The Buganda clan leaders’ council has distanced itself from a group of individuals who recently met with President Museveni and requested Shs 9 billion to acquire land for their offices.
A reliable source within the council informed The Observer that the organizers of this initiative took these actions without informing or seeking consent from the leadership committee. Former Buganda minister Joyce Nabbosa Ssebuggwawo, who led the group, has been accused of attempting to deceive President Museveni by using opportunistic and self-serving individuals.
In a similar vein, Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga emphasized that all clan heads derive their authority from the Kabaka of Buganda and could face dismissal if they veer away from the cultural norms and principles.
During an address to the Buganda Lukiiko on August 28, Katikkiro Mayiga stressed that the Kabaka holds the authority to remove any clan head and even disband entire clans. He, therefore, cautioned these leaders against straying from the foundational principles of the Buganda kingdom, asserting that meaningful achievements require diligent effort.
Former Buganda Katikkiro Dan Muliika previously labeled the action of clan leaders meeting the president without the Kabaka’s or Katikkiro’s consent or direction as potentially treasonous.
In an interview with journalists over the weekend, Muliika conveyed that upon learning of this development, he promptly sought an audience with the Kabaka.
“I approached him to inquire if he was aware of this matter, and he indicated he had no knowledge about it. It’s disappointing that clan leaders convened such a meeting independently… We cannot foster unity if our leadership structure is fractured… Those clan leaders should issue a prompt apology to the Kabaka,” Muliika remarked.
When contacted, Omutaka Namwama, the head of the clan leaders’ council, said the issue was currently under investigation due to the lack of communication and presentation to the council by the individuals behind the initiative.
“The matter is now before the Kabaka for consideration. We will await his guidance,” Namwama stated.
In March of this year, the minister of state for ICT, Ssebuggwawo, orchestrated a meeting between President Museveni and purported clan leaders from Buganda. During this encounter, Ssebuggwawo lauded the gathering as representatives of Buganda’s clan heads, asserting that it would contribute to reconciling the strained relationship between Mengo and the president after three decades.
However, insider sources at Mengo reveal that this assembly does not authentically reflect the kingdom’s interests or its constituents due to the significant presence of unreliable elements.
According to sources, among the approximately 30 individuals present at the meeting, only about four held true leadership positions within Buganda’s extensive clan system. This discrepancy raises concerns, as the Buganda kingdom encompasses over 50 clans. The imbalance between the number of attendees and the number of authentic clan leaders raises questions about the group’s legitimacy. A source emphasized,
“You can’t assert to have engaged with Buganda clan heads when you’ve only met with four out of 50.”
In the gathering held at State House Entebbe, Omutaka Walusimbi Mbirozankya (head of the Ffumbe clan), Omutaka Nakigoye of the Kinyomo clan, and Samson Nabbimba Lukabya from Kyasa in Kyannamukaaka, Buddu, emerged as notable clan leaders.
Omutaka Kayiira Gajuule of the Mbogo clan, a member of the leadership council of clan leaders, said that this group independently approached the president and should not claim to represent Buganda’s interests.
He remarked, “It was simply wrong. I think they need some guidance… someone may have misled them. We need to sit them down, understand their motivations, and resolve this issue.”
During the Entebbe meeting, Walusimbi appealed to the president for assistance in acquiring two and a half acres of land near Bulange Mengo to establish their offices and undertake developmental projects benefiting the kingdom. Museveni pledged to secure Shs 9 billion for this endeavor in the 2023/2024 financial year.
Allegedly, the group reengaged with the president recently, and he confirmed the availability of the funds. A source at Mengo stated, “They met him again and he agreed to buy them land. Additionally, each attendee received Shs 20 million in cash.”
Walusimbi confirmed the acquisition of the land and the initiation of construction for administrative and business facilities resembling the Bulange and Masengere buildings. He also criticized people like Muliika, dismissing their opinions by asserting that they lacked significant standing within Buganda’s leadership structure.
Mengo’s relationship with the central government has been strained in recent years, largely due to allegations of Buganda kingdom’s support for opposition groups.
Tensions escalated during the 2021 election campaigns when Mengo’s leaders were accused of backing Robert Kyagulanyi against Museveni. Kyagulanyi eventually secured a victory over Museveni in Buganda, and numerous NRM candidates, including ministers, suffered defeat at the hands of his National Unity Platform (NUP) flag-bearers.
Buganda had accused Museveni’s government of human rights violations in suppressing opposition dissent. Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi publicly criticized the state’s actions on several occasions.
Some political observers suggest that recent developments hint at Museveni’s willingness to go to great lengths to regain favor with Buganda. Yet, concerns linger over the authenticity of these attempts.
“The president was duped because those people he met are mere self-seekers and cannot influence anything in Mengo,” stated a source with insights into Mengo politics.
Additionally, claims arose that Walusimbi, the leader of the so-called “Bataka,” is currently under investigation at the Buganda court (Kisekwa) for the questionable occupancy of his office. Furthermore, Ssebuggwawo’s credibility as a peace broker has been challenged, as her shift from FDC to NRM overnight, driven by the promise of a ministerial role, raised doubts about her motives.
Ultimately, the unfolding narrative reveals that a group of questionable legitimacy met with the president, presenting themselves as clan leaders of Buganda. This incident raises concerns about the true intentions behind their actions and the potential consequences of their interactions with Museveni.
Source: The Observer