Tooro Kingdom Cancels 19th Empango Celebrations

5535 Views Fort Portal, Uganda

In short
Steven Kaliba, the Tooro Kingdom Premier confirmed the cancellation of the 19th coronation anniversary although the reason remains unspecified. In the past, the Kingdom has cancelled the celebrations due to financial constraints and when King Oyo was still pursuing his studies abroad.But this time round Kaliba ruled out finances as a possible cause

The King of Tooro Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV has called off this year’s Empango (coronation) celebrations.

The celebrations held annually on September 7th commemorate the day King Oyo ascended the throne following the death of his father Omukama Patrick Olimi Kaboyo. King Oyo ascended to the throne in 1995 at the age of three years.

Steven Kaliba, the Tooro Kingdom Prime Minister told Uganda Radio Network in an Interview that he was directed by King Oyo to call off the 19th celebrations although the reason for the cancellation remains unspecified. In the past, the Kingdom has cancelled the celebrations due to financial constraints and when King Oyo was still pursuing his studies abroad.

But this time round Kaliba ruled out finances as the cause for the cancellation.  He said that kingdom well-wishers were willing to provide financial assistance for the event.

Kaliba said that instead of the celebrations, normally held the King’s palace in Fort Portal town, the kingdom of Tooro will have several activities to mark the event. They include a church service at St. John’s Cathedral, and surgical camps at Virika and Fort Portal Referral Hospital. The King will also visit Tooro Kingdom counties and schools for an interaction with school children.

But a source close to King Oyo, who preferred anonymity, has told Uganda Radio Network that the decision was influenced by the belief that the celebration is meaningless amidst threats to the kingdom and king Oyo’s reign. The source says that Kingdom officials have pleaded with the King to rethink his decision, but he refused.   

In May, 2014, Tooro Kingdom protested the crowning of the Bamba Cultural leader, Omudingiya Martin Kamya. The Kingdom accused President Museveni of dividing the kingdom to weaken its power and supremacy. This was followed with a week of fasting by King Oyo in July, 2014 in protest of the same and the delay in the return the kingdom’s assets commonly referred to as ‘Ebyaitu’.

The return of ‘ebyaitu’ has been a key demand since last year’s Empango celebrations in which it was reiterated by King Oyo himself, Omuhikirwa Stephen Kaliba Kingdom loyalists. The campaign was also reinforced by a youth group referred to as ‘Amacumu ne Bitara bya Rukirabasaija’ who were recently involved a 300km walk from Fort portal to Kampala to deliver the petition to parliament.

The demand covers 75 titled pieces of land and properties still withheld by Uganda land Commission, Compensation for wear and tear of all assets and properties during the time they were withheld in Central government and Return of all Counties and Sub County headquarters within their territory. The assets are located in Kabarole, Kamwenge, Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa, Kasese and Bundibugyo districts.

However, the cancellation of the coronation event has received mixed reaction from friends and Loyalists.  Saulo Mugasa, the Tooro Kingdom parliament speaker describes the turn of events as unfortunate.
He says the coronation event is a time when the different clans unite and know each other and also when people especially the youths learn about the Tooro culture but hasten to add that the King's decision should be respected.


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.