voiced their disapproval whenever Mr Museveni’s name was mentioned in speeches. Others attempted to shout him down when he started his speech. But the Katikkiro intervened to calm the situation by urging the crowd to “respect all the Kabaka’s guests.”

Mr Mayiga warned that he has friends from across the political and religious divides and he would only pick fights with those who “disrespect the Kabaka.”

However, after thanking the President for accepting to return some of the kingdom’s properties, Mr Mayiga followed up quickly with a request for “even those which have not yet been returned” to be handed back to the kingdom. Mr Mayiga also reiterated Buganda’s demand for a federal system of government. It is not yet clear, however, how the MoU will be executed, especially whether the President will fund the pledges using his President’s Office budget on official donations or seek a special vote under the national budget.

At the function, the Kabaka was carried shoulder-high by men from the Mbogo (buffalo) clan. He wore bark cloth on top of a white kanzu (tunic), complete with a leopard skin. One of the Kabaka’s traditional names is “Leopard.”

Mr Mutebi waved to the ecstatic crowd on arrival, proceeding to greet the President, Vice President Edward Ssekandi and former Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga. He greeted other traditional leaders before proceeding to pay respect to the royal drums. The royal drums were sounded immediately the Kabaka sat on the Crown, in a manner reminiscent of the gun salute. The drums were sounded 20 times, to mark 20 years of the king on the throne.

What Museveni, Kabaka agreed

According to the memorandum of understanding signed by President Museveni and the Kabaka on Friday evening, the government agreed to return all counties’ and sub-counties’ administrative buildings and land, Jesa Farm on Mityana Road, Mutesa House in London, which was sold by the Milton Obote government, Plot 52 on Kampala Road which houses King Fahd Plaza, and all land belonging to the kingdom.

In addition, kingdom land which tenants have “illegally” occupied over the years is to be returned but Mengo and the central government will decide on the fate of those tenants. All markets belonging to the kingdom are to be retuned but those under construction or already built will be subject for further discussion between Mengo and central government. The government will also renew all leases of property that had elapsed during the time the kingdom had been abolished.

In addition, the government promised to pay more than Shs20 billion in accrued rent arrears to Buganda Kingdom in 2014/15 financial year and to guarantee the Kabaka free movement in any part of the Buganda and Uganda. The Kabaka undertook to allow the government to continue renting some of its properties and to respect people of different cultures within the kingdom, notably the Banyala and Baruli who will practise their culture freely. Both parties agreed to put in place a committee to oversee the implementation of the agreement which became effective August 1, 2013.

Source — Sunday Monitor

About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


Be the first to comment!

Leave a Response