Self-Styled Babukusu King Installed Despite Court Injunction

3331 Views Bududa, Eastern Region, Uganda

In short
The Babukusu ethnic community has installed Wash Joseph Kanyanya as their cultural leader, defying a court injunction that was issued against the ceremony.

The Babukusu ethnic community has installed Wash Joseph Kanyanya as their cultural leader, defying a court injunction that was issued against the ceremony.

They ignored the August 29th High Court order and installed Kanyanya as a parallel cultural king in the region on Saturday.

On Friday last week, Kanyanya declined to sign the recipe of the court injunction signed by Musimbi Musene, the Registrar of Mbale High Court. He also vowed to ignore the High Court order arguing that it was an intimidation by the Inzu Ya Masaba, the official cultural institution in Bugisu to his personality and the entire Babukusu community.

The injunction followed a petition by a team of officials from Inzu Ya Masaba, the main cultural institution of Bugisu who are protesting the existence of Kanyanya’s kingdom.
 
Bob Musokoli, the Minister In charge of Foreign Affairs of Inzu Ya Masaba in his petition claimed that the Babukusu are just a small clan in Bugisu which cannot form a Kingdom. Musokoli and his team also argued among other things that the coronation of Wash Kanyanya would cause a serious tribal rift in Bugisu, something he wanted stopped before it turned bloody.

However, led by Justine Khainza, the Bududa District Woman Member of Parliament, the Babukusu said their action is within the law, citing Article 37 of the Constitution which provides for any ethnic community to have a cultural leader. MP Khainza said their cultural institution is legitimate as is reorganized by the Uganda’s constitution and that it is already registered with the National Cultural Leaders’ Forum.

The coronation was conducted in a well attended ceremony at the cultural palace at Bulucheke Sub County. It also witnessed the appointment of 250 clan chiefs before installing Kanyanya.

Shortly after his installation, Kanyanya called for restraint and peace. But he asked his subjects to protect the Kingdom, its officials, property and norms by all means. He insisted that they are Babukusu and not Bagisu as claimed by the Inzu Ya Masaba.

Kanyanya also asked his subjects to be strong as he will not bow to any intimidation from anyone outside the Kingdom.

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He also appealed to the local leaders from Babukusu to stand strong and defend their ethnic community. Kanyanya asked the public to ignore the MPs from Bugisu who recently disassociated themselves from him and his Kingdom.

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Kanyanya says as the fully installed King, his leadership is challenged with a task of uniting his subjects some of who have been divided by the Inzu Ya Masaba. He says he also wants to empower his subjects through education, health and protecting their environment.

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The installation of Kanyanya which some argue would end the cultural impasse in the region  seems nothing as the Inzu Ya Masaba officials insists they will challenge it in  court. Bob Musokoli, the Minister In charge of Foreign Affairs of Inzu Ya Masaba says they will fight until they bring Kanyanya and his Kingdom down.

 

About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.