Government has warned the Obhudhingiya Bwa Bwamba Kingdom against involvement in partisan politics but instead focus on uniting its people.
In a June 14 letter to the cultural institution’s prime minister, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Mr Aggrey Kibenge, said he had received complaints indicating that its leader, Lt. Col Martin Kamya Ayongi, is involved in partisan politics and promotion of sectarian tendencies between Bamba and Bakonzo.
Quoting Section 9 of the Cultural Leaders Act, 2011, Mr Kibenge said a traditional and cultural leader shall promote and preserve the cultural values, norms and practices which enhance the dignity and wellbeing of the people where he or she is recognised as such.
“The purpose of this letter therefore, is to draw your attention to above provisions of the Institution of Traditional or Cultural Act, 2011 and urge Obudhingiya Bwa Bwamba to tirelessly work towards uniting all people within the institution,’’ Mr Kibenge wrote.
His letter is also copied to the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, secretary to the office of the President, the Bundibugyo Resident District Commissioner and district chairperson.
According to Section 13 of the Act, a person shall not, while remaining a traditional or cultural leader, join or participate in partisan politics.
It further states that a traditional or cultural leader wishing to take part and seeking elective office shall abdicate his position in the institution not less than 90 days before nomination day in respect of that election.
When contacted yesterday, the institution’s deputy prime minister, the Rev Tomasi Kamuhanda, dismissed the allegations.
The Rev Kamuhanda claimed some politicians in Bundibugyo, who lost in the January General Election, have been blaming their loss on the cultural institution yet there is no evidence to show that the latter campaigned for them.
“There is no documentary evidence to show that [we] are involved in partisan politics and I call upon people to remain calm and maintain peace and co-existence. I will travel to Kampala to meet Mr Kibenge and establish those who complained against the kingdom,’’ he said.
Bundibugyo was a hotbed of tribal clashes shortly after the 2016 General Elections.
The clashes were, among others, triggered by political differences among the Bamba/Babwisi and Bakonzo.
About the kingdom
Created in 2014, the cultural institution comprises 25 clans. According to information on its website, the institution is comprised majorly of three ethnic communities namely Bamba, Vanoma and Babwiisi. The three have lived together since the time of mass movement of people between 12th -16th century on the land comprised of western slopes of Mt Rwenzori and Semuliki valley in present day Bundibugyo District.
The three ethnic groups have since nearly diffused into a single cultural heritage, demonstrated by their artistic and cultural expressions, including language and literary arts, performing and visual arts and handicrafts, indigenous knowledge, cultural beliefs, traditions and values, cultural sites, monuments and antiquities, among others.
For instance, while nearly all are collectively known as “Bamba”, most of them speak “Lubwisi” as their common dialect.