Buganda clan leaders have broken their silence regarding their controversial meeting with President Museveni at State House in Entebbe. In a statement issued by their secretary, Nsamba Aloysius Lubega, the clan leaders acknowledged discussing key issues during the meeting, including disputes over clan-owned land and the financial challenges faced by the clans.
“The bataka (clan heads) met with the President of Uganda on March 30, 2023, and presented several pressing issues, including the dire financial situation affecting the clans and their leaders as a whole. During this meeting, the President pledged to address the concerns raised and even offered to acquire land for all Buganda clan leaders to establish their offices near Bulange Mengo, along with exploring avenues for self-sustainability,” stated Lubega.
This meeting, which took place earlier this year, reportedly came about through the intervention of State Minister for ICT, Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo, and has since triggered a crisis within Mengo.
The Katikkiro of Buganda, Charles Peter Mayiga, revealed to the Lukiiko (Buganda parliament) that the clan heads met with President Museveni without informing or consulting the Kabaka. Mayiga also expressed his own lack of prior knowledge regarding the meeting.
The gathering of Buganda clan heads has now been widely criticized, with accusations that it primarily served personal interests and failed to represent the kingdom’s best interests.
In their recent statement, Buganda clan heads declared that they had discussed the matter during a subsequent meeting and made several resolutions, one of which involved informing the Kabaka about the meeting.
“The Buganda clan heads commend President Museveni for fulfilling his promise to address the issues raised. They are in the process of formally presenting this land gift to the Kabaka,” the statement read.
During the March meeting, President Museveni expressed satisfaction at meeting with the Buganda clan heads. He recalled that some members of the NRM had initially opposed the restoration of kingdoms, fearing it would exacerbate tribalism. However, he emphasized the importance of harmonizing traditional culture with modernity, with the central government focusing on peacekeeping and infrastructure development while kingdoms promote cultural values and moral principles.
The President also reminisced about a meeting in 1981 with Prince Ronald Mutebi (now the Kabaka) and Prof. Lule, in which they discussed restoring Buganda’s status prior to the 1966 crisis.
“The meeting with Buganda Clan heads marks the beginning of a new chapter, fostering a systematic discussion on the integration of culture and development,” President Museveni declared.
State Minister for ICT, Joyce Nabbosa Ssebuggwawo, expressed optimism that the meeting would contribute to improving relations between the central government and Mengo. She emphasized the significance of clan heads in Buganda for instilling cultural values, discipline, and promoting development.