Kabaka, President Museveni, and Giant Curves Spice up the Week

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Sometime back, Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II placed a courtesy telephone call requesting a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni, perhaps in Rwakitura, Nakasero or Entebbe. In response, President Museveni told him that he, (Museveni) could actually come to the palace because Kabaka Mutebi had been to State House several times before, hence the jovial meeting witnessed mid this week in Banda.  Apparently, Mengo palace had become impatient that the commitments made in 2015 to handover all land titles, and pay compensation for properties already sold was not forthcoming. As the Norbert Mao remarked teasingly to Buganda’s Attorney General Daudi Mpanga, “the leopard of went to meet the lion of Buganda,” on one of this week’s television talk-shows, leaving Mpanga in stitches.

This meeting comes on the backdrop of a rebuke by Katikiro Charles Peter Mayiga while addressing the Lukiiko to government critics using Mengo platform to derisively compare President Museveni’s leadership with past rogue regimes of Idi Amin, Milton Obote and Tito Okello Lutwa. "The truth is NRM government is far way better than Amin and Obote governments in so many aspects. It’s only those who don’t know the past or have not read history that can compare the NRM government with those governments," said Mayiga. 

Some young Baganda seeking a quick career in elective politics have made it a habit to use the various platforms that Mengo offers to disparage President Museveni by spewing lies, hate and tribal incitement. They appear motivated by the false belief that ridding on the back Mengo gives quick ticket to political fame. Over time these reckless politicians have prided in creating a wedge between Mengo, and President Museveni, sometimes leading un-necessary confrontations. Quite often they have been arrogant to good counsel to act responsibly and stop sawing seeds of hatred. 

Many naïvely believed that they would create a permanent rift between the Kabaka and President Museveni for as long as it served their selfish and immediate political interests, and so this week’s meeting must be a hard-dizzying slap of their face. The overtly cordial meeting, seen from the photographs released, showing Kabaka Mutebi, laughing himself off to a near fall on his back, has left many tongues in the opposition wagging loosely. President Museveni and the Kabaka first had an open meeting attended by their respective delegations whose results were confirmation of earlier position on returning in sequences the remaining Mengo assets, mostly buildings, verified land titles, and financial compensations as well as rent arrears for estates being occupied by government. In total Mengo claims close to 165Bn, although half of this is yet to be verified. President Museveni then directed that verified 52Bn be paid in three financial years. 

The president, and Kabaka Mutebi then retreated to a two-hour-two-man meeting, and your guess is as good as mine for now at least, but we hope it was aimed at reconciling divergent positions on many issues that affect national progress. Ugandans expect President Museveni at an appropriate time and through the right channels to provide an exhaustive and persuasive briefing on this meeting and agreements with traditional and cultural institutions, so that he is not seen to be cutting deals for personal political survival.

It is a continuation of work left behind by Prof. Apolo Nsibambi first minister for political and constitutional affairs who led the initial Mengo team in negotiations with government side led by Gen. Elly Tumwine following the restoration of cultural institutions in 1993 prior to debating and promulgation of the 1995 Constitution. Last week, Museveni also a meeting with Rukirabasaija Oyo Nyimba Kambambaiguru Rukidi IV, Omukama of Tooro Kingdom, to resolve similar outstanding issues over properties confiscated in 1966 by the UPC government.   

But as that ink was sinking, an enthusiastic tourism minister Godfrey Kiwanda Suubi, alongside one Ann Mungoma brought storm over a new promotion, Miss Curvy, falsely understood as a step towards putting Ugandan women on sex tourism. Kiwanda has been on a Tulambule tour to generate interest in local tourism on subsidized rates for Ugandans. And being ingenuous, he came up with among others a pageant of beautiful ladies sightseeing in the wilderness to appreciate our beauty, and hell broke loose on social media by the often superficial and hypocritical elites who turn most innovations negative. Perhaps Ugandans need to find why Thailand which doesn’t have half of Uganda’s wildlife is a tourist hub. 

Surely, if you can accept slim-skinny beauty queens to market Uganda under Miss Uganda, Miss Tourism and Miss World and hired on billboards by telecom, beer and airline companies, you certainly can accept miss curvy. Uganda must cut out hypocrisy and political correctness. Just as a reminder, the same women folk in the NGO world now condemning miss curvy, were three years ago defending and promoting the infamous V-monologue, and recently Nyege Nyege as inherent freedom to let everyone enjoy their beautiful natural bodies. In fact they even opposed parliament in enacting the anti-pornography law claiming it restricted personal freedoms.