BUNYORO: Subjects and Omukama Fight Over Reparation Billions

Bunyoro's Omukama Solomon Gafabusa Iguru
Bunyoro’s Omukama Solomon Gafabusa Iguru

Mubende Banyoro committee-MBC- has opposed the Omukama Solomon Gafabusa Iguru on the appointment of a committee to plan and budget for 700 million pounds allegedly paid out by Britain as compensation for atrocities committed by British colonialists against Banyoro. The money was allegedly handed over to the Uganda government by the Queen of England during the Common Wealth Head of Government Meeting- CHOGM in 2007. However, Mubende Banyoro committee accuses government of failing to release the money to the intended beneficiaries.

Late last month, Iguruappointed a 21 member committee to plan and budget for the reparation money. In his February 21 letter addressed to the kingdom premier Reverend Jackson Samba Kasozi, the omukama appointed Arnest Kiiza Bunyoro affairs minister and his economic planning counterpart Matia Kasaija as members on the committee. Others are Agriculture state minister Zirubaberi Nyiira and the Hoima Woman Member of Parliament Tophas Kaahwa. Simon Kandole, the Kibaale town clerk chairs the committee.

But members of Mubende Banyoro committee, the brains behind the 2004 reparation case have faulted the King. Dovico Batwale the National Coordinator for the reparations case wonders how the Omukama comes in yet he neither petitioned nor funded their court case against the British government.
Despite including some members of Mubende Banyoro Committee on the committee, Batwale maintains that the King should have consulted the petitioner of their lawyer Ayena Odong. Simon Kata Musoke, the chairman Mubende Banyoro committee is a member on the committee.He declined to comment saying he had just received the omukama’s letter.

Arnest Kiiza Bunyoro Affairs Minister, a member on the committee appointed by the omukama has rubbished claims that government received reparation money from the British government. Kiiza says in 2007 President Museveni, met Gordon Brown, the then British premier who asked government to prioritise development projects in Bunyoro using part of the funds received from UK.

In November last year, members of Mubende Banyoro committee led a protest over delayed government release of the 700million pounds reparation cash. Last month the group announced plans to move the reparations case to Britain. More than 2.4 million Banyoros are believed to have been killed, property destroyed and animals slaughtered by British soldiers in the 1890 colonial wars.

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