King Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV, the king of Tooro, has celebrated his 28th anniversary as the ruler. When he became king at the age of three in 1995, it appeared to be an improbable task due to his young age.
On September 12, 1995, King Oyo succeeded his father, King Patrick Matthew Kaboyo Olimi III, and became the 12th ruler of Tooro Kingdom. Every year on this date, the kingdom marks King Oyo’s coronation anniversary.
Before he turned 18, King Oyo had three sets of regents, with his mother, Queen Best Kemigisa, playing a significant role in his upbringing. These regents were appointed to the kingdom’s supreme council (Orukurato) in consultation with Omujwera Musuga, who oversaw the kingdom’s administration. The first set of regents included notable individuals like John Katuramu, Rev Can James Rabwoni, Mgr Thomas Kisembo, Prof Oswald Ndolereire, Mr Zerio Byabagambi, Mr Isaiah Kalya, Rev. Richard Baguma, Mr George Nyakairu, and Mr Justin Bakahumura. The regents relinquished their duties in 2010 when King Oyo turned 18.
One significant challenge during this time was the arrest of one of the regents, Mr. Katuramu, in 1999, in connection with the murder of Prince Charles Happy Kijanangoma and his guard, Stephen Kaganda. Katuramu was convicted of murder in 2001, with the Supreme Court amending his sentence to life imprisonment (20 years) in 2009. In 2021, Katuramu was released after serving his sentence.
Nevertheless, King Oyo has achieved several milestones for his subjects, focusing on education, ICT, and healthcare. He was appointed a UNAids ambassador in 2016, leading the fight against HIV/AIDS. In 2020, he signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Health to address healthcare challenges in Tooro.
King Oyo’s annual health camps provide free medical services to his people, including eye care, surgical operations for children with clubfoot, and wheelchairs for children with disabilities. He has also worked towards reclaiming the kingdom’s properties seized by the government in 1967, with negotiations ongoing.
In 2021, King Oyo unveiled a 25-year transformative vision for Tooro, focusing on cultural heritage preservation, youth empowerment, poverty alleviation, healthcare, and tourism. He established a model farm in Kyenjojo District and promoted sports and environmental conservation, particularly the preservation of River Mpanga.
Despite the challenges and threats to his reign, including attempts to overthrow him in 2013 and accusations of mismanaging kingdom properties in 2020, King Oyo remains committed to his role as the king of Tooro.