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.
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.
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
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
//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.