Media & Reports
Mon 7 Nov 2016
This press statement is in response to the positive speech made by Hon. Dr. Crispus Kiyonga at a fundraising ceremony at Ihandiro Vocational Secondery School in Kasese District, on Saturday 5 November 2016. I am pleased to learn that Dr. Crispus Kiyonga has affirmed the need to regularize relations between the government of Uganda and Busongora Kingdom in matters relating to gazetting of our cultural institution.
Busongora Kingdom officials have been concerned about the prevailing misperception that we lack formal recognition by the State House, despite the fact that the kingdom is automatically entitled - under article 246 of the Uganda Constitition - to all of the rights and duties accorded cultural institutions that existed prior to the tabling of the 1995 Constitution. Busongora Kingdom is on record in the official archives of the Uganda Protectorate dating back to the 1890s, and has existed for about 1000 years.
In 2013 the Minister of Gender filed a request in the Uganda Parliament asking for Busongora Kingdom to be funded annually as required by the constitution. At that time that parliament had not made provision to fund Busongora Kingdom because its was short of funds. We have since received assurances from one of the parliamentary committees concerned that the funding shortage would be rectified in the 2017 budget.
We would like to thank Dr. Kiyonga, as well as members of parliament, and other concerned leaders, for their effiorts in ensuring that all cultural institutions are treated equally, and are held accountable to the public for the work they do on behalf of the government in promoting culture as per their constitutional mandate.
We would also like to thank the Uganda Government for their recognition of our cultural institution by way of availing Busongora Kingdom with the joint UNESCO & Ministry of Gender & Ministry of Education program that has been documenting and inscribing our intangible cultural heritage since 2014.
Besides the UNESCO project, Busongora Kingdom has embarked on various other programs designed to safeguard our culture and to document our history. Among the projects are such things as the Busongora Encyclopedia, a Genealogical Service, a Museum and Art Gallery at Ikamiro Palace, an Ecological Learning Centre, and much more besides. The Kingdom is also going to construct a palace at Karungibarole. The new palace will be designed to house and showcase ancient cultural artefacts and documents relating to thousands of years of Busongora’s place in world history.
Omukama [King] Ndahura II Imara Kashagama
Ikamiro Palace - Busongora Kingdom
Date: Fri. 14. Oct. 2016
Re: The Proposed Splitting of Kasese District
I’d like to express my gratitude to all the persons who have invested their time and effort in proposing and negotiating for the four new designated districts in Kasese. I would also like to commend president Museveni, and the members of the Uganda Parliament, NGOs, religious leaders, and state security organs, for their constructive interventions, which are aimed at maintaining peace and harmony among the communities in the Rwenzori region.
The Rwenzori Region needs peace and we ALL have to work together regardless of what districts are created. I urge that all three cultural institutions in Kasese should use our time and resources to create awareness of the positive relations between our communities, and to promote constructive dialogue, and work to improve the capacity of our communities to participate equally and fully in government and community projects.
I am concerned about destruction of Busongora’s history and culture, and I am requesting that the councillors of the designated districts do their best to retain and incorporate the traditional names of places - so that we do not lose the ancestral heritage of Busongora. I would like the districts and counties that will form part of what is now Busongora County, to retain or retain the name Busongora in their new areas. I’d also like to urge all cultural institutions to respect community rights and administrative due-process, and to promote projects that will enrich ALL our communities culturally, and empower our people to be economically self-reliant.
I’d to conclude by calling upon the government to consider deeper administrative reforms that can assist marganized and endangered communities. Reforms to consider include creating a Senate - or Upper Chamber - of parliament to accommodate equally the representatives of all 65 of Uganda’s ethnic communities.
Alternatively, each district should designate special seats for minority representatives to the district councils or to parliament [as is the current case for women representatives]. Ultimately the best system for securing the representation of minorities in council or parliamentary elections, is to adopt an electoral system involving Proportional Representation.
