The Buganda Youth Council has blamed the government for the recurrent conflicts between the Kingdom and Kooki Chiefdom.
The two cultural institutions have been embroiled in controversy arising from Kooki’s pursuit of autonomy. The dispute began in 2009 when the hereditary leader of Kooki Kamuswaga Apollo Sansa Kabumbuli II accused Buganda of breaching the historical cooperation agreement, signed in 1896, between the two institutions and denying Kooki the special status spelt out in the same agreement.
According to Kamuswaga, Buganda failed to grant him a special seat and recognition in the Kingdom’s parliament (Lukiiko), and his repeated appeals had deliberately been ignored by the establishment in Mengo. He demanded a review and eventual amendments in the cooperation agreement which was signed by his forefather Hezekiah Ndawula and Kabaka Daniel Mwanga II of Buganda.
The institutions have since failed to resolve the controversy which has degenerated into confrontations between the loyalists of both institutions who now accuse each other of insubordination and deliberate contempt.
Baker Ssejjengo, the Chairperson of Buganda Youth Council says that the central government seems to have a hidden hand in the protracted conflicts between the two cultural institutions with a view of undermining Buganda and its interests.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the council expressed dismay over the permanent metallic arch which the Kooki leadership recently erected as a landmark boundary between Kooki and Buganda. The arch, decorated with Kooki’s emblem, was constructed at Kisoma swamp in Lwanda sub-county on the main road between Kyotera and Rakai districts.
However, Ssejengo who maintains that Kooki is still one of the 18 counties under Buganda argues that the arch is a direct provocation against the institutions of the Buganda Kingdom and the subjects. He says that the arch is a deliberate ploy by a clique of self-seekers in the central government to alter the known boundaries of Buganda.
He alleges that several social activities and programs organized by Buganda Kingdom in Kooki have repeatedly been violently disrupted by cliques of people that are protected by government security, which he says depicts outright biases against Buganda.
Ssejjengo threatens that the growing provocations may compel them to mobilize youth to stand up against what he describes as premeditated unfairness minted out against Buganda.
Kooki Information Minister Stanley Ndawula has however slammed the statement describing its authors as attention seekers. According to him, Kooki is an autonomous institution which has full liberties to administer its affairs within its jurisdiction without consulting any other cultural institution.
“Our boundaries are also known only that they had not been demarcated with identical landmarks. But now that the Kamuswaga has found it necessary, we are going to erect more of them in addition to other features that bring out Kooki’s unique identity,” he adds.
He dismisses allegations of being shielded by the state security agencies, arguing the police only come in to secure peace in the area whenever there are threats. According to Ndawula, they have repeatedly reached Buganda Kingdom’s establishment in Mengo to resolve the underlying controversies in vain.