The Kabaka of Buganda His Highness Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II has expressed displeasure over the impression by unnamed individuals who have always interpreted Buganda’s hospitality as it’s weakness.
The Kabaka’s remarks were part of his speech at celebrations to mark his 28th Coronation anniversary held today in his Nkoni palace, Buddu County in Lwengo District.
Speaking about what he referred to as injustice the Kingdom continue to endure after 28 years since it was restored, Kabaka Mutebi said Baganda are starting to question the commitment by central government to justice and it’s readiness wholly return kingdom properties.
The Kabaka said the issue of Kingdom properties still held by the central government (also known as Ebyaffe) especially land rights, has affected the planned development in Buganda. He also said the debate to return the properties has been vulgarized leaving the Mengo to guess if not the hospitality of Baganda has been misunderstood for weakness.
“Often, during discussions on land matters, some people claim that the land issue is responsible for slowed national development. This is not true. Those pushing this narrative intend to undermine Buganda and this is saddening… It also makes us question if our hospitality has not been interpreted as weakness” Kabaka Mutebi said asking why land wrangles are rife in Buganda and not elsewhere.
Kabaka’s strong remarks come at a peak of a contentious debate on land as the central government embarks on the process of drafting a Bill that will see reforms in the Mailo Land Tenure System, which is common in Buganda Sub-region. According to government, the reforms intend to provide a lasting solution to evictions and wrangles.
In a very strong tone, the Kabaka expressed objection to any amendments or new legislation on land matters and raised suspicion that the planned move is disastrous to Buganda Kingdom and her people. Kabaka Mutebi however expressed optimism that the issue will be handled and possibly settled through dialogue.
Kabaka Mutebi said Buganda has never at any point opted for secession or wanting to evict non-baganda as some ‘evil-hearted individuals’ have always perceived Kingdom demands for what they deem as rightly theirs. He reminded government that what Buganda demands for was agreed earlier during the process to restore traditional rulers.
“Let me say it gain that there is not a time when we will tire to remind government that Buganda like any other region has matters that no one should attach any condition(s) including land.” He said.
Earlier, the Kingdom Prime Minister -Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga stated that the problem is not the Mailo Land Tenure System or the law but failure by relevant authorities to enforce the existing land laws.
Mayiga also stated that land in Buganda has a strong attachment to the Kabakaship and any wrong move puts the Kabaka’s position in Buganda at risk.
The amendment process has the backing of President Yoweri Museveni who, at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds in May, said Mailo was a bad land tenure system.
The Justice Catherine Bamugemereire Land Commission which was instituted in 2016 to investigate the genesis of land wrangles also recommended the scrapping of the Mailo Land Tenure System. In the reforms, the government also plans to introduce taxation of idle land so that land owners can develop the resource which Mengo objects with suspicion.
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