By Andrew Irumba
Fort Portal: As we report this, the reigning King of Tooro Kingdom, Rukirabasaija Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV Amooti and Queen mother Best Kemigisa Akiiki are sitting on tenterhooks over endless Kingdom property scandals which have since exposed them to all sorts of critics and court battles, this time with the ruling clan heads.
Taking you back to the genesis of it all, some time back, Gov’t of Uganda accepted to return the Kingdom properties of Tooro back to the Kingdom. These properties include land, buildings in the Tooro Sub-region, including Katwe sault in Kasese District which is now in the territory of Rwenzururu Kingdom.
However, Batooro are up in arms with their King Oyo after they landed on classified information where Oyo and his mother Best Kemigisa had duped Gov’t to change Kingdom properties into the names of Oyo Nyimba and therefore take the compensation for their personal gains, rather than Tooro community.
According to documents chanced on by the investigative online paper,TheSpy Uganda, properties were changed from the Tooro Kingdom into Oyo’s names, something that has since created division within the Kingdom.
“Since time immemorial, all Kings held Tooro properties in trust on behalf of their subjects, they’re simply caretakers, not owners. But Oyo with his mother had cracked a deal whereby all the properties were changed into private names and companies and ready to trade them to Gov’t as Private properties,” Mr.Rukidi Mbogo, one of the Babiito clan heads told out reporter.
Joram Bintamanya, a district counselor in Fort Portal tourism city told this reporter on phone on Monday that he, together with other district leaders foiled a meeting last week which had been organized by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda and the Tooro Kingdom officials led by King Oyo, primeminister Bernerd Tugwako, kingdom’s land minister Polly Kateeba among others to conduct final preparations to receive their second phase of compensation payment.
“Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda delegated local Gov’t Raphael Magezi to come and conduct the meeting on his behalf. We stormed it and brought counter information regarding the properties and the compensation discussions were halted pending further consultations in the same. Unfortunately, these people had duped the whole president HE Yoweri Museveni to sign the MoUs with Oyo accepting to pay him as though he owns these properties. I even understand he got partial payment on the properties already,” Joram said on phone.
The chairman of the Babiito ruling clan, father Charles Oyo, who is also King Oyo’s uncle told this reporter that among other actions they’re taking as a clan is to take their own son (King Oyo) to court over the sale of Kingdom properties, which he simply inherited from their great grandfathers.
“As I speak to you now, I’m in Katooke Mwenge chairing elders, clan members and the general public, getting their signatures which are required to make our case both in Court and the prime minister’s office,” he said.
Some Of Previous Scandals
It’s not the first time King Oyo and Best Kemigisa are in the news for allegedly selling Tooro Kingdom properties and using the money for personal reasons.
In the year 2020, the same King of Tooro was issued a legal notice by Akampurira and Partners Advocates over dubious take over of premises that hosted Sarah Medical Clinic in Fort Portal town after transferring premises’ documents from the Kingdom into the names of Oyo Nyimba as an individual.
In the same year of 2020, the King and one of the Fort Portal’s popular tycoon Kagoro were involved in a wrangle over land comprised in Block 72 Plots 30 & 31 at Harukoto, in Fort Portal town, near Karuzika Palace. In fact, the King refused to accept the defeat despite the High Court’s judgment on the same in favor of Kagoro in 2016.
Kagoro revealed that in 2012, Omukama Oyo, under whose instructions the kingdom administration was working, tried to grab the said land but he [Kagoro] dragged them to court vide case file number Civil Suit LD No. 27 of 2012, and won the case.
Background Of Returning Kingdom Properties (Ebyeitu)
On September 17, 1967, then Ugandan Prime Minister, Dr Apollo Milton Obote outlawed kingdoms in Uganda.
Obote abolished the three tribal kingdoms of Ankole, Buganda, and Bunyoro, in addition to the chieftaincy of Busoga.
From then on, the country assumed the status of a republic until 1993 when the current regime restored the kingdoms.
On September 2, 2019, the government and the Kingdom of Tooro, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to return the kingdom assets.
“This MoU is made pursuant to the traditional rulers (Restitution of Assets and properties) Act of 1993 and aims for the return of the assets of the Kingdom of Tooro and to establish the framework for the negotiations and modalities for the return of expropriated Tooro Kingdom properties,” the MoU reads in part.
Under the same MoU, the Kingdom was given Shs2b as part payment towards compensation dues.
Below Is The MoU That Was Signed Between Kingdom Of Tooro & Government