Bagungu elect ex-Bunyoro Prime Minister as ‘Mutebengwa’ (cultural leader)

Former Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom Prime Minister, Mr Norman Lukumu, speaks at a Bugungu Clan Council meeting after being elected Mutebengwa (cultural leader) of Bugungu at Oil Land Hotel in Buliisa Town Council on Saturday, April 29, 2023. (Image: Kazi-njema News)

Mr Norman Lukumu, the former Prime Minister of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, has been elected as the leader of the 56 Bagungu clans.

During a meeting held at Oil Land Hotel in Buliisa town council on Saturday, Mr Lukumu was anonymously elected after approval of their constitution.

Others elected at the same gathering are Mr Thomas Basaswaki as the Clans Council Speaker deputised by Mr Bonny Mukungi.

In a phone interview with Kazi-njema News, Mr Lukumu described his election as a milestone towards creation of an independent cultural institution of the Bagungu from Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom.

According to him, the task he has ahead is to unite the Bagungu for social and economic development as well as push for national recognition of their cultural institution called ‘Butebengwa.’

“Yes, I am the Mutebengwa now. I qualified because I am a Mugungu, above 60 years of age, I have no bad record, I carry out my activities in Bugungu and I have a rich CV [Curriculum Vitae],” said Mr Lukumu.

According to him, the next step is to collect all the resolutions including the district council resolution and submit them to the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to facilitate the realisation of the Butebengwa as per the mother constitution of Uganda.

Audio: Lukumu on election as Mutebengwa (English)
Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom ex Prime Minister, Mr Norman Lukumu, speaks at the Bagungu Clan Council meeting upon election as a Mutebengwa (cultural leader) of Bugungu. In attendance was the Buliisa District Local Government Chairman, Mr Fred Lukumu (Left). (Image: Kazi-njema News)

According to the constitution of Bugungu Cultural Revival Association (BUCRA) that spearheaded the formation of the Bugungu cultural institution and for which Mr Lukumu is the Chairman, election of the next Mutebengwa will be conducted after the demise of the ruling one.

Mr Lukumu was in 2022 engaged in serious legal and verbal battles to retain his post of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom Premiership from which he had been thrown out in circumstances he believed were maliciously unfair.

Since then, he reinforced the Bugungu secession movement that had lost popularity in 2015.

The Council of the Bagungu Clans has become a supreme resolution making body for the Bagungu cultural institution which is as of now not recognised in Uganda.

The Bagungu, last month, held a historical Bugungu cultural gala earlier feared to spike the secession ideology amongst the Bagungu which is one of the national sub-divisions of the Banyoro people.

The gala was multiple times intercepted by local and national security for fear that it could instigate violence and tribal sentiments.

It comes as Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom leadership intensified efforts to break all forces of divisionism in the kingdom arguing that it is a step backwards in the process of rebuilding and reuniting the people of Bunyoro.

Coincidentally, on the same Saturday, April 28, 2023, when the Mutebengwa was elected in Buliisa district, Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom was appointing a committee to spearhead dialogue with all factions that expressed ignition to secede.

The former Principal Private Secretary (PPS) to the king (Omukama) of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, Dr Yolamu Ndoleriire Nsamba, was appointed as the committee chairman.

At the inauguration of the committee, the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom Premier, Mr Andrew Kirungi Byakutaaga, expressed determination to dialogue with all parties intending to breakaway including the Bagungu, Bacope and Bagangaizi.

When Bunyoro Kitara Reparations Agency (BUKITAREPA) was still actively pushing to address the historical injustices in Bunyoro, its leader, Mr Dovico Batwale, most times warned of a systematic and secret external agenda to break the people of Bunyoro further making them more vulnerable.

The Bagungu cessation agenda advance is evident as salient challenges of Bunyoro including the critical land security issue remain unaddressed.  

Other common issues highlighted include opportunities in the oil industry, environmental degradation and effects of the population influx by migrants from Kigezi, Rwanda and DR Congo.

Before being degraded by the British colonialists, Bunyoro was a nation comprising numerous tribes including the Acholi in northern Uganda and Banyambo in northern Tanzania, western Kenya and stretched to eastern parts of the present day Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

It has now been reduced to the political districts of Hoima, Kikuube, Kagadi, Kiryandongo, Kibaale, Kakumiro, Masindi and Buliisa with the latter advancing to breakaway for Butebengwa.

History asserts that all the sub-divisions of Banyoro people in this current geographical region equally felt the impact of the colonial invasion in which 2.4 million Banyoro including children and women were massacred by colonialists and their allies.

The big question is which between unity and divisionism can take Bunyoro some metres towards addressing their common issues as they remain compelled to be loyal to the same British colonial foundation-based government of Uganda.

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