Tooro King Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV used his 18th coronation anniversary to ask the government of President Museveni to return the Kingdom’s property.
In his speech, King Oyo thanked President Museveni for returning Buganda’s property, but said that the government should also return what belongs to Tooro Kingdom. Using a Rutooro proverb, the 21-year-old monarch said ‘Nyineeka Obwaba nateera omwana, ateera boona’, literally meaning, the head of the family should treat all his children equally.
He also said he has instituted a team that will negotiate with government for the return of the Kingdom property. He said that once the property is returned, it will be put to good use to develop the kingdom.
Last month, as Buganda celebrated 20 years of Kabaka Mutebi’s coronation, President Museveni signed a memorandum of Understanding with the Kingdom detailing a programme for the return of their assets.
Oyo also thanked his mother, Best Kemigisa and President Museveni for looking after him since 1995 when he was crowned King at the age of three.
Reacting to the King’s request, President Museveni said that there was no problem with returning the assets, but cautioned the people in the Rwenzori region to desist from ethnic conflicts. He said the conflicts have affected the region and divided ethnic groups, which have lived as brothers and sisters for a long time.
He said that cultural and religious leaders in the region should promote peace.
Some of the property that Tooro Kingdom demands from government includes the County headquarters that are currently being occupied by districts in Kamwenge, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo and Kabarole. The assets were forcefully taken from kingdoms by the central government in 1966, when the then President Milton Obote abolished traditional institutions and made Uganda a republic. At the time of the abolition, Busongora and Bwamba were part of Tooro Kingdom, but have since broken away to form their own kingdoms.
Delegations from Buganda Kingdom, Bunyoro, Rwenzururu, Busongora and Ankole also graced the occasion. Political leaders including the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, government Ministers, Legislators, Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and Uganda Federal Alliance President, Betty Kamya among others were also in attendance.
For the first time, Rwenzururu Kingdom sent a delegation to attend Empango, a move that could see the two institutions and their people mending ties after decades of hostility dating back to 1962, when the Bamba and Bakonzo leaders declared war on Tooro King accusing him of oppression.
The heavy downpour did not deter Oyo’s subjects from attending this year’s Empango at Karuziika in Fort Portal. Tents were erected in the palace gardens to accommodate the big number of guests. Six large TV screens were also installed in the gardens.