By Andrew Irumba
Fort Portal: His Majesty Dr. Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV, King of Tooro Kingdom in Uganda was born on 16th April 1992. When his father, Patrick David Mathew Rwamuhokya Kaboyo Olimi III passed away on 26th August 1995, the 3-year old Prince ascended the throne on 12th September 1995, entering the Guinness Book of World Records as the Youngest Reigning Monarch in the World.
There are two sides to King Oyo’s life. At the Aga Khan International School in Kampala, fellow students did not call him king and he tried to lead a simple life. Schoolmates greeted him with hugs and handshakes. “My friends at school didn’t care that I am a king. They treated me like any other student,” he said.
At one point, His Majesty ran from the throne and climbed onto his mother’s lap. He was scared of a lion-skin crown that was too heavy for his little head. “I was scared of the lion and the leopard skin that was placed on my chair and head, I had to run for my safety,” he recalls.
Another memorable dramatic occasion is when South African freedom icon President Nelson Mandela was at Kololo ceremonial grounds and wanted to greet the King, Oyo was busy playing with his toys behind the VIP tent. Mandela had to wait patiently until the royal was through with his games and made time to greet the freedom legend.
King Oyo was appointed a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for ending HIV/AIDS among the youth by 2030 because of his personal commitment in the fight against HIV/AIDS and his continued efforts for meaningful involvement of youth and cultural leaders in ending the AIDS epidemic. As UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador, His Majesty King Oyo is engaging and inspiring over 500 million young people to take a stand against HIV/AIDS using a creative mix of youth innovations, edutainment, sports, social media and advocacy.
In October 2016, His Majesty King Oyo started an initiative dubbed “Agriculture is Wealth” that aims to inspire and lead his people especially the youth to engage in agriculture/farming as a business for wealth creation, to solve unemployment and to gain food and income security.
His Majesty King Oyo now setting up model farms; and established partnerships for agriculture modernization, knowledge and technology transfer, research, climate change mitigation and adaptation and market access.
His Majesty King Oyo has established the “King Oyo Youth Innovations Fund” to inspire and support the youth to develop innovations and solutions to some of today’s greatest challenges like ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic, addressing unemployment, eradicating poverty, ensuring food security, managing disasters and promoting culture.
Since 2013, King Oyo has publicly been at the forefront of demanding for the return of the assets. In 2014, King Oyo supported Tooro youths who walked 300 kilometres from Fort Portal to Kampala protesting the delay by the government to return of the Kingdom’s property.
The kingdom is demanding for more than 150 assets including land and buildings from the government. 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 before starting their cultural institutions.
Some of the assets include large chunks of land that are currently being occupied by squatters especially in the counties of Mwenge and Kyaka in Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa district respectively and in Bunyangabu County in the newly created Bunyangabu district.
However it’s worth noting that even the little they have, the Tooro Kingdom Establishment and its subjects have been at loggerheads for over 16 yrs now, fighting over their mismanagement which has resulted into a lot of litigations against the Kingdom and Queen Mother Best Kemigisa in particular.
Apart from the land grabbing that is the norm of the day in Tooro, it’s alleged that many properties have been illegally sold at the command of the Queen Mother Best Kemigisa, who not only uses the iron hand of intimidation with SFC attached to her Royal Guards unit and that of King Oyo.
In addition to land grabbing practices allegedly geared by Queen Mother on behalf of her son, earlier 2020, the Kingdom was cited in a wrangle over land comprised in Block 72 Plots 30 & 31 at Harukoto, in Fort Portal town, near Karuzika Palace which is allegedly owned by Tycoon Kagoro Allan.
Mr Kagoro asserted that he owned the land, a fact that was declared by the High Court in 2016 Omukama Oyo also claimed ownership of the same and went ahead to instruct the UPDF engineering brigade to construct a perimeter wall around the palace, which enclosed the contested land.
Construction of the perimeter wall was part of the preparations for the first ever World Monarchies’ Summit that was to be hosted by President Yoweri Museveni and Omukama Oyo at his palace in September 2020, which later flopped due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Kagoro revealed that in 2012, Omukama Oyo, under whose instructions the Kingdom administration was working, tried to grab the said land but Kagoro dragged them to court vide case file number Civil Suit LD No. 27 of 2012, and won the case.
Judgement of the case which declared Kagoro as the rightful owner of the land was passed by the presiding Grade One magistrate Philip Oji, in absentia of Omukama Oyo and his lawyers because they refused to attend all court hearings,Later, Omukama Oyo appealed the judgement at the Fort Portal High Court but lost it still.
He didn’t only lose the case, but High Court tasked him and his kingdom administrators to pay Kagoro and his lawyers the legal costs, plus compensation for wasting Court’s time and that of the respondents.
However, it should be noted that before Oyo and Kagoro rows, the King was involved in a nasty property wrangle with one of his subjects only identified as Sarah who was renting his building/hostel in Fort Portal town, Kabarole district when he ordered bailiffs to evict her with her clinic she run at the facility.
Independently, this website learnt that although King Oyo and his team were fronting putting up a modern facility as the main reason for Sarah’s impending eviction, the actual truth beneath their feet and wouldn’t like the public probably to know.
“You see, since time immemorial, this property is owned by Tooro Kingdom, a King is simply a custodian of the properties of the people of Tooro, so now Oyo and the Queen mother want to change ownership from Tooro Kingdom into personal property of King Oyo so that they can embezzle the money’s there in, this is what they’ve been doing for most of the properties of the kingdom including Tea estates. Sarah has refused to pay money on Oyo’s account and instead paid on the kingdom’s, as she has always done, that’s the cracks of the matter,” South Division councilor Joram Bintamanya aka O’gwekyoma told this reported to our investigative reporter.
Leaving land issues a side, In what looked like a break away from tradition, Oyo once fasted for six days to protest what he called division of his kingdom. Oyo was disappointed that the creation of Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu in Kasese and Obudhingya Bwa Bamba in Bundibugyo had divided and weakened the power and supremacy of Tooro Kingdom.
Meanwhile, that’s little of the many incidents TheSpy Uganda noted under King Oyo’s Kingship but can’t conclude this article without reminding you the following monarch leaders.
BELOW IS THE LIST FOR KINGS OF TOORO
2.Ruhaga of Tooro:1865-1866
3.Nyaika Kyebambe I:1866-1871 and 1871-1872
7.Rububi Kyebambe II:1875 and 1877-1879
8.Kakende Nyamuyonjo: 1875-1876 and 1879-1880
9.Katera:1876-1877 Followed by Interregnum, reverted to Bunyoro:1880-1891
12.Olimi III:1965-1995. Interrupted by Interregnum:1967-1993
13.Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV:1995 to date