Another person has emerged to claim the Busongora Kingship almost seven weeks after elders installed their own king and sought to break away from Rwenzururu Kingdon. Fifty-year-old Benon Rwabukuru Asiimwe of Runyinya in Sheema district claims to be the rightful grandchild and heir to late Omubiito Kaihura the last King of Basongora.
Fifty-year-old Benon Rwabukuru Asiimwe of Runyinya in Sheema district claims to be the rightful grandchild and heir to late Omubiito Kaihura the last King of Basongora.
On July 1st 2012, Basongora elders crowned Ivan Bwebale Rwigi IV Rutakirwa Agutamba Kabumba as the Basongora cultural leader, ending 49 years of waiting since the death of Bwebale’s grandmother, Queen Kogyere II Ikamiro, in 1963.
The installation of 72-year-old Rutakirwa created tension in the area as it saw the creation of two kingdoms—the Rwenzururu Kingdom and Busongora Kingdom—in Kasese district.
The Rwenzururu Kingdom officials opposed Rutakirwa’s installation and accused him of forcefully imposing himself on the people of Kasese.
Two days after Bwebale’s installation, a drum and flag, the symbols of the supposed Muhokya based Busongora Kingdom were stolen by pro-Obusinga people armed with spears in what appeared to be a sign of violence.
But Rwabukuru now calls on Bwebwale to immediately relinquish Busongora throne or else he drugs him to courts of law in order to have the right full king installed.
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Rwabukuru says his lineage to the throne follows the late Prince Kasigano, who was heir of king Kaihura, followed by Cosia Rwabukuru Kazini, his father who died in 2011.
He says that after his father’s death, he was immediately installed heir by Basongora elders who include Cosia Mpazi and Mzee Yona Kasese among others.
Rwabukuru claims that his grandfathers, who include Prince Kasigano and Paul Kanjangu Kasigano, were in the 1920s forced to leave their kingdom headquarters now occupied by Mweya Safari Lodge in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kasese district to Sheema in Ankole.
Following their displacement by the Government then, Basongora have not been having a traditional leader according to Rwabukuru.
But in a telephone interview, Jimmy Kagoro Muzoora, the first deputy prime minister and Public Relations Officer for Busongora Kingdom says that they are not bothered with anybody claiming to be the true leader of Basongora.
Muzoora says as the Basongora communities in Kasese, they don’t have any specific clan they believe in to rule them. He insists that Bwebale and all his subjects in Kasese will not pay any allegiance to a Mubiito claiming their kingdom.
Muzora says since the by-elections for Kasese woman Member of Parliament are over, Bwebale’s advisers are planning to drag the Rwenzururu Kingdom to courts of law for raiding their headquarters, stealing the flag, drum and other properties that the Basongora used to install their own king.
Busongora South MP Boaz Kafuda, who is also a member of the Basongora community, says he is worried with such news of another person emerging to claim Busongora kingship which is already embattled.
Kafuda advises Rwabukuru and the rest of the Basongora communities to go slow on issues of kingship to avoid sparking off further ethnic clashes.
Kafuda says both the political and cultural leaders are currently talking with both the Busongora and Rwenzururu kingdom officials to defuse tension and advocate for peaceful co-existence among all ethnic groups in Kasese.