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Ode To A Trusted Friend

Tobin Josh Sahib Ojok

Tobin Josh Sahib Ojok

Abwooli Rujumba Omurungi w’Abasambu, I perceive you now should be desperately indulging those wonderful and indefatigable repositories of our people’s knowledge and bearers of their sacrosanct secrets, the elders, seeking their aid in interpreting the curious case of a kinsman’s prolonged silence.

I can imagine you take those royal but slightly impatient strides, traversing the nooks and crooks of our old beloved village Nyangahya, throwing yourself into the homesteads of those to whom Al- Majid, the All-Glorious, Has bestowed the abundant gift of demystifying events, all the while in search for answers.

Trouble your gentle feet no more my kinsman. For the last twelve or so months, I was holed up at the Law Development Centre pursuing a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice which, if passed, qualifies me for the practice of law in Uganda. I must say it was both a humbling and fulfilling experience.

Today, however, I write of the passing on to eternity of a wonderful and trusted friend whom in the early years of our knowing each other told me he was Tobin Josh. It was about 3pm on Tuesday the 20th day of August 2013 that I returned a call that had gone unanswered from a friend Tumukunde Benjamin.

Upon picking up, the ever-calm Mr. Tumukunde sounded strangely distraught and broken, and, from the tell of things, I predicted something had gone fatally wrong. Little wonder then that when in a few seconds he spoke of the tragic loss to Sickle-cell Anemia of our mutual friend, my fears were confirmed!

Now, Abwooli, how can one fittingly eulogize a man of such character as Tobin Josh Sahib Ojok—that wonderful bespectacled Itesot from Lira, without appearing to be buckling yet again to that despisable human tendency of speaking benignly of a departed one at his funeral as if that is all there is to speak!

We must have met around 2009 in one symposium which was hosted at Makerere University’s Lumumba Hall. He instantly struck me as man of frugal disposition, refined habits and excellent intellect. What a rich cocktail he was in combining the cheerfulness of the Itesot and finer qualities of the Langi!

We continued to exchange thereafter on a motley of subjects ranging from Pan-Afrikanism, Geo-politics, Colonialism, Law, Art and Economics—at which he excelled by far. But it was always on matters touching upon governance and respect for fundamental human rights that one would see the lion debater in him.

He always argued that much of Uganda’s so-called major problems today mainly stemmed from the arrogant refusal of those seized with power to learn from our harassed history. A way around this thus had to urgently be gotten if the country were to be saved from descending into further political abyss.

He proposed that there needed to be formed proactive think-tanks in Universities and other tertiary institutions which would then act as a launch-pad for the arousal of the greater national consciousness. Ideas generated from these sessions would then be distributed to the populace through publications.

Such was the mind of the man, Abwooli. Not one wont to deriving pleasure from criticizing and personality profiling, but advising. It was always left to those he sought to offer alternative solutions to contemporary problems to take or leave them. For him, he had played his part in building his country.

Unfortunately he dies at a moment when the country hungers for much more men as him. Men of impeccable integrity and unadulterated love for country. Selfless men that sacrifice so much in search for the solutions to their country’s problems and yet are so humble as to expect nothing in return.

In Tobin, the country has lost a man whose smile radiated the hopes of his generation; a ferocious reader, consummate economist, fine gentleman, excellent debater; country- music lover; skilled editor and budding writer. One wonders why death must always come knocking upon the doors of good men!

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Bunyoro Does Not Seek To ‘Go Fast’ On Oil, She Clamours For Equity

Abwooli Rujumba Omurungi W’Abasambu, the new media, its traditional counterpart and some town commentators have for the past few weeks gone lurid with commentary—some of it bordering on the profane and the deprave, about a King’s unforeseen appearance before a Parliamentary committee. His Majesty Solomon Iguru I astounded everyone—even his own subjects, when he took the painful decision of casting away all protocol and paraphernalia of royalty to historically present the case of his people.

Leaders the world and history over are and have been charged with the defense of their peoples’ aspirations. This—in my unintelligent and challengeable opinion, is the essence and end of leadership. In antiquity, it used to be achieved through sparks and brimstone—but thank chivalry and civilization; it indeed can now be achieved at a trifling price. Thus before anyone has attached on his collar the esteemed epaulets of great leadership, he must first excel in this. This was what King Iguru did.

The context within which Bunyoro presents her claims and petitions ought to be understood and not misunderstood. For one to lay claim to that understanding, they must first of all appreciate the complicated architecture of Nyoro history. I fear deficiency in it is guiding the misrepresentation of her claims. I will hazard a summary. The British at the turn of the 19th century visited colonialism upon a peaceful kingdom—or as some say, empire called Bunyoro—Kitara.

