Government has strongly denied accusations that it agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Buganda Kingdom to return kingdom assets as part of a calculated political campaign.
The government and Buganda Kingdom took many by surprise with the August 2 announcement.
In the MOU signed by President Yoweri Museveni on behalf of the Central government and Buganda Kingdom Premier Charles Peter Mayiga, government undertook to ensure all confiscated kingdom properties would be returned.
The government also promised to pay an outstanding rent bill of 20 billion shillings for using kingdom property. This property was seized in 1966 during the overthrow of Kabaka Edward Mutesa II.
A few days after the announcement, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) spokesperson Wafula Oguttu accused the President of using the return of the property as a tool for campaigns. Oguttu argued that the President realised he was losing Buganda kingdom’s support and this is why he decided to return the property.
Speaking at a press briefing at the media centre, Minister of Information and National Guidance, Rose Namayanja dismissed the claims. She explained that negotiations to return kingdom property had started in 1992 when kingdoms were re-established and recognised in law. She said that it was not a political trick to finally conclude negotiations on the eve of celebrating 20 years of Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II’s reign.
Namayanja said in the MOU signed between the government and the kingdom, a committee from both sides would be set up to handle the process of the return of the assets. She said as a result, both the government side and the Buganda Kingdom officials are already setting up the committees that will steer the handover.
The minister said the set up of the committee will take between two to three days after which they will start work immediately.
She chastised those who intentionally view everything the government does through political lenses.
Buganda Kingdom officials are yet to publicly comment on the MOU or reveal if they have selected members of the joint committee. The Kingdom Prime Minister, Peter Mayiga and Information Ministe