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Fresh elections to select new ‘King’ for Bugisu

John Amram

Inzu Ya Masaba to Conduct Fresh Elections for Umukuuka

Mbale, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A consultative meeting convened by the Gender, Labor and Social Development Minister, Frank Tumwebaze to end the stalemate over the cultural leader of Inzu Ya Masaba has resolved to conduct fresh elections.

The closed-door meeting that lasted for over eight hours in Wapakhabulo Auditorium in the Foreign Affairs Ministry involved the two claimants for the position of the Bukuka Jude Mike Mudoma and Amram Wagabyalire.

The meeting also involved some Resident District Commissioners and legislators from Bugisu. Addressing journalists, shortly the meeting, Tumwebaze, said that both claimants were irregularly elected because the cultural council that forms the Electoral College was split and the speaker impeached.

As a result, the two factions went ahead to elect parallel leaders. However, Tumwebaze says that Inzu ya Masaba cannot have a leader who was not elected by consensus.

Tumwebaze says that government cannot impose a cultural leader on the Bamasaba but can only foresee the rightful process to have one leader installed. He said whoever claims to have been elected as the Umukuka ceases to be until fresh elections are held.

He asked other cultural institutions with similar disputes to resolve them; saying the government will not gazette any leader from cultural institutions with conflicts.

The Umukuka is elected on a rotational basis from nine clans. This time, Inda Wa Mwambu clan is the one supposed to present a cultural leader. Jude Mike Mudoma, one of the conflicting leaders, says that he is content with the resolution of the meeting and is optimistic that it shall end the conflicts and restore peace among the Bamasaba.

Budadiri East MP, Vincent Wabwoya who also attended the meeting welcomed the decision to conduct fresh elections. He hopes that in a week’s time, they shall be able to have a council and elect a new cultural leader.

The Culture State Minister, Peace Mutuuzo, says Bamasaba in Kenya (Babukusu) are not allowed to vote during the search for the cultural leader, saying that only those who are bound by the Ugandan constitution, which establishes cultural institutions are eligible to vote.     The dispute in Inzu Ya Masaba started at the expiry of the term of office for the late Umukuka Bob Mushikori. A group of clan leaders demanded immediate elections for his successor, but the process dragged on because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which could not allow for large gatherings.

As a result, a group of clan leaders went ahead to declare Mudoma the new Umukuka drawing protests from Mushikori. Fresh elections were held under the guidance of Mushikori leading to the election of Amran Wagabyalire.

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