Kampala, Uganda | INDEPENDENT | Charles Peter Mayiga, the Katikkiro of Buganda Kingdom says they are open to finding a lasting solution to their differences with Kooki Chiefdom.
There has been a bad relationship between Mengo and Kooki Chiefdom for over a decade. Mengo insists that Kooki is one of the counties under its territory while but Kooki insists it’s an independent cultural institution led by the Kamuswaga Apollo Ssansa Kabumbuli II.
The rivalry between the two cultural institutions played out on Tuesday when the Kamuswaga attempted to block Mayiga from visiting coffee farms in Kooki County on grounds of undermining his territorial integrity. Mayiga had to negotiate with security for close to six hours to clear his visit to Kooki for fear of possible violence.
Mayiga conducted his tour amidst tight security including armed personnel and several anti-riot trucks staged strategically in different corners in Kooki County.
In his speech to residents of Kyalurangira Sub County in Rakai district on Tuesday, Mayiga said Buganda kingdom is disturbed by the growing hostilities between the two intuitions, saying they would wish to resolve the matter amicably.
According to Mayiga, the conflicts arise from trivial issues that can easily be resolved, saying Mengo is open to constructive discussions to end the hostilities.
He encouraged hard work among the natives and challenged them to fully embrace coffee growing so as to improve their welfare, saying the Mengo government is committed to supplying them with more seedlings.
Gertrude Nakalanzi Ssebugwawo, the coordinator of Buganda kingdom projects in Kooki said they will not waver in performing their duties despite the underlying threats.
The conflict between Buganda and Kooki stems from what Kooki refers to as provocation by the Buganda Kingdom and undermining of the Chiefdom’s hereditary leader, the Kamuswaga, in contravention of an agreement signed 122 years ago by the leaders of the two cultural institutions.
Once an independent kingdom, Kooki became part of Buganda in 1896, through an allegiance agreement signed between the then Kamuswaga of Kooki Omukama Edward Kezekia Ndahura and Kabaka Daniel Mwanga of Buganda. At the time, Kooki was seeking protection against external invasion.
Although the agreement made Kooki, an integral part of Buganda, the chiefdom retained a unique status dubbed first class in the text of the agreement. Historical publications indicate that the Kamuswaga was accorded a special seat in Buganda’s parliament (Lukiiko), cultural privileges, and a right to preserve cultural autonomy.
But after more than a century of living in harmony, the relationship is threatened. Last year, the administration of Kooki petitioned Gender minister Hajat Janat Mukwaya to intervene and possibly put an end to the marginalization and continuous incitements from Mengo, that were aimed at undermining the chiefdom.
Kooki accused Mengo of deliberately dismantling the administration of Kooki Chiefdom by putting in place parallel leadership structures in Kooki, disregarding provisions that accorded the Kamuswaga a right to appoint his own sub-county and parish chiefs. As such, the Kooki cabinet indicated that they were considering legal redress to stop Mengo from crossing the boundaries and to fully recognize Kooki’s independence.
However, Godfrey Kimbugwe, the Kooki chiefdom Deputy Prime Minister says they are always open to discussions with Mengo on condition that the engagements are grounded on mutual respect.
According to him, they repeatedly sought for such engagements with the Mengo establishment, which adamantly chose to ignore the calls; rubbing the Kamuswaga a wrong way hence slapping a boycott on Buganda’s activities until they refrain from belittling Kooki.