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King Oyo meets Museveni over Tooro assets

The king of Tooro kingdom Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV has met President Museveni over the return of the kingdom assets. The meeting took place yesterday, Thursday at State House Nakasero.

Oyo was accompanied by the Queen Mother Best Kemigisa and members of the Tooro kingdom negotiating team led by the kingdom prime minister Bernard Tungwako.

Tungwako says that visit was meant to remind the president about his pledge that he made in 2013 that the government would return the kingdom's assets. 

The assets including land, county and sub-county headquarters among others which were forcefully taken from kingdoms by the central government in 1966 when the then President Milton Obote abolished traditional institutions and made Uganda a republic.

The assets are located in Kabarole, Kamwenge, Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa districts. The kingdom also has assets in Kasese and Bundibugyo, which were formerly under Tooro Kingdom.

According to Tungwako, Oyo told the president that the delay by the government to return the properties has affected the kingdom financially. He said that if the assets are returned, the kingdom can rent them out and get income to sustain its activities and improve its financial base.

King Oyo also reportedly told Museveni that the kingdom and the government negotiating team are yet to agree whether the kingdom should be given royalties from Kilembe mines, Queen Elizabeth national park and Katwe salt lake in Kasese district, which are now under the Rwenzururu kingdom.

According to Tungwako, another meeting with the president has been scheduled in two months time. In 2014, youth from the kingdom walked more than 300 kilometres to Kampala protesting against the delay by the government to return the kingdom's assets. 

The youths under their umbrella group, Amacumu ne Bitara later delivered the petition to the speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga. 

Kadaga pledged to work with members of parliament from Tooro to present a motion that will create a resolution for government and Tooro officials to start negotiations.

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd