Although the 2021/22 financial year ended in June the very month when another budget has to be read, Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom has until now neither laid nor read its monetary plan for the 2022/23 fiscal year.
This has left many in the kingdom including Members of the Royal Parliament (Orukurato), the ruling clan and kingdom subjects wondering why and who is central in this scenario yet the kingdom has to continue transacting its money-driven operations.
Mr Richard Tumusiime, a resident of Kitoba sub-county in Hoima district, faults the kingdom office bearers for being unbothered wondering how the cultural institution can operate without a budget.
He fears that this can be a precursor of financial mismanagement that can deny the kingdom the establishment of infrastructural development projects that can benefit all subjects in Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom.
“I see them drive kingdom vehicles and those vehicles consume fuel. Where do they get the money from to refill them? Recently, the Omuhikirwa and his entourage travelled to Gulu for a provincial football match where they even gave presents to the Paramount Chief of Acholi, where did they get the money from to facilitate that? I heard and read in the media that the kingdom gave both the Bunyoro province football team and Miss Bunyoro Pageant Shs2m each, was that money from the kingdom officials’ pockets or from the kingdom coffers? How is that accounted for? Mr Tumusiime asks.
Ms Erivanisi Nyambubi, a resident of Hoima city, advises that Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom officials should develop a good spirit of working for the kingdom and strive to leave a positive legacy other than being remembered for oddity during their tenure in office.
“It’s unfortunate that we, the subjects, don’t have a platform to air out our views about developing the kingdom. If given chance, I would advise those officials to work for their legacy in a manner that at least satisfies everyone other than failing to execute simple issues like preparing a budget which is a driver for all activities in the kingdom. What really has caused that failure or delay to read the budget? There could be something fishy!” she suspiciously avers.
Prince Ochaki Nyabongo, one of the Members of the Royal Parliament (Orukurato) is puzzled and questions how kingdom activities are being run without a budget – the major propeller of all transactions of all day to day transactions.
He says almost two months into the new financial year, he has been waiting for the arrangement of the budget to pass but in vain.
“We are wondering how the BKK (Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom) administrators are running the kingdom without a budget. As Abakurasi (Members of the Royal Parliament), we shall continue demanding for the budget to be read.”
Our phone calls to the Kingdom Minister of Finance and Administration, Mr Robert Owagonza, over the matter went unanswered.
However, when contacted, the Omutaliindwa (Speaker) of the Orukurato, Mr Isaac Biromumaiso Kalembe Akiiki, attributed the delay in reading the budget to failure by the Finance and Administration Committee – a docket under the Ministry of Finance and Administration to present a budget report to the Orukurato for discussion.
He said that the Chief Administrative Secretary, Mr Alex Katusabe, should have forwarded the initiated process of planning and budgeting to Mr Owagonza in order to have the budget discussed and read to procedurally run the kingdom affairs.
Mr Kalembe added that the kingdom administration requested for some time so they can follow the right procedures.
The Omutaliindwa revealed that this time, right procedures have to be followed contrary to the past two to three years when the kingdom has been passing the budget without the Finance and Administration Committee having their input.
Following the failure to read the budget in June, the Finance and Administration Ministry was on July 30, 2022, given three weeks to have prepared and presented the budget to the Orukurato for discussion today Saturday, August 20, 2022, but on August 8, 2022, the Omutaliindwa received a communication from the administration requesting for more time.
In the communication, the Committee requested that they present the budget to Orukurato for discussion after discussing a report of the Orukurato Ad hoc Committee of Inquiry 2022 into allegations of financial mismanagement and abuse of office by BKK cabinet members led by the Omuhikirwa, Mr Andrew Kirungi Byakutaaga Ateenyi.
The Ad hoc report was scheduled to be read on Sunday, August 28, 2022.
Mr Kalembe said the budget reading issue is being handled earnestly after it has been observed that there is some kind of nonchalance.