As president Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni gears up to take oath on Wednesday to extend his rule to 40 years, Buganda Kingdom has asked him to return all its property in full.
While addressing the 28th special Lukiiko sitting on Monday at Bulange, Mengo, Katikkiro (Premier) Charles Peter Mayiga said the government should return property and pay money owed to the Kingdom.
“We demand government more than 215 Billion Shillings and some of the money is for rent arrears. The government has been paying individual landlords and this money is budgeted for…why doesn’t the government pay Buganda? This is money rightfully owed to the Kingdom”, Mayiga said.
The Katikkiro asserted that it’s only through such funds that Kabaka can take care of his subjects by providing health services, education and other necessities. He also revealed that the Kingdom will not relent in its demand for Federo.
The Katikkiro’s revelations come after a few weeks since the Kingdom issued a 45-day ultimatum to the Central Government demanding for explanation for why it was not paying money amounting to 215.8 billion, covering compensation for land and accumulated rent arrears since 1967 by the government entities.
Christopher Bwanika, the Kingdom’s Attorney General wrote to Attorney General William Byaruhanga tasking him to explain the failure by the government to respect a Memorandum of Understanding that the Central government and the Buganda Kingdom signed in 2013 regarding payment of rent arrears and return of properties under the Cultural Restitution Act, 1993.
Bwanika warned that Buganda was considering dragging the government to court if no response is provided within 45 days. However, in his response, the Finance Minister Matia Kasaija said that his Ministry was aware of the government’s obligations to the Kingdom but they got resource constraints due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some of the government Ministries and entities seated on Buganda land are Ministries of Internal Affairs, Education, Local Government, Lands, Works and Transport and others. The other entities are Uganda Railways Corporation, Makindye, Mbuya and Bombo military barracks and others.
In February 2019, President Yoweri Museveni held a meeting with the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II to review the Memorandum of Understanding between the Kingdom and the Central Government. The President said then that they had agreed that all pending issues involving Kingdom properties, land and financial arrears be solved soon. At least 293 land titles for land on which sub-county offices in the Kingdom sit and others have been returned so far.
Mayiga also asked the new government to improve its efforts in the fight against poverty and youth unemployment. According to the Katikkiro, the poverty fight should ensure prioritization of Agriculture by investment funds in a sector in which 70 percent of Ugandans are engaged in.
He also appealed that government address the core issues in the country’s land systems which include corruption and collusion by government officials, among others.
The other issues that Buganda needs government to solve in the new presidential term are the high crime rate and murders, corruption, abuse of human rights and rule of law.
Meanwhile, the Katikkiro also reiterated an earlier call by the Kingdom for government to release all political prisoners arrested during the 2021 electoral process.
Mayiga says that these have been locked up for a while yet they have families and dependants to take care of. He appealed for fairness and their release.
Several people were picked up by security personnel during the campaigns, elections and after. Several families have also complained about missing relatives.
The National Unit Platform-NUP party has also repeatedly complained about the kidnap of their members who have been missing for more than six months. The Internal Affairs Minister, Gen. Jeje Odongo has since confirmed the arrest of 177 people for alleged possession of military stores and meetings to plan for post-election violence.
According to the list, the majority of the arrested Ugandans are on remand in Makindye Military Barracks. However, several MPs led by Mathias Mpuuga, the Masaka Municipality MP have contested the list, saying there are more than 423
Additional report by Business Focus.