New Tooro Kingdom Anthem Sparks Controversy

6641 Views Fort Portal, Uganda

In short
Dan Rubombora, the head of the royal clan in Prince Kijanangoma camp says that they will no longer honor the old anthem.

The rendition of Tooro Kingdom anthem has sparked a controversy.

The new version was composed by the Kogere Cultural Foundation, an entertainment group under Engazu Za Tooro. The group was contracted to redo the anthem by the camp of Tooro rebel prince David Kijanangoma.

The new version is titled "Agutamba" like the old one. However, the lyrics are different. Unlike the old one which praises and glorifies the King, the new version praises Tooro and her the people.

The old anthem with four stanzas was composed by the late George Magwara in 1945. 
Magwara was a member of the Tooro Parliament, the Orukurato. He composed it during the reign of Omukama George Kamurasi Rukidi III. It is often sung during government and cultural functions. All the four stanzas are sung when the King is present. 
Magwara, a veteran of the Second World War, also served during the reign of Omukama Patrick Kaboyo and current king, Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV. He died in 2005 at the age of 84. 
Dan Rubombora, the head of the royal clan in Prince Kijanangoma camp says that they will no longer honour the old anthem. 
Rubombora explains that the old anthem has no respect for the people of Tooro, since it praises only the King.

Rubombora adds that the new anthem will be sung at all functions that will be graced by Prince Kijanangoma.
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The anthem is now popular on some of the radio stations in Fort Portal. Copies of the anthem are also on high demand. A copy of the anthem on CD is being sold at 5,000 Shillings.

Tooro Kingdom has reacted angrily to the new anthem and accused the Kijanangoma camp of distorting history and Tooro culture. Kennedy Gusaalire, the Kingdom spokesperson, says that no one has the mandate to change the anthem without seeking approval from the King and kingdom parliament.

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Charles Muhanga, the custodian of Kingdom history, says that the old anthem is unique since it promotes the Tooro culture and glorifies the King. Muhanga, who was present on December 3rd 1945, the first day the anthem was sang, says that Omukama Rukidi, who rarely smiled, was overjoyed when he heard the anthem.

David Irumba, one of Magwara's grandchildren says the family hasn't been approached for permission to redo the anthem. He says that his grandfather's work should be appreciated instead of being altered.

Irumba notes that Magwara was inspired to compose the anthem because of the love he had for the King and was never paid for his efforts to compose the anthem.  


About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.