Before that, it had—like most African states, seen and enjoyed relative flourish at least by the standards of the time. Industry and trade were booming especially in iron implements, new methods of agriculture and livestock- keeping made the kingdom the food basket of the interlacustrine. So much were the crafts of statehood and soldiering revolutionalized that the kingdom grew in territory and strength as did her priceless tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

When then came the British, such a social- politico- economic structure and organization presented the most potent challenge and could not be allowed to stand. What made matters worse—akin to flying a red rug in the face of an incensed bull, was her insulting refusal to collaborate with the crown. It then became the latter’s absorbing desire to employ his horned talents at manipulation, misinformation and weaponry to waste, sack and pillage her.

This project took a decade to complete—thanks to the supreme adaptability and heroism of Kabaleega. But resistance came at a supreme price. Historians Doyle, Nyakatuura, Mrs. Fisher, Father Crazzolara and K. W belabor to imagine and document the horror in frightful parodies. In an epic show of man’s inhumanity to fellow man—out of the estimated 3 million Banyoro that the British found in early 1890s, only 200,000 survived their devices!

Livestock was lost in the scorched earth operations. Mothers and virgins were raped alike; deliberate policies conveniently put in place to arrest both reproduction and the education of Nyoro children; tracts and counties of culturally sensitive land were parceled away at the mere stroke of a pen; chiefs publicly flogged; a king exiled for 24 years! Their suffering defies writerly depiction. A case for compensation of 4 Trillion Pounds from the crown pends.

It is upon the above that the Banyoro are petitioning government to portion them just 12.5 % of the proceeds. Not at all do they intimate that this is to recompense their historical atrocious experience. No—that is being catered for by both the pending suit and a tendency inherent in them to forgive. They say that given the fact that the oil is mined from their sacred ancestral soils some of which they may ultimately lose or have already lost and also given the fact that gas emissions out of our mining ambitions shall be singly breathed by their children, it is only most equitable that such a potion be given.

Omukama Gafabusa Iguru I of Bunyoro.

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Posted by on June 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Fare Thee Well, Gentle Friend, Gentle Woman

Abwooli Rujumba Omurungi W’Abasambu, the most testing moment in the career of many a noted writer comes when he is called upon to, by such occurrences and happenings as are markedly beyond the widths and breadths of his humanly faculties to untangle the reasons for their occurring and happening, write of a loved one intricately tangled in very center of such occurrences and happenings.

Such a writer, As we suckled at the same breast, many a time tends to barter his distinguished craft at the trade with the unsavory promptings and encouragements of his emotions and passions- those that immediately accompany news of such occurrences and happenings. He, or his works, thus become(s) a slave or child of Agony or Ecstasy.

At such moments, he totally loses grip of his objectivity and with it, more unfortunately, that detachment he hitherto had from the emotions that lie hidden in the poundings of his breast- probably which one quality may have endeared him, as is often the case, to that most faithful and loyal reader of his works to such proportions as to crown him noted or distinguished.

Thus when he is called upon to, say, write a eulogy of such a departed loved one at the tragic occasion of the latter’s funeral, or, if not actually dead, a speech at his wedding, the writer tends to glide his pen the wrong way of glaring untruths, which it customarily is not his nature, to either gloriously honour the memory of his fallen friend in the case of the former or delight both the audience and his walking- down- the- aisle- friend in the case of the latter.

It is the reader then that becomes the ultimate loser when this happens. He is cheated. He is cheated because he is forced to consume content that is adulterated by emotion. His faith in the writer is also betrayed. It is betrayed because the writer, and his opinions, become what he is not or what they are not. The musings of the writer declaim what is not. And what is not- is not!

Cognizant therefore of all the risks above, I will write of Nambaziira Doreen Agnes as I knew her. But there is more as to why I should write of her as I knew her: It would be sheer betrayal to the truthful disposition she happily cut while alive if I were to attempt and write of her other than as I knew her. She succumbed to brain hemorrhage on the night of February 14th 2012 at Nsambya Hospital.

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I first met Agnes Doreen Nambaziira sometime in 2008 when she had just successfully been elected a Guild Representative Councilor (G.R.C) of Africa Hall, Makerere University. It was through her inseparable and most intimate friend Hellen Namuyiga, who too, had just clinched the same feat. The two were to each other what wings are to many birds.

I too had also just been elected G.R.C of the Great Lumumba Hall and was in addition to that on a mad pursuit for votes for the coveted position of Editor- in- Chief of the Makererean. The voting college constituted all the G.R.C’s of Makerere University’s eleven halls of residence viz The Great Lumumba, Mary Stuart, Livingstone, Africa, Mitchell, Complex, University, Nkrumah, Nsibirwa, Galloway and Kabanyoro.

So it was this process of soliciting for votes that led me to Africa Hall where I first encountered Doreen. When I knocked at her door, she warmly welcomed me, as though we were old acquaintances, and ushered me into her neat and well- decorated room with that contagious smile that was hers. She had so delightful a way of speaking!

