By Wilson Akiiki Kaija
Can someone help teach Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV how to be His Majesty the King of Tooro? When an excited Television journalist comes to the King’s Palace and asks the Monarch to “take a seat…,” know that something is not right.
When the King’s subjects complain about the poor state of the Kingdom and the King goes to a local police post to report a case of threatening violence and promoting harmful propaganda, one only waits to see just how low the “Lion of Tooro” is going to bend.
When parts of his beautiful Kingdom secede and tell him to seek permission from local leaders whenever he wants to visit his people, one would naturally expect the King to show leadership and “restore order.” But the 20-year-old King Oyo, is simply too nice for the job or those supposed to teach him how to “rule” are not doing their job. He ascended the throne on September 2, 1995, nine days after the death of his father, Patrick Olimi Kaboyo III.
Already on the throne for 17 years, King Oyo still appears not to be in charge. Last week, Ntoroko District Local Council 5 Chairperson Timothy Kyamanywa banned the singing of the Tooro Kingdom Anthem in schools in his district, while meeting primary and secondary school teachers.
Kyamanywa said that singing the Tooro Anthem meant that Ntoroko is part of the Kingdom yet it is not, an open challenge to King Oyo’s authority. In August, while visiting Ntoroko district, King Oyo asked all schools to sing the Kingdom Anthem at morning and evening assemblies.
Even the Tooro flag, which the King hoisted in several other schools and sub-county headquarters, have been removed on the orders of Ntoroko district council. According to Kyamanywa, King Oyo is recognized as any other visitor in the area, but not King.
How the King responds to this challenge to his authority will define his future decision-making when similar “rebellions” spring up.
Ntoroko, formerly known as Butuku, was part of Bundibugyo district under Tooro Kingdom until it became a separate district in July 2010. Majority of its over 60,000 people are Batuku, a pastoral community. Ironically, King Oyo’s mother, Tooro’s Queen Mother Best Kemigisa, is a Mutuku from Ntoroko.
On July 2, King Oyo excited his subjects when he walked through Fort Portal town, on return from the UK. But what followed thereafter left elders in the Kingdom reminiscing “those old days” when the King was a Guardian, the Giver of Hope, the Defender and Listener. After a few days, about 15 elders decided to do what was a norm since Tooro Kingdom was established in 1830. They went to Karuziika (Palace) to greet the king. When they got there at about 10am, the King was resting. They requested to see him and after a few minutes they were told he was on his way to meet them. King Oyo showed up and sat on his throne. While the elders prostrated before him, Far from the picture of a formal monarch in royal robes or a suit, the King listened to music on his iPod.
Tooro has had a leadership vacuum for almost 50 years since the death of Sir George Kamurasi Rukidi III in 1965.
Batooro therefore need a king strong enough to rebuild the kingdom and restore it to its past glory. They were willing to wait for the three-year-old to come of age and they celebrated in April 2010, when Oyo turned 18 and officially took over management of his kingdom from his regents. But His Majesty’s presence is yet to be felt.
So, when UBC TV presenter Jane Kasumba, in front of cameras at the wedding reception for Princess Ruth Komuntale and Christopher Thomas on November 17 at Karuziika in Fort Portal, asked King Oyo to take a seat, i was left thinking that perhaps the King might need to take some lessons in being King.