The Uganda government and Tooro Kingdom have disagreed on whether the Kingdom should claim for its assets in Kasese and Bundibugyo districts.
Last week, the Attorney General Peter Nyombi sent a copy of the agreement for the return of kingdom assets to the King of Tooro Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV and the Prime Minister, Steven Kaliba, to study the contents of the agreement. However the kingdom officials were surprised that the assets in the two districts, which were formerly under Tooro, weren’t included in the agreement.
A member of the kingdom negotiating team who preferred anonymity told Uganda Radio Network that after consulting his advisors and legal team, King Oyo told his Prime Minister, Omuhikirwa Kaliba, to return the agreement to the government and ensure that it’s amended and the assets are included.
The Kingdom’s estates department that the Tooro owns four commercial buildings in Bundibugyo town and large chunks of land, while in Kasese, the Kingdom is demanding for royalties from resources which include Katwe salt lake, Kilembe Mines, Hima cement factory and the Queen Elizabeth national park.
Rwenzururu King, Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere, has often said that since Rwenzururu is officially recognized by government, it should also have the assets that belong to it as an independent entity. The relations between the two cultural entities have been frosty since 2009 when Rwenzururu was recognized as a separate kingdom, effectively breaking away from Tooro after more than 50 years pushing.
The source further says that this is the second time the kingdom has disagreed with the government. Last year, the government sent the kingdom a draft agreement which indicated that Tooro demands 87 assets, whereas the Kingdom claims that there are more than 150 properties.
In a telephone interview, Kaliba was cagey on the matter, saying that he didn’t want to jeopardize the kingdom’s good relationship with the government and frustrate the on-going negotiations.
When contacted, Florence Kiconco, a legal officer from State House who is part of the government team, declined to discuss the matter, saying that it’s private.
In October, the government and Tooro started negotiations on the return of the Kingdom property currently under the government. This followed demands from King Oyo and several kingdom officials, during the 18th coronation anniversary at the Karuzika in Fort Portal, for the government to return the assets commonly referred to as Ebyaitu.
The demands came just two months after President Yoweri Museveni signed a memorandum of understanding with Buganda Kingdom officials on the return the latter’s assets. In August the the signing of the agreement was made public during the 20th coronation anniversary for Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi at Mengo Palace.
When, two months later, the Tooro kingdom leadership also demanded for theirs, the president said the two cultural institutions were like twins and that since of them had already received hers, it was time for the other to get what belongs to her.