Museveni courts Oyo as Tooro votes slip away


King Oyo meets Museveni at State lodge in Fort Portal

At the close of last week, President Museveni met Tooro King Omukama Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV.

Oyo who was accompanied by Tooro Kingdom officials and Queen Mother, Akiiki Best Kemigisa, met the president at Fort Portal State Lodge.

“Before leaving for the campaign trail this morning, I met King Oyo who paid me a courtesy call at the State Lodge in Fort Portal,” Museveni’s handlers later wrote.

“The NRM government remains committed to supporting traditional and cultural institutions,” the president reiterated.

The president also promised to forgive former Tooro premier, John Katuramu, if he reconciled with the family of Tooro Prince Happy Kijanagoma.

Katuramu was convicted and sentenced to death in 1999.

Museveni made the promise after being besieged by residents at Kibiito trading centre demanding Katuramu’s release.

Ugly past

In 2014, tempers rose in Fort Portal after Museveni called Oyo a “boy”.

Government spokespersons instead of calming the situation insisted Museveni was right to address the monarch as such.

Riots were about to rage in Fort Portal town over the insult.

In the same year, Museveni told Oyo to go ahead with his hunger strike as it would help to “put his size in good shape”.

Oyo announced a hunger strike to protest President Museveni’s decision of creating more kingdoms out of the greater Tooro kingdom namely; Obudhingiya Bwa Bamba and Rwenzururu kingdoms.

“If my son the King of Tooro has decided to fast, it will help him guard his figure and remain fit,” the president is quoted to have said while defending the new kingdoms.

The then Kingdom Prime Minister, Steven Kaliba, demanded that Museveni apologises to the monarch.

Museveni softens

In September 2014, President Museveni sent a message assuring King Oyo that government would continue supporting him in all endeavours to promote unity, peace and development in the Kingdom.

“I am gratified to note that since the restoration of the cultural institution in Tooro 20 years ago, the NRM government has enjoyed cordial and a healthy relationship with your kingdom,” Museveni said.

President Museveni’s message was delivered by the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda who represented him at the 20th coronation anniversary of King Oyo at Karuzika palace in Fort Portal in Kabarole district.

Museveni thanked the people of Tooro for supporting government development programmes and entrusting NRM with the responsibility of leading the country.

The President said government was investing in building sound infrastructure such as roads, railways, and power plants to unlock the potential of harnessing the country’s resources.

The President contributed 50 million shillings towards the 20th Empago celebrations.

Votes sliding away

Just when Museveni was campaigning in Tooro, the Banyabindi community protested over unfulfilled pledges by the NRM government.

According to NTV, in a meeting held in Kinyamaseke in Kasese district, where majority of them live, the Banyabindi community returned about 1,200 ruling party cards.

They promised to back the opposition if it fulfils their demands.

The Banyabindi also accused their cultural leader of pursuing selfish interests at the expense of the community.

However, Defence minister, Dr Chrispus Kiyonga, who was in the area canvassing for votes promised that government would address the community’s needs.

Museveni makes more promises

After meeting Oyo, Museveni continued his campaign tour of Rwenzori sub-region.

He held four rallies Kibaale District in Bugangaizi County, Buyanja County, Buyaga County East and Buyaga County West.

At Kagadi Town Council, he promised that the Karuguza-Kakumiro-Ndaiga road would be tarmacked.

“As for the Hoima-Kyenjojo road, it is already commissioned for construction. I also stopped the process of setting up a barracks in Kyomukama,” he said.

On the question of Kagadi District, it was granted long ago but some of the leaders have been telling lies, Museveni said, telling them to stop.

“To start a new district requires a lot of money. We only placed a halt for two years so that we finish other projects like roads and electricity. We shall revert to districts thereafter.”

At Bujenje Constituency in Masindi District, Museveni promised to build a memorial school to commemorate the attack of Masindi Barracks during the bush war.

The Masindi-Bulyamushenyu-Nakaseke road will be tarmacked just as the bridge to Kyankwanzi, he promised.

After Kibaale District, Museveni headed to Buliisa and ended in Kiryandongo District on Monday.

He said unity could not have found a more appropriate place than Kiryandongo.

“It is a district with over 65 tribal groupings. It is important that everyone here appreciates unity and harmonious living.”

The government will build a technical school in Buruuli in Kibanda South just as it has done in Kibanda North, he pledged.

He directed the Prime Minister to go to Kiryandongo and resolve the land/ranch conflicts there.

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