Bunyoro Kingdom in western Uganda is moving to designate Kabalega Day in memory of the Kingdom’s great 19th century ruler, Omukama Cwa II Kabalega.
Speaking during the swearing in ceremony of Bunyoro kingdom cabinet on Friday, Prime Minister Jackson Nsamba Kasozi revealed that the new cabinet will convene its first meeting on October 10. Kasozi says among other issues to discuss will be designating Kabalega Day, to be marked annually in Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom.
Prime Minister Kasozi says the day will always be a special one in Bunyoro Kitara kingdom. He says among the day’s activities will always be a visit to Mparo royal tombs where Kabalega was buried in 1923.
Kasozi says it is imperative not only to read about Kabalega in history books, but also to designate a day for Bunyoro to commemorate her great king’s deeds.
Born on June 18, 1853 Kabalega was Bunyoro’s Omukama from 1870 to 1899. Kabalega’s fame started back in 1894 when the British declared war on Bunyoro and was able to engage the mighty British forces for a period of five years. It was not until 1899 that he was captured together with Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda by the British forces.
He was eventually exiled to the Seychelles Islands where he stayed for 24 years. In 1923, Kabalega was given permission to return home, a journey he did not complete. He fell sick on his way back and died on April 6, 1923 in Jinja before reaching his kingdom.
Besides his wars of resistance to the colonialists, Kabalega set out to develop his new kingdom via trade and this was evidenced by the booming salt works at Kibiro in the now Kigorobya Sub county, along the Lake Albert shoreline in Hoima district.
Kabalega’s achievements made him an icon not only in Bunyoro but also in the entire East Africa. His legacy still stands almost a century after his death. In 1972, President Idi Amin renamed Murchison Falls, Kabalega Falls and in 2009, Kabalega was declared a national hero by President Yoweri Museveni.
Bunyoro now says it is time for Kabalega’s motherland to honour him by designating a day in his memory.
Sixty-four year-old Grace Ayesiga, a resident of Kibugubya in Kyabigambire Sub County says designating Kabalega Day has been long overdue. Ayesiga says given the Omukama’s contribution to Bunyoro, honouring him is much welcome.