President Yoweri Museveni has reconnected with the clan heads of Buganda (Bataka), 30 years after restoring Buganda kingdom in 1993.
It should be noted that following Uganda’s independence in 1962, Buganda kingdom was abolished by Uganda’s first Prime Minister Milton Obote in 1966 declaring Uganda a republic.
Following years of disturbance under Obote and dictator Idi Amin, as well as several years of internal divisions among the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party since 1986, President Museveni officially restored Buganda Kingdom in 1993 with King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, the 36th Kabaka of Buganda on the throne up to date.
“Some of those NRM people opposed the restoration of kingdoms saying it would escalate tribalism, but we explained to them how their existence would be of importance. We told them that the central government has a lot of work to do in keeping peace, developing the infrastructure and then kingdoms would concentrate on promoting good cultures and instilling good morals in society,” H.E Museveni said, adding that as freedom fighters, they believed in culture as the core of development if they are well audited to leave out the bad ones.
The President made the remarks while addressing a section of the Buganda clan heads (the Bataka) at State House Entebbe on Wednesday led by the State Minister for Information Technology and National Guidance, Owekitiibwa Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo.
The President recalled the meeting he had in August 1981 with Prince Ronald Mutebi then with the late Prof. Lule and they had agreed to restore Buganda’s status like it was before the 1966 crisis.
“On my way to Libya I passed via London and Prof Lule linked me up with Prince Mutebi (now the Kabaka). Culture is good but it must be harmonized with modernity. This has been our message up to now and I thank Hon. Nabbosa for coordinating us,” President Museveni further said, adding that the meeting with Buganda Clan heads (Bataka) is the beginning of a new chapter to have a systematic discussion of harmonizing culture and development.
“I’m happy that you have come. We must survive in the modern world. We should desist from using tribes and religions to divide Africans because we need to rebuild our economy, we need a bigger market both in Uganda and East Africa and Africa to become prosperous. We don’t want cultures that take us back,” H.E Museveni noted.
The President who boasted as a promoter of good cultures gave an example of the people in Ankole who ended up getting lost after deviating from the new modern cultures.
“For example, in Ankole people used to take milk which is not boiled, and it was normal but we later told them it’s not as healthy and they changed. If a girl menstruated, among the Banyankore it was a sign that she was ready for marriage, but this was wrong,” H.E Museveni highlighted.
The Minister of State for ICT Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo thanked the President for meeting the clan heads of Buganda (Bataka), saying it will go a long way in mending the relationship between Mengo and him after 30 years.
“Your Excellency, you very well know the history of Kingdoms and Buganda in particular. The Bataka (clan heads) are very important people in Buganda in instilling good cultures, discipline and promoting development,” Minister Nabbosa said.
Omutaka Nakigoye of Kinyomo clan, Nabbimba Lukabya Samson who hails from Kyasa in Kyannamukaaka, Buddu thanked the President for inviting them for a discussion. He however, expressed dismay over dismissal of about 85 percent of their land in Kyasa by the National Forestry Authority yet the land initially belonged to the Kinyomo clan and asked the president to intervene.
“Our people have been arrested several times. Our appeal as Kinyomo clan is, let there be a mechanism to let us keep that land for cultural purposes as we preserve the environment,” Omutaka Nabbimba said.
“With discussion, the clans can get permission to go and do their cultural activities without any problem. The forest and culture are not in conflict. There’s no problem at all,” President Museveni assured, adding that he is to set up a liaison office to help coordinate and receive feedback from Bataka.
Omutaka Walusimbi Mbirozankya, the head of the Ffumbe clan thanked the President for the peace not only in Uganda but also in the region. He reminded him of his message to the Somali National Army recently, saying only a peaceful country can develop.
“Mr. President, we thank you for the peace in Uganda. For all these years you have been in power we have not witnessed any war especially in Buganda,” Omutaka Walusimbi said. He appealed to the President to help them secure the 2 and half acres of land near Bulange Mengo which they need to set up their offices and other developmental ventures to benefit the Kingdom.
H.E Museveni promised to look for 2.5 million dollars in the July Financial year and buy land for them.
Owekitiibwa Ssewava Sselubiri hailed the President for standing firm against immoral acts such as Homosexuality and promised him support. He also thanked him for fighting COVID-19 pandemic out of Uganda and his endless messages against HIV Aids.
President Museveni has on several occasions urged cultural and religious leaders to instil morals among Ugandans, saying it is the only way the country and citizens can benefit from the contributions of both institutions.