A team of prominent leaders from Bukedi sub region have petitioned the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Hon. Frank Tumwebaze to withdraw recognition of the Obwa Ikumbania bwa Bugwere cultural institution saying it is promoting disunity.
While meeting the Minister in Kampala on Tuesday, the delegation led by Prof. Vinand Mukatabala Nantulya said the introduction of the institution had brought about friction, misunderstandings and disunity amongst the people.
“It has divided clans and spiritual institutions; and it has generated outright hostility and hatred among the people of Bugwere.” Prof. Nantulya said while reading from the petition that was later handed over to Hon. Frank Tumwebaze for redress. The cultural institution covers the districts of Pallisa, Kibuku, Butebo and Budaka in Eastern Uganda.
The delegation that was composed of over 60 representatives including clan heads, elders, opinion leaders and Kabweri county Member of Parliament, Hon. Francis Gonahasa claimed that their sitting cultural leader had been gazetted “under unclear circumstances” and that he had gone ahead to declare Bugwere to be a Royal Kingdom, which they say is wrong.
They said their society has traditionally been managed through clans and they were comfortable with that system.
“It’s therefore the contention of the Bagwere people as represented by the elders, opinion leaders and clan heads whose names and signatures are appended to this petition that the prevailing situation is unacceptable. In the interest of peace, unity and development of our community, Hon. Minister, we pray that Government withdraws recognition of this institution of Obwa Ikumbania bwa Bugwere and suspends its operations.” The petitioned stated.
The team claimed that this would allow time for the people of Bugwere to consult widely to themselves to determine how they wish to be governed and which decision shall be communicated to the Ministry.
In his remarks, Hon. Frank Tumwebaze called for calm as the Ministry studies the claims contained in the petition.
“Cultural institutions should exist for harmony and therefore we are going to look at the documents, study the history and make wide consultations before pronouncing a position to resolve the current differences” the Minister said.
He however cautioned either sides in the wrangle against misrepresenting the position of the Ministry to suit their agenda before an official pronunciation is made.
“Don’t go and misrepresent us. Let’s have the status quo remain as we listen to the current leadership and hold consultations with other stakeholders. We will not keep quiet about your concerns but allow us handle the matter without fear or favour” The minister added.
He revealed that a meeting with area MPs, LC 5 chairpersons and RDCs as observers would be convened in the immediate future in efforts to swiftly resolve the impasse.