UGANDA: Town council halts reconstruction of Kabaka’s palace in Nakasongola

UGANDA: Town council halts reconstruction of Kabaka’s palace in Nakasongola

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The reconstruction of the Kabaka’s palace in Nakasongola town council has hit another snag following the decision by the town clerk to halt the works citing breach of the Physical Planning Act.

Recently, Gerald Kyanjo Kimbugwe, Buganda’s representative in Buruuli County decided to construct a permanent palace for the Kabaka at Nakasongola district headquarters.

The palace was torched twice in 2015 and 2017 as part of the protests by Buruuli Chiefdom, which no longer pays allegiance to Buganda Kingdom. Now, the Nakasongola town clerk, Herbert Kasibante has suspended the reconstruction works, saying Kyanjo didn’t seek approval from physical planning committee as provided for in section 48 of the Physical Planning Act 2008.

In his June 15, 2020 notice, Mr Kasibante tasked Kyanjo to submit architectural drawings, structural plans and land title for area before he is allowed to resume the reconstruction works. He threatened to institute legal procedures against Kyanjo should he fail to comply with the directives. The notice is copied to the Resident District Commissioner, District Police Commander, Chief Administrative Officer and LC 5 Chairperson among others.

Mr Kyanjo has confirmed receiving the notice and blasted the town clerk for abusing his office and taking sides in cultural affairs. He claims that Kasibante also serves as the Attorney General for Buruuli Chiefdom, which is opposed to Buganda Kingdom and is now using his office to enforce the same.

Mr Kyanjo has vowed to ignore the notice and continue with reconstruction to ensure that Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II has a befitting palace in the area. In September 2019, Kyanjo transported a container to the disputed land and set up a temporary office drawing protests from Buruuli Chiefdom.

In 2017, Kyanjo tried to reconstruct the palace after it was torched but he was stopped by the former Security Minister Lieutenant General, Henry Tumukunde to diffuse tensions between Buganda Kingdom and Buruuli Chiefdom loyalists. 

Tumukunde reiterated the need for the central government to clarify on the dispute and expedite the implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between President Museveni and Kabaka Mutebi on the disputed land. 

 The Buruuli Chiefdom claims that the establishment of the palace under its jurisdiction is an act of ‘aggression by Buganda” and insists that Mengo no longer owns the land earmarked for the palace.

They insist that it was agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding signed between President Museveni and Kabaka Mutebi that all land in Nakasongola remains under Buruuli chiefdom.

The chiefdom seceded from Buganda Kingdom in December 2004 triggering tension between the two cultural institutions. Mengo still considers Buruuli as part of Buganda kingdom and conducts various activities in the area to further its interests.

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