Govt invites Mengo, Banyala, Baruuli leaders for talks

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The Office of the Attorney General has invited officials from Buganda Kingdom, Buruuli and Bunyala cultural groups for a meeting aimed at resolving longstanding disagreements between the kingdom and chiefdoms within Buganda.

In a January 17 letter, the Attorney General, Mr William Byaruhanga, said all parties will convene for a meeting on February 7 to discuss the modalities of implementing specific clauses of the agreement signed between President Museveni and Buganda Kingdom in 2013.

In the MoU signed between the government and Mengo three years ago, the former agreed to return all kingdom property, but when handing over some of the title deeds for Buganda, President Museveni warned Mengo not to evict tenants who have over the years occupied her land.

“You will recall that his excellence the President of Uganda while meeting a delegation from Buganda led by the Katikkiro promised to meet traditional leaders of Bunyala, Kooki and Buruuli to agree on the mechanism of implementing Clause (B) Sub-section (C) IV of the agreement. The said clause is indicated in the above agreement, but its mode of implementation was not provided,” the letter reads in part.The letter was also copied to Ms Flora Kiconco, the head of legal department of State House, Justice minister and the Solicitor General.

“Before the President meets the said traditional leaders,it would be prudent if we first have a meeting to agree on the modalities of implementing Clause (B) of sub-section (IV) of the agreement to guide the President on the way forward on this matter,” the letter adds.

Buruuli cultural leaders welcomed the development, saying such a meeting was long overdue.
“Our team is ready to attend the meeting and we pray that others also do the same,” Mr Samuel Kaweesi, the Buruuli Information minister, said yesterday.

Buganda Kingdom Information minister Noah Kiyimba said he had not yet received information about the said meeting and asked for more time to consult Katikkiro (prime minister) Charles Peter Mayiga, but Mr Baker Kimeze, the Ssabanyala, confirmed receiving the letter, saying his prime minister will represent him at the meeting.

Recently, Buganda Kingdom youth threatened to march to Kayunga District to dislodge Banyala loyalists who are currently occupying Baale County headquarters which they claim belongs to Buganda Kingdom. They accused the Banyala of forcibly taking over Buganda Kingdom property.

On the other hand, the Baruuli loyalists in Nakasongola District also claim Mengo has refused to honour the agreement signed between the government and Buganda Kingdom in respect to buildings and land in Nasongola Town which Baruuli cultural leaders claim belong to them.

Mengo officials in turn accuse the Baruuli of sabotaging Buganda activities in Nakasongola District yet Buruuli County constitutionally belongs to Buganda.

Last month, Security minister Henry Tumukunde, temporarily halted the reconstruction of Kabaka’s palace in Nakasongola District which was torched by unknown people to avert possible confrontation between the Baruuli and Buganda Kingdom loyalists.

The minister said government would soon release its findings regarding the disputed land in Nakasongola to ensure that Buruuli and Buganda are not at loggerheads.

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