Tooro Kingdom loyalists have successfully petitioned parliament for the return of Kingdom assets and properties commonly referred to as ‘Ebyaitu’.
The campaign spearheaded by a youth group referred to as ‘Amacumu ne Bitara bya Rukirabasaija’ involved a 300km walk from Fort portal to Kampala to deliver the petition to parliament. The Four-day trek started on Saturday.
At Parliament, they were accompanied by a cross section of Tooro Kingdom Ministers, Princess’ Elizabeth Bagaya and Members of Parliament from Tooro.
Kasagama Patrick, one of the group members presented the petition demanding the return of 75 titled pieces of land and properties still withheld by Uganda land Commission, Compensation for wear and tear of all assets and properties during the time they were withheld in Central government and Return of all Counties and Sub County headquarters within their territory.
The assets are located in Kabarole, Kamwenge, Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa districts. The Kingdom also has assets in Kasese and Bundibugyo, which were formerly under Tooro Kingdom.
The petition also demands the return of all customarily owned land that did not have titles. Some of the large chunks of land are currently occupied by squatters especially in the counties of Mwenge, Kyaka in Kyejonjo and Kyegegwa district respectively and in Bunyangabu County in Kabarole district.
The youths also want compensation of income generated by Butiiti tea estate, oruha tree plantation and other estates and forests. They also need compensation for the lost revenue and perpetual royalties out of the Mineral salt at Lake Katwe, from the King’s former hunting zones like Queen Elizabeth National Park, Katonga game reserve and Toro-Semliki Game Reserve.
Also sought is Compensation for lost revenue from the Mines of Kilembe (Cooper and Cobalt), Stone and Sand at Kazingo and Limestone at Dara.
Kasagama explains that the petition is appealing to government to realize the consequences of illegally retaining the Kingdom properties and assets.
Besides the return of ‘Ebyaitu’, Tooro youths also want Government to remit 15% of the net income earned annually as royalties from every foreign, state and homeland business entity within Tooro to the Kingdom beginning with the financial year that ends June 2015.
Kasagama noted that this money will help Tooro Kingdom to educate its children, create health insurance as well as fight poverty among its subjects.
The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga pledged to work with Members of Parliament from Tooro Kingdom to present a motion that will create a resolution for Government and Tooro Kingdom Officials to start negotiations.
The talk about the return of Ebyaitu was started during the 18th coronation anniversary of the Omukama Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV held in Fort Portal in September last year. Then the Omukama, his Prime Minister Stephen Kaliba and several other Kingdom officials all spoke of the need for government to return the assets under its possession.