Tooro King Enrolls For Military Training Top story

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In short
King Oyo is at Fort Kasenyi Special Forces School, Entebbe, commonly known as Kasenyi Military School, for a three-month military training.

Tooro King Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV has enrolled for military training.

A close relative to the King, who preferred anonymity, told Uganda Radio Network that Oyo reported for the training on June 1st at Fort Kasenyi Special Forces School, Entebbe, commonly known as Kasenyi Military School. The training school is run by the Special Forces Command (SFC), an elite force within the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) that protects the President and key installations in the country.

According to the relative the 24-year-old King will spend three months at the training school. In a telephone interview, SFC spokesperson Major Chris Magezi confirmed Oyo's presence at Kasenyi but added that the king was undergoing Basic Leadership Training. Magezi says such courses are done at the Kyankwanzi-based National Leadership Institute - NALI, but that the army opted for Kasenyi because the former is "busy".

Oyo's absence from a key kingdom function last weekend left many guests wondering his whereabouts. On Saturday, Oyo was supposed to attend the 87th birthday of his grandfather, Prince Switzer Kaijomurubi. Kaijamurubi is the only surviving child of the late King of Tooro, Daudi Kyebambe Kasagama.

Tooro prime minister Bernard Tungwako chose to downplay the Oyo's absence as minor, telling URN that the king was out of the country. Tungwako declined to comment on the reported military training and noted that his office had no information, official or unofficial, about the subject.

But a source within the palace said that Oyo could not attend the function because he was held up at the training.

Since the beginning of this year, there have been behind the scenes arrangements to have Oyo enrolled for a military training. This, kingdom observers said would help improve his leadership skills at this time when some members of the royal family have criticized his management style.

In January, during election campaigns, President Yoweri Museveni met King Oyo, his mother Best Kemigisa and selected members of the kingdom administration and the royal family. A source who attended the meeting said that the President asked Oyo if he wished to be taken for a military training. The king did not give a definite answer but promised to respond at a later date.

Asked for details about the training for King Oyo, Major Magezi simply said "there is an element of military training where the king has to wake up at 5 AM, go jogging, spend time with the fitness instructor, and then go for military drills after his breakfast."

Magezi noted that King Oyo is in company of some UPDF officers who are doing a refresher course.

King Oyo is scheduled to attend the swearing - in ceremony of new members of the Kingdom Parliament, the Orukurato on Friday.

Since last year Tooro has been struggling to contain a leadership crisis after Prince David Kiijanangoma, one of Oyo's cousins sought to unseat the king and declare himself ruler of the 186-year-old institution.

At the peak of the conflict, President Museveni appointed a committee headed by religious leaders to mediate in the conflicts. The committee was chaired by Bishop Reuben Kisembo of Rwenzori Diocese who was deputized by Bishop Robert Muhiirwa of Fort Portal Diocese. Other members on the committee were Bishop Jimmy Katuramu of the United Pentecostal Churches in Uganda, and Bishop James Mugenyi, Provincial Overseer National Fellowship of Born Again Pentecostal Churches.

Also on the committee were Sheikh Habiibu Mande, Mufti Adviser Tooro Region and Monsignor Fr. Peter Kumaraki from Fort Portal Diocese.

In December last year the committee released its report recommending, among others that the government enrolls King Oyo for a military training.

It is not yet clear if Oyo will continue for further training after the three months' course. If he does he will have followed the path taken by some of his relatives before.

His grandfather, Omukama Sir George Kamurasi Rukidi III was an Inspector in the Uganda Protectorate police in 1926 before becoming a Lieutenant in the 4th Battalion of the King's African Rifles, from 1928 until 1930. His subjects in Tooro nicknamed him "Ruraihyan'emundu", meaning one who sleeps with guns.

His son and Oyo's uncle, Prince Jimmy Mugenyi, was also a Lieutenant in the Uganda Army until he quietly retired from the force after the 1971 military coup. Prince Charles Happy Kiijanangoma was also an operative in the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) before he was shot dead in March 1999. 

In 2010, when he clocked 18 years, close palace officials including his mother, Best Kemigisa hinted that Oyo could join the famous Sandhurst Military Academy in the United Kingdom after his studies. However, he instead returned home after his degree course at the University of Winchester.

In March, Bamba cultural leader Lt. Col Martin Kamya also enrolled for a one year military training course on the orders of President Museveni.