A week after installing a rival Kyabazinga, Prince Columbus Wambuzi, at Nakabango, Maureen Kyalya has continued to stoke tensions with her harsh criticism of government’s role in the search for a Busoga king.
On August 23, 10 out of 11 hereditary chiefs ‘chose’ Prince Wilberforce William Kadumbula Nadiope Gabula IV as king. Six days later, Kyalya, a presidential aisor on poverty alleviation in the sub-region, led the group that declared Prince Columbus Wambuzi king, complicating efforts to end the six-year deadlock in the search for a Kyabazinga.
In an interview with The Observer on Friday, a defiant Kyalya said people in Busoga didn’t know what government was trying to demonstrate in backing the election of Prince Gabula IV as king.
“The dilemma in our kingdom is that the government remained tightlipped on whether they want to put back an administrative unit at Bugembe [Busoga Kingdom seat] like the one the colonialists had or their interest is the reinstallation of the cultural institution in Busoga,” Kyalya said.
The presidential aisor is worried that with the enthronement of Gabula, the Busoga culture would die. A cultural leader, she says, must be someone who understands the culture, norms, tradition and the traditional religion of his ancestors.
Two sets of 11 hereditary chiefs:
“They [government] want him because he has attachments to Parliament, State House and he is known to Prince Charles of the United Kingdom. This makes him fit to be a Kyabazinga if government is looking for an administrator,” Kyalya said.
“Truly, if government wants an agent in Busoga, Gabula is the best choice but if they want us to have a king, he is unfit because he does not even know our culture.”
She contends that the 11 royal chiefs that government and many people know are not legitimate. She said royal chiefs were supposed to be heirs to their fathers who are custodians of the cultural heritage of Busoga, but not ‘just’ elected by their clan members.
“When you look at the list of the so-called chiefs who elected Gabula, you can just laugh because it is full of impostors,” Kyalya said, adding that she had a list of legitimate chiefs.
The 10 chiefs who chose Gabula include Wellington Tabingwa (Luuka), Samuel Kamaga (Bukono), Samuel Nkuutu Zirabamuzaale (Bugweri), Yokonia Isiko Kisiki (Busiki), Patrick Izimba (Kigulu), Kawunhe Daudi Wakooli (Bukooli), Ntembe Yasini Waguma (Butembe), William Wilberforce Nadiope Kadumbula Gabula IV and Juma Munhulo Luba (Bunya) who chaired the meeting.
But Kyalya, a princess, insists these are not authentic. According to the pro-Wambuzi group, the ‘true’ 11 chiefs are Edward Columbus Wambuzi Zibondo XXXIII (Bulamogi), Kadumbula Wilson Gabula VI (Bugabula), Daniel Waluube Obodha Ngobi XXIV (Kigulu), Robert Yokonnna Mukajanga Luba VII (Bunya) and Willy Nabwana Tabingwa (Luuka).
Others are David Kibubuka Wakooli XXXVII (Bukooli), Daniel Nanhumba III (Bunhole Butamba), Mesulamu Nabbong Kisiginyi XVII (Busiki), Charles Mutyaba Nkono XX (Bukono), Midard Muwanika Ntembe (Butembe) and Darausi Mukama Menha VII (Bugweri). Kyalya says these chiefs are known to the president.
“From August 19 to 20, these chiefs were in a workshop organised by the ministry of Gender. Do you think government would spend money on them if it did not know them? Prince Wambuzi and his team are the only hereditary chiefs we have in Busoga, the rest are appointees,” she said.
Asked why she is veering off her docket and meddling in cultural issues, Kyalya said she is acting at the urging of the president.
“He [Museveni] instructed me to find out the root causes of extreme poverty in this region. But when I visited 97 of the 99 sub-counties that comprise Busoga, I was told by the locals that poverty was a result of a lack of cultural leadership,” she said.
But she was surprised that her actions were not welcomed by some people. “I had to mobilise the chiefs. I did not know it would hurt our [Busoga]heavyweights to the extent of even fighting me. You know here we have a tendency of pulling down whoever comes up,” she said.
