Uganda’s kings, cultural leaders and chiefs establish a uniting Forum at a one-day conference at Masindi Hotel March 14, 2009
A congregation of more than fifty of Uganda’s kings, cultural leaders and chiefs and their prime ministers, and ministers, who met at Masindi Hotel March 14, resolved to establish a legal Kings’ forum with a fully fledged Secretariat, based at Kabuusu, Kampala.
Chaired by the Omukama of Bunyoro-Kitara, Solomon Gafabusa Iguru, the one-day conference attended by nearly all of Uganda kings and cultural leaders except the Kabaka of Buganda, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi, resolved to transform their forum into a registered legal entity with a permanent Secretariat located at Kabuusu in Kampala on a land which was donated by the Kamuswaga of Kooki, His Highness Apolo Isansa II.
To kick-start the Kings Forum their majesties contributed nearly fifteen million Uganda Shillings. While the Omukama of Bunyoro-Kitasra chaired the conference, the Master of Ceremonies was Bunyoro-Kitara’s Speaker of the kingdom’s Parliament, Orukurato Orukuro orw’obukama bwa Bunyoro-Kitara, Rev. Fr. Bonevantura Kyaligonza.
The Speaker informed the Forum that the European Union, which is already organizing another large Cultural Heritage conference in Bunyoro-Kitara in May this year, has pledged to give financial backing to the Kings Forum as long as the body is impeccably transparent and has in place qualified and highly responsible officials to manage the funds of the Forum. Other bodies to assist the Forum are the Uganda Ministry of Gender and USAID.
Noting the absence of the Buganda kingdom delegation, the Kamuswaga of Kooki, Apolo Isansa proposed, and the proposal was adopted, the Forum send a high-powered delegation to Buganda Kingdom Government to explain the kingdom the benefits and objectives of the Kings’ Forum and how it is intended to uplift the economic, cultural and social well-being of the population in their regions.
Their Majesties made it very clear that the Kings and all Traditional and Cultural leaders need the participation of Buganda Kingdom in this Forum.
Conspicuously present and seated next to the Omukama of Bunyoro-Kitara, were The Isaabaruuli of Buruuli, Mwatysansozi Mwogeza Butamanya Omubwijwa, The Isaabanyala of Bunyala Capt. Kimeze Beeka Mpagi Byarufu.
The Traditional Rulers of Acholi, Alur, Bamasaaba, Tororo, Teso, attended in person.
Nine resolutions adopted.
The Forum which consisted of Kings, Traditional rulers and cultural leaders, chiefs and their Prime ministers, Principal Private Secretaries, and other ministers, all totaling over fifty, passed the following nine resolutions:
- All kings, cultural leaders and chief to speak with one strong voice.
- The Forum to urge the Uganda Government to speed up the formation of the Regional Ties system which was agreed upon by Uganda’s Parliament.
- The Forum to urge the Uganda to resume the policy of paying royalities to kings and cultural leaders as it was in the past.
- The Forum to support Bunyoro-Kitara’s demand for the Uganda Government to redress the historical wrongs and injustices in the form of the seven lost counties which were donated and annexed to Buganda kingdom to reward Buganda for her role in assisting British colonizers to colonise Uganda.
- To register the forum as the National Kings, Cultural leaders and chiefs Forum so that it acquires legality.
- To streamline the cultural institutions so that there is no consideration of anyone of them as being on top of the others.
- To strongly advocate and initiate policies to develop, promote and teach our cultural languages and begin examining them from infant schools up to University level.
- The Forum Secretariat to organize regular press conferences in order to create good, brotherly, and friendly relations with the press. At these press conferences all issues will be addressed by Forum officials either from the Secretariat or as the Forum will see fit.
- To advocate for the unity of all the people of Uganda and African in general.
While all participants were given a chance to contribute ideas, the key note speech was given by the chairman of the Forum, His Majesty Rukirabasaija the Omukama of Bunyoro-Kitara.
Omukama Iguru said, in part,
“We must, as kings, traditional rulers, and cultural leaders convey our collective gratitude to the Government of Uganda for creating an enabling climate for the kingdoms and cultural institutions, and chiefdoms to thrive and serve the people of Uganda with commitment to the sovereign state of Uganda.
“We resolved to speak with one voice but over the last year the kings, traditional rulers and cultural leaders have not been audible enough advocating for critical, social and cultural development needs for their mutual benefits and the befits of our subjects.
“We decided to open and facilitate a secretariat for the Forum of Kings, Traditional rulers and cultural leaders in Uganda to handle the day to day activities including transformation of the Forum into a legal entity. This has not yet been done.
“There is need to urge the Government of Uganda to implement the Regional Tier that parliament has already enacted into law. The delay has not been explained to our satisfaction. Our collective voice must be heard loud and clear.
There is need to call upon all stakeholders to know the value of land, to protect their rights on it, to correct all historical errors related to land and to secure appropriate legal rights.
There is need for collective mobilization for development of all our subjects that willingly pay allegiance to kings and traditional rulers and cultural leaders. Our subjects must see opur functional value.
After our last meeting came the Lira Declaration that we all signed and have a duty to implement through collective development programmes for cooperating kingdoms and chiefdoms of Uganda and together seeking development partners to fund them and in particular the European Union and other willing partners. We cannot afford to lose this opportunity.
It is a felt need in all our institutions that we must ask the Government of Uganda to resume payment of royalties to kingdoms and chiefdoms on forests, game reserves, plantation agriculture and minerals/oil and gas and other natural resources in the various kingdoms and chiefdoms and to lobby members of Parliament in the various kingdoms and chiefdoms to support related changes in the constitution and laws of Uganda.
It is now obvious that we must work together to promote the unity of Uganda, Eastern Africa, and the entire continent of Africa.
We must call upon development partners to identify themselves with the Forum of Kings, Traditional Rulers, and Cultural Leaders and to support their collective programmes and activities.
There is need for cultivate productive partnership between the press and Kings, Traditional Rulers nd /cultural leaders in Uganda for mutual benefit to replace current malicious publication and sensational reporting by a section of the press.
We need to workd together to promote peace, reconsilitation and ethic co-existence and reverse the historical distortions and errors that have led to ethnic strife emanting from colonial rule.
We need to pool resources to promote and support research, documentation and preservation of culture, arts, languages, customs and our entire cultural heritage and encourage cultural exchange and sharing of experience through inter-kingdom exchanges and meetings.
Finally, it is with great pleasure that I invite you to Hoima to participate in the Europe-Uganda Cultural Village scheduled to be mounted at Hoima in May 2009.
Ends the key note address by Omukama Soloomon Gafabusa Iguru.
Henry Ford Miirima
Press Secretary of the OMukama of Bunyoro-Kitara