President Museveni has attacked Tooro Kingdom for demanding for the return of its assets that are in possession of the central government.
Speaking to Tooro Kingdom subjects at the King’s palace on Tuesday, Museveni said he is shocked that they are demanding for the assets and yet he had come to officiate at a different function.
Museveni was chief guest at the launch of the Tooro Queen Foundation. The foundation is a project that trains the needy and school drop-outs in practical skills like carpentry, bricklaying, hairdressing and tailoring.
Before the President spoke, the Queen Mother Best Kemigisa and Anthony Kalyegera, the Tooro Kingdom Youth Minister reminded the Museveni about the return of the kingdom assets, ebyaitu, which he promised at King Oyo’s coronation anniversary last year.
When it was his turn to speak, Museveni who appeared irritated, said that he had come to attend another function and therefore he doesn’t want to hear the Kingdom demand for return of it assets. He said that the Kingdom should instead stick to development other than spend time demanding for its assets.
In a surprise twist, President Museveni said that since all districts in Tooro Kingdom get their allocations every financial year from thecentral government and the assets they are demanding serve the local governments in the kingdom, the kingdom shouldn’t waste time discussing the return of the assets.
Museveni also told the subjects that he has been quiet for along time about the demands from the kingdom and that if he was to ever answer them, they wouldn’t like it.
The President’s response was received with murmurs and boos especially from the youths under their umbrella, ‘amacumune bitara bya rukirabasaija’ literally meaning the King’s Spears and Swords. The President’s comments have received criticism. Herbert Mugisa, one of the youth activists who has been at the forefront of the campaign toreturn the kingdom’s assets says that the President is diverting the people of Tooro, saying that they will not give up on the demand.
Mugisa said that this was the only opportunity the youths had to remind the president. He also says that they have often tried to meet and remind the President, but in vain.
The president’s comments will come as a disappointment to the subjects especially youths who expected a positive response. Two weeks ago, Amama Mbabazi, the Prime Minister said that the kingdom should be patient in their demands to return the assets .