Kyalya, a former opposition FDC loyalist, crossed to the ruling NRM in February 2012. She said then that NRM was the only party that could bring services closer to the people. She was later appointed as presidential aisor on poverty alleviation in Busoga sub-region.
“But even if it means losing my job, I am ready. I was born a Musoga and I have a reason to believe that long after my job is gone I will remain a Musoga. If my job is to go in the name of helping my people, I am ready to lose it,” she said.
Kyalya blamed the confusion in the kingdom on the sub-region’s political heavyweights who wanted to be seen as the pillars and heroes of Busoga. She singled out Speaker Rebecca Kadaga. Kyalya said such people were rolling the name of Prince Wambuzi in the mud.
The presidential aide said when the pro-Gabula team met the president, it politically framed up Wambuzi in four ways.
“They alleged that ‘our’ kyabazinga moves in the company of sluts [prostitutes], he is a drunkard, has dreadlocks and that he was a public nuisance,” she said.
And the pro-Gabula group is angry that leaders in Busoga have not warmed up to the king yet. Since he was chosen on August 23, word from Bugembe has it that only Kamuli deputy RDC Emmy Mitala, Kamuli LC-5 chairperson Salaamu Musumba, Namutumba district Woman MP Florence Mutyabule and Lands Minister Daudi Migereko have congratulated Gabula.
“We are counting whoever congratulates him and, to be honest, we are taking note of them. You see, we shall isolate them and ensure they lose their seats in 2016,” one kingdom official said.
But Jinja RDC Gulume Balyaino scoffed at the threat.
“Supporting Gabula is not by law and no one is under obligation to support either him or Prince Wambuzi,” Gulume told The Observer by telephone on Friday.
He said as RDC, he could not congratulate or recognise any of the two parallel kings.
“Because whoever is aggrieved shall run to my office for assistance,” he said.
Daudi Kawunhe Wakooli, the outgoing acting Kyabazinga has asked President Museveni not to attend Gabula’s coronation, because he could lose support. In a letter to Museveni, Kawunhe reportedly explains why he announced Gabula as the ‘legitimate’ Kyabazinga and six days later gave the tools of power to a parallel Kyabazinga, Wambuzi.
“He told the president that he was coerced by some very powerful politicians in the sub-region to sign the documents that approved Gabula,” Kawunhe’s aide said on Friday.
“Gabula cannot call himself a Kyabazinga when he has never been given the instruments of power. Therefore Mzee [Kawunhe] had to inform Museveni about everything to avoid humiliating the person of the president,” the aide added.
President Museveni met and congratulated Gabula. But Kenneth Lubogo, the Bulamogi MP, was the first to ask the president to drop Gabula. Lubogo said that it would be an abuse of the rule of law if the president attended the coronation of Gabula, a Kyabazinga, chosen in a manner that violates the constitution of Busoga.
“The people who elected Gabula did it illegally. Juma Munhulo (Bunya) chaired the meeting that elected Gabula yet the chief prince (Kawunhe) was there and he is the only person with the mandate of chairing such a meeting,” Lubogo said.
Wambuzi speaks out:
Prince Wambuzi maintains that he will not allow Prince Gabula to occupy Bugembe – the kingdom seat. Wambuzi, who claims he was elected by the 11 hereditary chiefs on October 31, 2008, blames the infighting in the kingdom on ‘some political giants’.
“Some of them would have treated us all as their sons but it is a pity that instead of being our mothers, they have worked hard to divide us,” he said on Friday.
He added that he had lost a good friend in Gabula.
“Before their interference, I and my brother Gabula were good friends but the moment they came in, we lost our very vital and good relationship,” Wambuzi said.
He threatened to sue government if Gabula was enthroned on September 13.
“Court will decide my fate but not the speaker of Parliament or the president. But it is bad for the speaker who passes laws and the president who signs them to be the ones behind the illegal enthronement of a king,” he said.
Kadaga couldn’t be reached for a comment at the weekend.
Source : The Observer