Wednesday, November 4, 2009




Kabaka Ronald Mutebi has called for a special session of Buganda’s parliament (Lukiiko) in which he is expected to rally his subjects behind the kingdom in its political contest against the central government.

The Lukiiko, which will meet on Monday, is the highest decision- making body in the kingdom. It comprises of elders, 18 county chiefs, ministers, youth and special interest groups’ representatives, delegates from districts and representatives from other communities in the kingdom.

Traditionally, the Kabaka addresses the Lukiiko once a year and last addressed its members on August 24 during the opening of its 17th session.

However, relations between Buganda Kingdom and the central government are at their lowest after the September riots that claimed 27 lives after the Kabaka was prevented from visiting Kayunga.

The kingdom’s radio station remains closed; several pro-Kabaka politicians are facing charges and President Museveni is pushing through amendments to the Land Bill opposed by Buganda.

Kingdom officials told Daily Monitor that the Kabaka would seek to use the special session of the Lukiiko to try and swing the pendulum of support among political and opinion leaders in Buganda back to the kingdom’s demands.

“Top on the agenda will be the blocking of the Kabaka from visiting to Kayunga, outcome of the talks between the Kabaka and the President well as his (Museveni) stand on federalism,” the clerk to Lukiiko, Mr David Ntege, told Daily Monitor yesterday.

MPs invited

“We have also invited all MPs and LC5 chairpersons from Buganda kingdom to attend this special session,” Mr Ntege added.

The Lukiiko will also discuss the proposed amendments to the Land Bill and the proposed expansion of the boundaries of Kampala City further into Buganda territory.

Officials at Mengo, the seat of Buganda Kingdom, criticise both plans as central government attempts to weaken the kingdom and grab its land.
The delayed reopening of the kingdom’s CBS radio will also form part of the discussions, according to Mr Ntege.

CBS was shut down during the September riots over allegations that it was inciting violence. Two out of three other radio stations closed at the same time over similar allegations have since been reopened (see story on page 3).

In the aftermath of the riots, President Museveni and the Kabaka met for the first time in four years to try and repair relations between the two leaders and the governments they lead and exchanged position papers on their differences.

President Museveni handed out an olive branch to the Kabaka earlier this week when he said he had no personal problem with the Kabaka but is only opposed to the cultural leader getting involved in partisan politics in disregard for the law.

While it is not clear whether the Kabaka will strike a similarly reconciliatory tone when the Lukiiko meets, Medard Ssegona, the deputy information minister at Mengo, said yesterday they would not withdraw their demands.

“We haven’t moved an inch as far as our demands are concerned,” he said. “The strategy is still the same and we are pushing on.”
Political observers will be keenly following Buganda’s 80 MPs, many of whom find themselves torn between kingdom and party. After MPs in the ruling NRM party caucus passed the amendments to the Land Bill, legislators from the Buganda Caucus – many of whom belong to the ruling party – later declared they were opposed to clauses in the Bill.

Buganda is the largest tribe in the country and its central location gives it political potency ahead of the next election in 2011.