Katikkiro tightens grip on royal family
- Written by Sadab Kitatta Kaaya
With a row simmering between Buganda katikkiro and members of the royal family (Abalangira), Charles Peter Mayiga has moved to restrict princes’ access to the Kabaka.
Addressing the Buganda Lukiiko (Parliament) at Bulange on Monday, Mayiga hinted he could enforce cultural norms that regulate the Kabaka’s interaction with princes.
“Our traditions prohibit a prince from getting close to the Kabaka; we had loosened a bit because of cultures copied from monarchies such as England’s,” Mayiga said.
He announced that any prince visiting the Kabaka’s palace and other cultural sites would have to seek the katikkiro’s approval.
Mayiga’s comments came after a September 19 letter written to him by Lukenge Katoogo, the vice chairperson of the governing council of the royal family, denouncing Mayiga’s leadership.
The letter, titled “You are no longer fit to be called katikkiro of Buganda kingdom”, was copied to Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II and clan heads, among others people.
The major source of Mayiga’s problems with the royal family is the reconstruction works on Kasubi tombs, with Lukenge blaming Mayiga for sidelining the royalty.
“You chased the royal family from the tombs because you don’t want our cultural practices; forgetting the tombs are our ancestry, you continued harassing us and also went ahead and named a [reconstruction] committee,” Lukenge wrote.
The letter also accuses Mayiga of treating himself as an equal to the Kabaka, citing the arches and banana trees that decorate the roads during his fundraising tours as well as moving with his own chair, something royalty considers a preserve of the Kabaka.
Mayiga did not directly respond or refer to most of the contents of the three-page letter, but announced that he would not allow the princes to convene any meetings from the tombs.
“None of the structures at Kasubi was designed for meeting purposes,” Mayiga said, further adding that the known ancestral place for the royal family is ekigango (meeting place) on Balintuma road near Nakulabye.
Mayiga also warned kingdom officials against making statements in the media unless sanctioned by him. To further plug holes in the control of information, Mayiga said, three kingdom employees were to be sacked for leaking secrets to the media.
“We have people that are turning themselves into unofficial spokespersons; they have issued media statements [on the progress of the Kasubi tombs reconstruction] without my approval; this must stop,” Mayiga said.
However, the katikkiro admitted that he was disappointed with the slow progress of the reconstruction works. The works are seven months behind the March 16, 2014 deadline he fixed in July last year as he launched the ettoffaali fundraising drive.
He blamed the slow progress on both cultural and technical complexities.