Row Over Ownership Of Bunyoro Royal Tombs Land

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In short
A row is brewing among members of the ruling Babiito royal clan in Bunyoro kingdom, over the management and ownership of land on which kings are buried.

A row is brewing among members of the ruling Babiito royal clan in Bunyoro kingdom, over the management and ownership of land on which kings are buried.

Richard Juuko, a member of the ruling Babiito royal clan is claiming part of the Mparo Royal Tombs land. He claims he privately owns part of the 5-square mile land.

"I own some land there under a given tenure, which I may not want to disclose to the media," Juuko told URN on phone. He declined to further discus the matter. 

His claims have not gone down well with senior members of the Babiito clan. They are questioning how an individual came to own part of the kingdom property and want the kingdom to explain and state its position on the matter.

John Apollo Rwamparo, a senior member of the royal clan and former Minister of Tourism, Bunyoro kingdom, says as the Babiito clan members, they wouldn't need to have even an inch of that land.

"The sacred nature of that place and land that has lived over 140- years makes the land priceless.  The land does not belong to anybody or the king, but the institution, so nobody should dare lay claims on it," Rwamparo said in a telephone interview from Kampala.

Mparo royal tombs, is the official burial site for Bunyoro kings and other members of the royal family.

The burial site contains a mausoleum of Bunyoro's great ruler; Omukama Kabalega Cwa II, and that of his son, Sir Tito Winyi Gafabusa, the father of the current king, Solomon  Gafabusa Iguru I.

It is located in Mparo village Mparo Division in Hoima Municipality, 3km along the Hoima-Masindi road.

The area is not only a tourist site in Bunyoro, but also a sacred place where people go to pay homage to the former kings and seek blessings. It is among the restituted kingdom assets and properties, which the King holds in trust of his subjects.
However, the royal tombs land is now partly affected by the Buliima-Kabwoya road project, whose works were launched in September.

Juuko, who is currently the Principal Assistant Secretary Ministry of East African Community Affairs, is claiming ownership of the land and says he intends to pursue his compensation in January 2016 from the company carrying out compensation. 

Although Juuko said he would table his claim for compensation in January, Babiito clan members say Juuko has already tabled his claim for compensation with the aid of some kingdom officials whom they declined to name.

Efforts to get a comment from the Kingdom Prime Minister, Norman Lukumu were futile as he was reportedly out of office.

However, a source in the Kingdom lands office who spoke on condition of anonymity described the matter as "sensitive." He says they have seen a copy of Juuko's letter to the company.

The official says there is no communication from the king on the give way or sell of the said land to Juuko or the government.

Moses Mubiru, a consultant with Stanfield Consultancy firm, which was contracted to carry out compensation for the road stretch from Buliima to Kabwoya said they have not received any individual claims for ownership of Mparo Royal Tombs land.

"We have had issues on other Kingdom properties affected by the road project, where other claimants are coming up but not at Mparo," Mubiru said.

The consultant is currently evaluating properties affected by the 67km Buliima-Kabwoya road stretch. Juuko's claim comes amid concerns from kingdom subjects on the fraudulent sale of kingdom assets.


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