May 31, 2013

Bunyoro Silent On Bagungu Secession Claims

Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom officials are still silent on a move by the Bagungu community to break away and form their own kingdom.

Last week a group of Bagungu unveiled a plan to break away from Bunyoro to form Obukama Bwa Bugungu or Bugungu Kingdom.

Edward Kabagambe, a member of the 15 man committee pushing for the Bugungu kingdom told Redpepper Online that the cultural institution is intended to preserve the Kigungu culture now facing extinction.

Although the secession would mean a loss to Bunyoro in terms of territorial size and a host of natural resources like oil in Buliisa district, the kingdom is still silent on the matter.

Reverend Jackson Nsamba Kasozi, the Bunyoro prime minister says he has only heard of this in rumors. The prime minister says he needs time to inquire more and understand the whole issue before commenting.

Yolam Nsamba, the Omukama’s principal private secretary has continuously failed to answer repeated calls from our reporter for a comment on the matter.

The secession talk comes at a time the Omukama of Bunyoro Solomon Gafabusa Iguru is demanding a 12.5% share of the oil resources discovered in Hoima and Buliisa districts.

Culturally, the Omukama owns all natural resources in the kingdom in trust of his subjects. Bugungu’s breakaway means the king will lose trusteeship of all the natural resources in that area.

Fears are high among some locals in the kingdom that the Bugungu secession will affect Bunyoro’s push for oil demands since majority of the oil sites will fall in the new kingdom.

The Gungu or Bagungu people live on the northeastern shores of Lake Albert near River Nile, at the bottom of the Rift Valley.

The Bagungu are part of the many ethnic communities that make up Bunyoro Kingdom. They play host to the Bugungu Wildlife conservation area, a major tourist potential.  Some Bagungu also live in the hills above the valley. Most of them live in Buliisa district, Kigorobya in Hoima district and some parts of Masindi district.

According to the website httpss://www.thetask.net/gungu/the-gungu-people, by 2005 the Bagungu population was approximately 49,000. Their major economic activity is fishing and subsistence farming.

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