The use of PR would enable special interest groups to get representation without entailing the need to redraw electoral boundaries or to make special seats for minorities that currently lack substantive representation in parliament.
Kindest regards to all,
Mukama [King] Ndahura II Imara Kashagama
Ikamiro Palace - Busongora Kingdom
Date: Thur. 28. July. 2016
King Ndahura's Statement on the Proposed Splitting of Kasese District
Due to the outcry of many people in Kasese, I have been compelled to address the matter regarding the splitting of Kasese District into multiple new districts. There are several concerns that have led to the current sense of urgency:
 Busongora County is the only remaining location that bears the name of the indigenous Basongora. I am concerned that if Busongora County is dismembered and cut into pieces that will then be renamed, Basongora will lose geographical proof that we ever existed in this place. Already Busongora was cut in 1964 and a large part was renamed Bukonjo County - the break-up of the remaining Busongora County may be the culmination of more than 100 years in the process of ethnic cleansing and cultural genocide against Basongora.
 The District Council of Kasese is currently constituted by at least 54 members from 29 sub-counties and almost all of the council members are of one ethnic group - Bakonzo. There are only 3 non-Bakonzo representatives on the council, who are pressured to represent the interest all of the thousands of marginalised indigenous and non-indigenous minorities in Kasese. This extreme imbalance in council numbers reflects the severe plight of non-Bakonzo in Kasese, and it is the reason for the persistent conflict and discrimination in terms of service delivery and program development that favours the majority Bakonzo.
There have been many examples of decisions made by council in past years that had adverse consequences for minority communities - including resolutions of the district council requiring, condoning or excusing:
[a] the compulsory use of Lukonzo in schools at the expense of Rusongora;
[b] the revenue-sharing funds meant for minority communities living near the park that never reach the Basongora;
[c] the use of intimidating Rwenzururu militia to guard sub-county headquarters, as well as the flying of Rwenzururu flags at council headquarters, even if the councils are organs of the state and are meant to serve all cultural communities equally;
[d] the chair of the district council making deferential pronouncements exclusively in favour of the Rwenzururu, or implying the that District Council is somehow subordinate to the Rwenzururu Cultural Institution.
The list of egregious concerns relating to how the district councillors enforce their resolutions - in regard to minorities - is long, and they cannot all be listed here.
I’d like to recommend that if, or when, new districts or counties are created out of Busongora County, it is imperative that they retain the name Busongora in their names ...eg., North Busongora County, East Busongora County... etc.
I’d also like to suggest that the Uganda Parliament should consider the option of creating a second [Upper] Chamber to cater for minorities. For instance the Upper Chamber [Senate] could have two representatives from each one of the 65 ethnic communities gazetted in the Uganda Constitution - as well as about 19 additional endangered minority communities recognized by UNESCO but not listed in the constitution. Each community, or cultural institution, in Kasese would then elect one or two representatives to the senate.
Alternatively, each district should designate special seats for minority representatives to the district council or to parliament [as is the current case for women representatives].
Ultimately the best system for securing the representation of minorities in council or parliamentary elections, is to adopt some kind of electoral system involving of Proportional Representation. The use of PR would enable many small parties to get representation without entailing the need to redraw electoral boundaries or to make special seats for women, the disabled, youth, ethnic minorities, and other kinds of special interests that currently lack substantive representation in local or state legislatures.
I am calling upon all persons employed in all cultural institutions in the Rwenzori Region, to commit themselves to promoting Pan-Africanism - which is always conscientious and respectful of community rights, of human rights, and of judicial due-process.
Cultural leaders, rather than being indifferent to the concerns of their neighbours or inciting conflict, should use their time and resources to create awareness of our positive relations, and promote constructive dialogue and community projects that involve such things as organic farming, environmental protection, healthy dietary habits, access to libraries, training in social-work, etc ... all things that can enrich ALL our people culturally, and empower them to be economically and psychologically self-reliant.
Kindest regards to all,
Mukama [King] Ndahura II Imara Kashagama