Thursday, November 19, 2009

Uganda: Cabinet approves new bill on kings

The law includes a clause that not only bars kings and chiefs from engaging in politics but also prohibits politicians from riding on kingdoms.

The kings and chiefs under the Forum for Kings and Cultural Leaders pledged loyalty to the sovereign state of Uganda and work as peers.

They asked the Government to increase payment to the traditional leaders, fund their activities, give them budgetary allocations and grant them royalties to natural resources, including oil...

Here is a copy of the full story by New Vision (Uganda) Thursday, November 19, 2009 - via afrika.no - Uganda: Cabinet approves new bill on kings
Kampala (Uganda) — President Yoweri Museveni told cultural leaders yesterday that the Cabinet has approved the draft Bill on traditional leaders. The law includes a clause that not only bars kings and chiefs from engaging in politics but also prohibits politicians from riding on kingdoms, he noted.
He was addressing kings and chiefs at a three-day Forum for Kings and Cultural Leaders at Masindi Hotel. Only the Kabaka of Buganda was absent.

"We have enough politicians. Kings should not interfere in politics but also politicians should not interfere with cultural institutions. It's both ways," Museveni said.

Citing outspoken leaders Ken Lukyamuzi, Geoffrey Ekanya and Kabakumba Matsiko, the President said each region had a sufficient stock of strong politicians. "Kings becoming politicians? This would be over-supply."

The President said politicians have enough work to pre-occupy them, such as building roads and fighting corruption, and do not need to get involved in cultural affairs.

Museveni seemed to be preaching to the converted. The traditional leaders, under the chairmanship of the Omukama (king) of Bunyoro, Solomon Solomon Iguru, in a memorandum pledged to distance themselves from politics.

"We call upon the Government to put in place measures to stop the interference of politicians with the affairs of cultural institutions and also to stop cultural leaders meddling in partisan politics or being used as platforms for disgruntled politicians," said the memorandum.

The kings and chiefs under the Forum for Kings and Cultural Leaders pledged loyalty to the sovereign state of Uganda and work as peers.

They asked the Government to increase payment to the traditional leaders, fund their activities, give them budgetary allocations and grant them royalties to natural resources, including oil.


They also asked the Government to implement the regional tier and correct the past historical injustices. "We in particular support the Omukama of Bunyoro-Kitara to secure justice, including rights to land denied to his subjects in Kibale," the memo said.

The kings also navigated the sticky issue of the restoration and coronation of Prince John Barigye as the king of Ankole.

"We request the Government to reconsider recognition of the Omugabe of Ankole. The kingdom of Ankole having existed for over 600 years is a wealth of cultural assets that we cannot afford to see going to waste and neglect as it is currently happening."

The leaders condemned ritual killings, rampant corruption and high power tariffs. In response, Museveni said he would ask the NRM Caucus to amend the law so that murderers, rapists, defilers and people charged with corruption can only be given bail after 180 days.

"Then the fight against corruption will be easy. Now it's like a game. A person is charged and he applies for bail and he is released."

He promised institutions that missed out on money for bonna bagaggawale that they would be catered for in the next budget, and that support to cultural leaders would increase on a monthly basis. On the Ankole king, Museveni said the traditional institutions were restored only in areas where people cherished them. He said none of the six districts of Ankole made a resolution demanding for Obugabe.

Asked to introduce himself, Banyala head Baker Kimeze caused unease when he thanked Museveni for the way he handled the Kayunga issue.

"Allow me to thank you for the true spirit of statesmanship you exhibited while handling the issue of Kayunga. My people are grateful for the protection given to them when Mengo organised thugs to loot and possibly erase the Banyala," Kimeze said.

Earlier, Bunyoro prime minister Kiiza told the president that all cultural institutions had sent representatives apart from the "notable absence" of the one "who cannot come where the Ssabanyala and Sabaruli are".

Apart from the king of Bunyoro, present were also the kings of Bunyala, Buruli, Jopadhola and Bamasaba, and the Rwot of Lango. The other cultural leaders had sent representatives.

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