[Speech audio clips included in this story]
Kabaka Muwenda Mutebi II of Buganda used his speech at the June 18, 2017 annual Buganda Royal Art Shield Festival (BrashFEST) to instruct Mengo that they need to do a much better job of working transparently and democratically when introducing and implementing kingdom policies and projects.
Speaking in carefully chosen words and with his usual diplomatic tone, the Kabaka essentially told the Katikkiro, Buganda Land Board (BLB) and others in Mengo to stop behaving like Uganda dictators who have imposed policies and projects on Baganda since 1966. “Ku nsonga ye ttaka, kijja kwetagisa okwongera amaanyi mu kusomesa abantu baffe, bategeere kiki ekigendererwa mu nteketeeka zaffe. Awo basobole bo okwesalirawo” (“On the issue of land,it will be necessary to better educate our people, so they understand the objectives of our plans. That way, they can make their own decisions”), the Kabaka said in Luganda.
He added, “Abantu baffe aba BLB n’ebitongole mu gavumenti ye Mengo, betaaga okwongera amaanyi mu misomo egikwaata ku ttaka n’engeri gyetwagala okutambuzaamu enkola zaffe ku ttaka ly’Obwakabaka” (“Our people in BLB and other departments in [Buganda Government] need to put more energy into the education programs on land matters and how we want to conduct our business regarding kingdom land.”
Immediately after becoming Katikkiro in 2013, Mr. Mayiga introduced a program to commercialize virtually every activity at Mengo. The high emphasis on money in Mengo has increased corruption in the kingdom and weakened the clans, youth organizations and other Baganda institutions. At the same time, the Katikkiro has publically admitted that he protects thieves in Mengo and handles them internally (See: Katikkiro admits he protects Mengo workers who steal from Kabaka but still punishes them privately).
Although Kabaka Mutebi did not explicitly mention it, the Kyapa mu Ngalo fund raising scheme is the latest of many secretly planned Mengo initiatives to collect money from unsuspecting people in Buganda. Mengo is pushing plot (kibanja) holders on Kabaka’s land to register and get 49-year leases. Today, such plot holders pay less that one US dollar in ground rent.
Those who register under Kyapa mu Ngalo will get land titles from Uganda NRM government after paying a substantial goodwill fee and agreeing to an annual land ground rent. If they fail to pay the ground rent or after 49 years, they will lose their rights to the land. Mayiga and BLB emphasize that plot holders who do not get leases will miss the opportunity to borrow money from banks and make it easy for foreigners take the land from Baganda in future.
However, 15 of the 22 Baganda bibanja holders BugandaWatch has interview around Nansana since June 20th think that Mengo wants to wants to kick them off the land and sell it to rich Banyankore and Banyarwanda for quick money, like Ettofaali (See Suspicious Security Incidents Expose Kabaka and Katikkiro to Danger and Suspicious Security Incidents Expose Kabaka and Katikkiro to Danger). They are like one Namata, whose husband inherited a kibanja on Kabaka’s land. She told BugandaWatch, “Mayiga and Kyewalabye Male know that people like my husband will soon borrow money using the land title, drink all of it and fail to pay. Then the lenders will just take the land so that that Mengo can resell it.”