Buganda demands over UGX 200bn in rent arrears from Central gov’t
Buganda kingdom has asked the central government to clear its outstanding debt with the cultural institution amounting to over UGX213bn accumulated over many years through non-payment of rental fees on several properties.
While addressing Buganda’s Lukiiko ‘Parliament’ on Monday May 10, at the Kingdom seat in Mengo, Kampala, Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga, complained why the central government was eager to pay individual claimants for their land, but has never thought of paying Buganda’s debt.
Katikkiro Mayiga cited Nsamya Military Baracks, as one of Buganda’s properties that the central government continues to occupy. Other properties include several ministries such as that of Internal Affairs, Education, Local Government, Lands, Works and Transport and others. The other entities are Uganda Railways Corporation, various districts and sub county headquarters, Makindye, Mbuya and Bombo military barracks and many courts.
Mayiga said Kabaka needs that money to be able to solve some of the challenges including unemployment, education and healthcare of his people.
On Kabaka’s health
The Lukiiko sitting was the first event since the Kabaka’s made his last official appearance at which he commemorated his 66th birthday.
The absence of the Kabaka at the start of the Lukiiko as is the norm, was yet another reminder of the fact that his health is not back to normal.
Following the celebrations that were marked by a public outcry over Kabaka’s poor healthy, the Katikkiro has been put on the offensive over his handling of the fall-out. Many Buganda loyalists questioned why Katikkiro had kept quiet about Kabaka’s visibly poor health. Others felt that Katikkiro had intentionally sought to depict Kabaka and Buganda in bad light by not advising Kabaka to stay out of the public’s glare when in fact he wasn’t in good health.
Katikkiro has since blamed the scathing criticism on idle talk or useless rumour-mongering which he said is prevalent on social media platforms.
During his address on Monday, he again appeared to defend himself against perceived failures.
“You hear a lot [of criticism] being made [against us] on social media platforms, (but we are judged on our achievements, and not by what is being said about us. After all, all leaders are subjects of discussion.”
In recent days Katikkiro has appeared willing to change his stance from avoiding to address the subject of Kabaka’s health to openly talking about it.
At Bulange on Monday, Mayiga said: “Ssaabasajja Kabaka wadde mukosefu, naye ajja kuteleera bulungi.” Translated as, Although unwell, His Majesty the King will be fine.”
On Museveni’s new Kisanja
Katikkiro Mayiga also used his addressed to challenge the newly elected government of President to address many grievances of the people of Buganda and Uganda at large.
And as President Museveni embarked in his 6th term in office that will see him clock 40 years in power, Mayiga challenged him to reflect on the key things that they say forced them to pick guns to fight the governments of Obote, Lutwa and others.
Mayiga cited Human Rights and Justice as the principles that still elude Museveni’s government. He asked the central government to revert to these principles.
“We urge that the core issues that brought this government to power which include human rights, justice to be strengthened,” he said.
He repeated Buganda’s demand for semi-autonomy under what is generally known as Federalism or Federo system of government.
Mayiga also reiterated an earlier call by the Kabaka for the central government to give justice to all political prisoners that were arrested during and after the 2021 electoral process.
“All these political prisoners have relatives who include wives and children and other people who depend on them. We strongly and humbly plead that government gives them justice by taking them to courts of law for a free and fair trail.” He added that: “Continued dentition of people is a great loss to the country as it also brings about tension.” he said.
On torture of journalists
Mayiga voiced Buganda’s opposition to the harassment of journalists by security forces. He said that instead of harassing journalists, the government should instead fix the problems and ills that draw the attention of the journalists and the society generally.
“Beatings, torture and threatening of journalists has continued to be rampant, these people do us a commendable job and if it wasn’t for them, the country wouldn’t be informed and progressing,” he said.