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Kabaka BD run calls for redevelopment of Lubiri

Last Sunday, there was a heavy downpour around Kampala that started about 4:30am.

It was probably a blessing for those planning to participate in the annual Kabaka birthday run if you believe in some African traditions. Although by 6:30am, the sky was clear, the blessing easily turned into a nightmare once one arrived at the Lubiri grounds.

Kabaka Ronald Mutebi (in a court) arrive at Lubiri grounds last Sunday

From the parking area up to the vast grounds of the Mengo palace, it was muddy that I considered ditching my sneakers for gumboots. But like thousands of other runners, I soldiered on.

The extremely muddy ground was not going to stop us from raising funds for sickle cell anemia awareness and treatment. The run, which has been re-energised since 2014, attracted one of the biggest crowds ever seen in Kampala. The royal mile from Twekobe to Bulange and beyond was a sea of people sweating it out in red. 

Kabaka Mutebi was born in April, which is the middle of one of Uganda’s wet seasons (March to May); so, it wasn’t really the first time runners were experiencing this kind of weather.

I have participated in the run every year since 2014 but this was the first time I wanted to curse the muddy grounds. However, I didn’t do that because I know that every single effort to redevelop the palace has been met with unreasonable excuses.

And on reflection, I became happy that people experienced this kind of inconvenience, especially those who oppose the redevelopment of the Lubiri. The reasons they usually give are archaic. They usually refer to norms which don’t exist. Even if they existed, any culture that doesn’t evolve with the times becomes extinct. Ask the Bachwezi.

The truth is, Buganda kingdom should not continue to have 560 acres of prime land in the middle of Kampala in the state the palace is today. Apart from the Twekobe area, which is well maintained, about 80 per cent or more of the palace is a bush and muddy.

If it doesn’t rain, it is the dust of unimaginable proportions. Buganda is the largest kingdom in the region with a population of more than 10 million people. The state of the palace, the office and main residence of the Kabaka, is a shame — for lack of a better word.

The palace was originally built by Ssekabaka Mwanga II, in 1885. Mutebi’s father, Ssekabaka Muteesa II built a perimeter wall around it that stands up to today. As we mark 25 years of Kabaka Mutebi on the throne this July, there is need to do something to restore this palace.

To be fair, Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga has tried to redevelop it. However, every time a draft proposal is presented, some influential Baganda call him names, masking their lack of vision with reference to obscure norms. There is no Kiganda norm that dictates that a palace can’t be redeveloped; otherwise, it wouldn’t have a Twekobe as it is today or even a perimeter fence.

The kingdom can start with finalizing the Lubiri redevelopment masterplan. A committee headed by Francis Kamulegeya has been tasked to do this and it should now present final proposals. That plan should include, as a priority, the development of grounds where the Kabaka birthday run and Nkuuka events, among others, are held.

If the Baganda are unhappy with palace redevelopment, a perimeter wall dividing the 560 acres should be built leaving the Twekobe area with about 60 acres, which is more than 10 per cent of the total area.

About 100 acres could be dedicated to these grounds for ceremonies. A pavilion could be built, gardens planted and other parts tarmacked or paved. This would actually increase the income of the kingdom. It would also unburden the kingdom from not generating income out of it by people who claim that certain functions can’t be held inside a palace.

Today, the government earns a lot of money from Kololo ceremonial grounds from companies like MTN that hold their marathons from there. Those opposed to this move, should actually try and request for permission from ministry of Defense and see the bill that they will be given. That may help change their minds.

But also if we want the dignity of the Kabaka and indeed restore Buganda’s glory, it won’t be done by simply talking or reverting to norms of 800 years ago. The glory of anybody today, including kingdoms, comes from partly their financial strength.

The Baganda have a saying that a poor man doesn’t go on dates with damsels. There is a so-called traditional chief who was taken to court for failure to pay bills for meals he was enjoying in a dingy restaurant in Nakasongola. Would people in Nakasongola trust such a ‘chief’? How then can we allow our Kabaka to gladly wave off runners in a place as muddy as the Lubiri was on Sunday?

So, the heavy downpour on Sunday that turned the Lubiri grounds into such a mess is a wake-up call for all those opposed to the redevelopment of the palace. It is high time Baganda rallied behind Katikkiro Mayiga’s efforts to redevelop the palace and ensure that the kingdom can earn some money from which it can use to offer services to its people such as health and education.


The writer is a media consultant and businessman.


-1 #11 Akot 2018-04-12 18:47
It's time to remind Ugandans that the outside world does not accept their tribalism & as long as they maintain the tribalistic system, they are alone face to museveni!

So, when Ugandans shall have handed over their country officially-legally-constitutionally, yet tribally divided to museveni, where will they go, who will they ask for help from?

All museveni has to do now is & become a real dictator president by dissolving posts of tribal leaders!

But any tribal with real leadership is FREE to be a real independent country & not wait for museveni to declare him his people's leader with full authority!

So, is Ughanda going to be another Rwandese country or are Ugandans going to make up their minds before they blindly-naively-stupidly...hand over their country to museveni?

Why has Acholi tribal leader not hanged himself yet?
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-1 #12 Akot 2018-04-12 19:00
juwait kali, agreed.

Uganda is our soil & we MUST UNITE & throw museveni out & whatever governance we will go for, won't include the former asylum seeker who has reduced us to NOTHING, yet is assured of his next 30 years, unless we wake up & stop him in UNITY!

