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Tooro Kingdom Asks Kabarole Officials to Find Alternative Space for New District Headquarters

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According to Rwabuhinga, the district owns 12 acres of land including the one hosting Busoro Sub County headquarters. But Kateeba has maintained that the kingdom owns over 49 acres of land in Busoro including the one being claimed by the district.
Peter Abigaba read the statement of the County and Sub County chiefs.

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County and Sub County Chiefs in Tooro Kingdom have advised Kabarole district leadership to back off the disputed Busoro Sub County land and find an alternative place for the construction of new district headquarters.   

Fort Portal municipality became autonomous after it was elevated to a tourism city in July last year. This meant that Kabarole district had to shift the district headquarters that are now in Kitumba ward in Central Division in Fort Portal outside the city. 

The district leadership chose Busoro Sub County to host the new district headquarters. However, this decision has since sparked a dispute. Tooro Kingdom Lands Minister, Polly Kateeba, says the land belongs to the kingdom and the district should first sign a Memorandum of Understanding – MOU with them before constructing its headquarters.  

On the other hand, Kabarole district officials led by the LC V Chairperson, Richard Rwabuhinga insists that the land belongs to the district and not the kingdom.  According to Rwabuhinga, the district owns 12 acres of land including the one hosting Busoro Sub County headquarters. But Kateeba has maintained that the kingdom owns over 49 acres of land in Busoro including the one being claimed by the district.   

Kateeba insists that even though they don’t have a title, the land has eucalyptus trees and buildings that are being used by Busoro Sub County headquarters, which are known to be properties of the kingdom. He explains that in 1966 when they were in the process of getting a title for the land in question and for other pieces of land that are untitled, kingdoms were abolished and they had never restarted the process.       

A number of meetings have since been held by each party in an attempt to find a solution but nothing fruitful has ever been reached. In an attempt to compel the kingdom to bark off the land, Kabarole district council recently banned the singing of the Tooro Kingdom anthem in schools and all events organized in partnership with the district.  

Shortly after the ban, Tooro Kingdom cabinet quickly sat and condemned the resolution by the district council and advised the district leadership to engage the monarch peacefully to use the land.  

On Friday, the Chiefs also held a meeting at the Mucwa Rukurato hall in Fort Portal City and resolved that to ensure the matter does not escalate to a serious rift between the kingdom and the district, the leaders should alternative land to the district headquarters.  

In a statement read by the coordinator of county chiefs, Peter Kato Abigaba, the chiefs who are part of Tooro’s Supreme Council that is also known as the Orukurato Rwe 70, argued that Busoro land is owned by the kingdom and shouldn’t be used without permission.  

//Cue in: “Abanyoro bacwiiremu…

Cue out… ejoogo nyingi.”//  

Like the Kingdom’s cabinet, the chiefs blamed Rwabuhinga, a former Tooro Kingdom education minister, for failing to advise the district council against banning the singing of the kingdom anthem. They resolved that Rwabuhinga should never preside over any traditional marriage ceremony until the standoff is resolved. 

//Cue in: “Atagaruka akebembera…

Cue out… obukama amaiso.”//   

The chiefs from the nine counties that make up the kingdom recommended that to ensure the contested land is safe, the kingdom administration should deploy security personnel to guard and stop any planned development. 

On his part, Rwabuhinga has always maintained that the district acquired the land from the central government and they have been using it for many decades. He argues that he cannot even meet the kingdom officials for a discussion because he is convinced that the district owns the land. 

It should be remembered that the dispute comes at a time when the government is in the final stages of returning the assets of Tooro Kingdom. The assets include land, county and sub-county headquarters that were forcefully taken over by the central government when then-President Milton Obote abolished traditional institutions and made Uganda a republic.  

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