Opinion: Is Kooki “returning” to weaken Buganda?

The Kingdom of Kooki, also known as the Kooki Kingdom, was a pre-colonial African kingdom located within present-day Rakai District of Uganda that existed from approximately 1740 until 1896. The kingdom ceased to exist as an independent state in 1896 when it merged into the British Protectorate of Buganda. Its royal line still continues to this day as a Subnational Chiefdom, and is currently led by Kamuswaga Apollo Sansa Kabumbuli II. In 27 July, 2015, the Kooki Kingdom declared independence from Buganda but it wasn’t recognized by Buganda” (Dbpedia/Wikipedia – ‘Kooki Kingdom’).

What is happening these days and the movements from Rakai district. It is obvious that National Resistance Movement (NRM) is involved in the rise of Kooki Kingdom. That is done to revive the old chiefdom and recognize it to dampen the power-base of the Kababa Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II. As well, as Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga, which is to give less prominence to the whole Lukiiko.

That’s why the establishment and the possible recognition of Kooki would seem to happen. This is to damage and take away the cultural prominence of the Buganda kingdom. If this happens and as it seems to be moving towards that. This is done to humble and show Mengo who is the real boss. That’s the move of the President just to prove a point and that his the man in-charge.

We know that President Museveni has re-launched the cultural kingdoms of the Republic. Though he has never acknowledged or even tried to re-instate the Ankole Kingdom. That’s most likely for personal grievances. Though he did also re-instate Bunyoro and Rwenzururu, though the latter is in exile and haven’t been allowed to be in his own kingdom for years.

Online there is suddenly pictures on the roads with a welcoming sign of entering into “Kooki Kingdom”. A kingdom not yet recognized and breaking away from the Buganda kingdom. That is an act, which isn’t recognizing the old agreements between the chiefdom and the kingdom itself. Has the agreement been revoked or been dissolved?

Yes, in the 1896 agreement it’s a few vital stipulations, which could still be key to this day: “And I recognise that henceforth the sovereign of Kooki is Mwanga king of Uganda [Buganda] and after him, his heirs and successors. And I recognise further that all treaties, international agreements, laws and regulations of every kind, as well as tribute and other obligations of every kind at the time and the future in force or leviable in Uganda are henceforth similarly applicable stand leviable in Kooki which now becomes an integral part of the kingdom of Uganda [Buganda]. And I Mwanga, king of Uganda [Buganda], hereby pledge myself and my government and my heirs and successors to recognise Kamuswaga, hitherto independent king of Kooki, as a Muganda saza of the first class whose province shall be Kooki, which henceforth becomes part and province of the kingdom of Uganda [Buganda]” (The Spear News – ‘The 1896 Buganda Kooki agreement (Verbatim)’, 14.06.2017).

These words are detrimental and very clear. It is written at a different time and for a reasons of such, which was the reason for the agreement in the first place. The times we are living in now is totally different, but the current Kooki is by the agreement an “integral part” of the Buganda kingdom.

This is how the Kooki addressed the old agreements and in a letter in 2015: “In a July 27 letter to Charles Peter Mayiga, the Buganda katikkiro (prime minister), Kooki prime minister Hajji Idi Ahmed Kiwanuka publicly announced its independence from Buganda, complicating an already damaged relationship. Kiwanuka’s letter was also a protest note against Mayiga’s planned visit to Kooki County for a fundraiser for the beautification of the Kabaka’s lake in Ndeeba near Kampala. “Irrespective of individual and/or institutional perspective, Kooki by all laws governing the Republic of Uganda, is a lawful cultural institution with a hereditary leader, governance structures, with due protocol and indeed independence,” the letter partly reads. Historically, Kooki is one of the recognized counties of the wider Buganda kingdom. In the letter, however, the county leaders say the cultural institution will maintain a “deliberate co-existence” with sister cultural institutions. Copies of the letter were sent to State House, ministers of gender, labour and social development; internal affairs and defence” (Uganda News Releases – ‘Kooki Leadership Declares Independence From Buganda (allAfrica.com)’ 05.08.2015).

We have to await and see, but this is a game played from the State House to tussle with Mengo. That is a deliberate act, as we know the fear and the recent openness of love between the President and the Kabaka. There is a reason for it and it could been done in spite. Because, the President wants to end “Mailo Land” for instance. So, this could be done now in an act of revenge and prove to the Lukiiko and Katikkiro that they got nothing to say.

The President can just decree and order. That’s why you shouldn’t be shocked or surprised. This a game of divide and conquer. It is nothing new in the eyes of Museveni. That’s a game his been playing out his whole career. The latest could be this and Mengo should listen. If they act to much out. They might easily be further targeted and loose other “provinces” too. Because, Museveni might favour Bunyoro over Buganda now. Who knows?

But… Museveni is a man of this sort of play and the Kabaka is getting tested. Peace.

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