The fight is against museveni & not against ourselves: because Uganda is OURS nomatter what governance we will go for, more so we will have to share/buy natural resources from tribal lands!

Is there any reason museveni goes on, knowing now it's just Buganda he has to bring down to be a real ruler of Uganda?

Who came to help Acholi, Rwenzururu tribal leader & who will come to help kabaka?
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+1 #13 juwait kali 2018-04-12 20:42
I keep on telling you akot but you refuse to understand I will say it to you again that as a country Uganda these people took the country from us ages ago.

They have been here 32 years. Taking money selling minerals secretly when no one was suspecting like right now.

Built a strong army, bought all lands in Buganda using tax payers money extra. The only question you should be asking is how do we leberate this country from these occupiers.
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-1 #14 Akot 2018-04-13 13:35
juwait kali, thanks.

I understand you perfectly well but you know with the name 'Akot' one should tread carefully, even when today Ugandans know Acholi was/is not a danger!

- Acholi stood down when Bagandans, joined by the other tribes, came out in full to welcome museveni,

- Acholi stopped Kony having a base on Acholiland to fight museveni even when Kony killed them/their animals-burned down their huts to teach them!

Akot can only call Ugandans to UNITY, the only means to throw museveni out, but this is not possible with kabaka blinded & leading Bagandans & ALL tribes into a death trap!

Kabaka wants to be leader of Buganda in a free state yet, he does not know how to earn his FREEDOM & wants museveni to hand it to him on a silver plateau!

But museveni came to own our country formed by tribal lands & kabaka is helping the demon do so!...
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-1 #15 Akot 2018-04-13 13:39
...juwait kali, as you say:

{They have been here 32 years. Taking money selling minerals secretly when no one was suspecting like right now.

Built a strong army, bought all lands in Buganda using tax payers money extra.}

I have & still singing Ugandans to UNITY against museveni because I know it's the only means museeni will be thrown out & stop kabaka-parliament-court from owning our country!

As for Acholi tribal leader, he should hang himself because museveni will replace him with a rwandese governor!

If Ugandans stay tribally divided & just spectate while handing over tax money to museveni in peace, how won't he own their country?

Will musevenis war dogs kill Ugandans while the entire world will just watch if Ugandans UNITE & come out against the demon?

But they will continue watching as Ugandans maintain the tribalistic system in which kabaka is main actor!...
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-1 #16 Akot 2018-04-13 13:51
... juwait kali,

I already asekd if kabaka will go back to UK after having helped musevnei own Uganda that includes Buganda!

juwait kali, do you have children/family, how do they live & how will their own kids live knowing museveni will be there as long as Ugandans don't UNITE agianst him & throw him out?

Parliament/court are busy debating the demon's age & continuity as if the existence of Uganda depends on it!

We already know the out come, don't we?

Who is debating: Education, Jobs, social assistance...for Ugandan children & who is debating how to subsidise/modernise agriculture?

Bagandans MUST stop kabaka helping museveni own Uganda & throw ALL Ugandans out of the country: this is not a tribal issue but survival of EVERY Ugandan, including kabaka!

If kabaka loved Bagandans, he would have formed indpendent state by now, but he is helping museveni own Uganda!
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-1 #17 Akot 2018-04-13 14:01
juwait kali,

you take me back to what Lakwena said in response to ejakait engoraton who has not yet unhderstood it's tribal leaders/those pleasing museveni/those bought off...that are our main problem now & not museveni:

Ejakait engoraton, please leave Lameru Akot alone.

Like many other frustrated Ugandans, Akot is very angry at Mr. M7 and especially at the sycophantic cohorts, among others the treacherous Chiefs who have sold their birthrights and subjects/people to M7 for our sweat, at Shs.5 million a month.

In other words, it is a fortune as long as M7 lasts.]

Will kabaka/the other tribal leaders so quiet stop museveni owning Uganda when they live so well through him, unaware they too, will be foreigners when the demon will won the country & won't need their services any more?
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-1 #18 Akot 2018-04-13 18:17
juwait kali,

Just to remind us that Akot could not say a word about what you say [these people took the country from us ages ago.] because it was all the other tribes that United & Acholi had to stand down!

It took these tribes +20 years to realise museveni did not come for them!

Now is time for all tribes that United & made Acholi stand down to Reunite against museveni especially tribes that want to form independent states because it's not museveni going go make them leaders of their people!

Today is not 1962 when Ugandans found common ground & formed the Republic: today museveni wants our country for his people not wanted in Rwanda, those who failed to take over DRCongo-those not wanted/are tired of being in Tanzania...!

Tribal leaders-court-parlimant are handing over our country to musevnei while Ugandans ensure tax money in time & in peace!
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-1 #19 Akot 2018-04-13 18:38
Pictures above show Bagandans really want a country of their own so MUST let kabaka know it: once museveni is assured of ownership of the country, kabaka will have to go back to UK as asylum seeker!

The picture above show a people getting ready to receive their president & not tribal leader!

Bagandans should know as long as they are part of musevni's tribalistic system, they are still part of the rest of the country & are in trouble as the rest!

Funney, it's us the tribally divided ruled people who are handing over our country to museveni through: parliament-court-tribal leaders & there is no opposition leadership, yet Ugandans say they want change-museveni should stand down...!

Who is free to say whatever he/she wants in Uganda?

But we still get at one another & ask for explanation as to why we say this or that!!!
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