What has Buganda achieved from the independent Ug

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    KulabakoKulabako
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    What has Buganda achieved from the independent Uganda

    Four months after the central government undertook to hand back key Buganda kingdom properties, Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II reignited demands for federalism.

    The Kabaka spoke at St Julian High School in Gayaza, during the prize-giving ceremony for winners of this year’s edition of the Buganda Royal Arts festival.

    The festival was held under theme Amakungula ga Buganda mu myaka 50 egy’amefuga ga Uganda, which loosely translates into: “what Buganda has benefitted from Uganda’s 50 years of Independence.”

    Kabaka Mutebi, who was also officially launching St Julian, said: “The theme of this year’s festival brings out an issue that has been a matter of debate over the past [50] years of our independence. Being independent means having the capacity to independently decide on issues that concern us as a nation in a truthful and just manner.”

    Speaking in Luganda, Mutebi emphasized the need for a public but free dialogue.

    “At independence, [traditional institutions] in different parts of the country came together to form a country called Uganda. It is important to start this debate, through school children, asking ourselves on what Buganda has achieved from the independent Uganda,” he said.

    Buganda has campaigned for a federal system of governance alongside key kingdom assets held by the central government. The demands have at times engendered tensions and conflicts, the worst of which came in the 2009 riots that left up to 40 people dead. The central government has previously offered Buganda a “regional tier” form of governance, but this was rejected by Buganda.

    Four months ago, Kabaka Mutebi and President Museveni signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) returning key Buganda assets, including land and administrative estates across the kingdom.

    Many observers started looking forward to a thaw in relations between Buganda and the Museveni government. Kabaka Mutebi’s latest demands could yet be another test for what has long been a fragile relationship.

    The MOU allows the Kabaka to move freely though his kingdom and returns several prized properties, but limits him from making statements that government could perceive as trying to create hatred on its side.

    But the Kabaka now wants the debate to involve the young generation; specifically school children, a move that is bound to create friction with the central government, currently running patriotism classes in select schools. These classes only pay perfunctory attention to the role of traditional cultural institutions.

    The Kabaka urged the Education ministry to begin enforcing the teachers’ professional code of ethics to end sexual harassment in schools.

    “The media is awash with stories of atrocities committed against children over petty issues, this must be stopped, and the perpetrators be dealt with in accordance with the law,” the Kabaka said.

    For winning the Buganda Royal Arts festival, St Julian High School received a royal family shield, which the Kabaka handed over to school director Jeff Sserunjogi.

    sadabkk@observer.ug

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