Buganda loyalists’ turnout at Monday’s 60th birthday anniversary celebrations of Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II remained high, unfettered by the heavy army and police deployment in the wake of recent terror alerts.
The loyalists trooped into Bulange, the seat of Buganda kingdom administration, in hundreds. The celebrations at Bulange came a week after police issued a new terror alert.
To insulate the celebrations from any insidious threat, all major roads to Bulange were closed to motorists for a bigger part of the day.
At about 10:15am, the Kabaka’s convoy snaked through the mammoth crowd on Kabakanjagala road. It took his convoy more than 10 minutes to cover the one-mile stretch from the Mengo palace (Lubiri) to Bulange, where he commissioned the newly-constructed Masengere commercial complex.
The complex was the kabaka’s special 60th birthday gift from his subjects. Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga said it cost about Shs 5bn, raised through the Ettoffaali fundraiser he launched soon after his appointment in May 2013.
“Ettoffaali was started in the spirit of our centuries-old practice of Bulungibwansi [community work] because the Baganda must be part of the development of the kingdom,” Mayiga said.
In championing the fundraiser, criticized by some in Buganda, Mayiga likened himself to an amplifier, amplifying the Kabaka’s call for the mobilization of Baganda toward development.
He commended the Buganda Land Board for drawing the initial plans for the completion of the project. Construction of this commercial complex at Mengo began in the 1970s at the urging of then President Idi Amin Dada who wanted to use it as the general military headquarters.
With Amin’s ouster in 1979, construction of the building stalled until last year. President Museveni, invited as chief guest, sent his vice Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, who presented a sleek Toyota Land Cruiser V8 as a birthday gift to the Kabaka.
“The president was meant to be here but because of some other pressing issues he had to attend to, he asked me to step in for him, and also present to you this birthday gift,” Ssekandi said as he pointed to the Shs 300m car.
Embattled Tooro King, Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV, Busoga kingdom premier Dr Joseph Muvawala as well as delegations from the kingdoms of Ankole and Bunyoro were among the attendees.
Source : The Observer