The Buliisa District Chairman, Mr Fred Lukumu, has emphasised that there is no need for any community to be forced to remain under the other against its will in this era when the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda is clear about restoration and formation of cultural institutions.
He said the times of kings and kingdoms passed with their powers collapsing to just cultural leaders without executive authority, legislative role and judicial powers.
“Kings were traditional rulers of kingdoms with power but now they are just cultural leaders,” he stressed.
The chairman highlighted that Bagungu do not intend to create any hostility with other Banyoro communities they have lived with for time immemorial but attaining cultural autonomy of Bagungu is a constitutional right.
Mr Lukumu who was speaking at a revenue forum organised by ACCODE in Hoima city is one of the leaders of the move to dismember Bagungu people from other traditional Banyoro communities under Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom.
Bagungu is one of the Laker traditional sub-divisions of Bunyoro Kitara alongside the Batyaba, Bakobya, Bakibiro and the Banyabugoma.
To his reasoning, Bagungu acquiring cultural sovereignty is not seceding since kings and kingdoms are not constitutional according to Article 246 of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda as amended.
Kazi-njema News quotes Mr Lukumu apologising to the audience for somehow diverting the forum to the Bugungu-Bunyoro kingdom issue in an attempt to throw more light to community empowerment about the law and human rights.
He castigated the local government councils of Bunyoro that recently passed resolutions opposing the cultural autonomy of the Bagungu, describing them as less informed of the constitution.
Mr Lukumu said the Bagungu derive their right to cultural autonomy from Article 246 of the constitution and the operationalisation laws of local governments and cultural institutions.
He added that Bagungu lived under Bunyoro before colonialism and sought protection from it but currently, they no longer need protection from any one apart from the central government.
The chairman said some kingdoms have become irrelevant in the current situation.
According to him, the independence of Bamba from Tooro kingdom would be a good example of the constitutional right to freedom of association.
Mr Lukumu stressed that people need to appreciate that when a force comes to change certain things, no matter what others think about it, the change takes place.
The move to seek cultural autonomy of the Bagungu got public attention in 2012-13 championed by Mr Edward Kabagambe who shortly lost influence due to alleged political pressure.
The movement was picked up by Mr Charles Babyesiza in 2015 who swiftly enthroned himself and started constructing a palace in Bugana – a move disliked by many Bagungu degrading his influence.
Starting from 2018, Mr Norman Lukumu who had just been thrown out of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom Premiership, secretly joined the movement and gained influence in close coordination with Mr Fred Lukumu the current Buliisa District Chairman.
The duo believe attaining cultural autonomy will help to promote the culture of Bugungu including Lugungu language as well as attaining juicy positions in the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government and associated privileges.
“There is no Mugungu in ministerial positions of the central government and the kingdom has an influence because I was there and I know,” Kazi-njema News quotes Mr Norman Lukumu during the popular “Akatuuti k’obugabe’ programme on Radio Hoima.
As soon as he bounced back to Buliisa district chairmanship replacing Mr Simon Agaba Kinene, Mr Fred Lukumu pledged that he could not relent to support Bugungu secession as long as it would turn out as the will of the majority.
Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom and those opposing the dismemberment of Banyoro communities says it will weaken the kingdom and leave the subjects in socio-economic shambles.
The former Buliisa County Member of Parliament, Mr Steven Birahwa Mukitale and the former Buliisa District Chairman, Mr Simon Agaba Kinene, are among the popular Bagungu community members who have displayed their stand against the need to separate from Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom.
They believe they are better united than divided.