She sat me down –on a bed- like a mother does, listened to what I had to say absorbedly like a General monitoring the movement of his troops from atop a hill and then when I was through, frankly stared into my eyes- unlike some of her contemporaries who promised me their votes as soon as I came visiting, just as they had done to all my opponents, and told me she could not commit herself at that particular moment.

She walked me out of Africa, again as though we were already known to one another, and wished me the very best of luck. But shortly before that, I vividly recall her reprimanding me for leaving her room without eating anything.

She was to later on throw her weight behind my bid in the last stages of the campaign. It actually took me a lot more convincing to win her one vote than it took me to win the whole election.

Such, Abwooli, was the woman Nambaziira Agnes Doreen-gracious, humble, moral, courageous, selfless, candid, freethinking, kind, respectful, beautiful, dutiful, worshipful and rightful. These qualities were too alluring to be snubbed by those that shared in the warmth of her friendship and the virtues of her leadership. Little wonder, yet again, that those gentlest women of Africa accorded to her the highest honour they had to give, that of Chairlady.

Nambaziira Doreen Agnes, R. I. P

Nambaziira Doreen Agnes, R. I. P

She was also a daring champion of social equality and justice. One fine November day when the University administration attempted to outsource to private investors the catering services in the halls of residence, Doreen was one of those student leaders that were front-most in the condemnation of the venal idea. You should have seen how passionate she was!

She scorned, as did most of us, the idea on grounds that such a policy was unfriendly to the students the bulk of whom we represented came from poor families and that the private caterers would charge them exorbitantly and that some would actually go starving. She, as did most of us, further argued that the Ug. Shs 2000 stipend that was to be apparently extended to government sponsored students was too paltry as to feed them a day given the rising food costs.

When we realized that the then Guild President Robert Okware was softening his stance, after allegedly being bribed, I along with other student leaders like Okot Wokoratch Steven, Baluku Ronald Masamba and Tooratch Leo Steven mobilized and summoned all the G.R.C’s to the Great Lumumba Hall to confer upon the issue. All along, Doreen was bravely with us!

The session was not convened as it ordinarily should have been, but the exigencies of the situation so demanded since the Guild Speaker Mr. Massete Kenneth and President Okware, who were constitutionally mandated to summon a guild session, were dragging their feet at the detriment of the students who were fast losing their rights and dignity.

That session came with its attendant consequences among which was the summoning by the then Dean of Students Mr. John Ekudu- Adoku of myself and Mr. Baluku Ronald to the University Disciplinary Committee with the prospect of expulsion from the University for incitement of Students to strike through the convening of an illegal meeting. Though sanity in the end did prevail, it did prevail because of the protestations, petitions and pressures from gallant women like Doreen.

Doreen, we behold you in glory. May God comfort your mother, of whom am reliably informed you were the lone child of her womb, your family, your faithful friends especially Hellen Namuyiga of whom you leave alone in such deep agony and pain, your classmates and lecturers at Medical School and the entire Afro- Stone fraternity. We shall miss your ever reassuring company. We shall all miss your warm affectionate smile.

Farewell gentle friend, gentle woman.

 
 

Nkwanzi of Bunyoro, Ssangalyambogo of Buganda and Women in Classical Afrikan Societies

Abwooli Rujumba Omurungi W’Abasambu, so much of ink has been falsely spewed and spilled, in such hysterical hateful tones and choruses, by world scholars and noted feminists alike, in attempting to justify the provocative assertion that as regards the treatment of its tenderer half or the societal dais upon which it, by some accidents of history and biology, finds itself standing, the African Humanity as given vent through its known norms, social- political fetters and settled traditions is not only archaic and uncivilized but, too, satanic and barbaric- to say the least.

The fiery eloquence with which they craft, just like the proud and expert hands of an eminent Aztec goldsmith fashioning a royal jewel for Montezuma’s royal appealing and wearing, their kangaroo judgments allow no space for appeal! In fact the energies and sensations they employ in their declaims of condemnation, son of my father, far surpass those of Emperor Shaka’s warrior– Indunas at the enemies of The Great Elephant of Kwa Bulawayo and thus any inch of his vast frontiers!

Rujumba, extremists are terrorists and one who pronounces extremism pronounces terrorism. Therefore, the use and counter use of the two adjectives is just as intertwined as the webs of the other spider in the house of my grandmother. I will thus prefer to use the latter of the two, so let not your fine eyebrows be raised for a moment.

These shameless terrorists in fact go as far as proclaiming and asserting that our ways now, in their most crude, are even worse, in the regard of our mothers, daughters and wives, than those of the Pre- Islamic Arabia Jahilia Period, were women were bartered and battered or newly begotten females slayed at birth- because, apparently, they had no worth.

To substantiate this, they cite Female Genital Mutilation among the Sabiny and Pokot peoples, a customary decree that the crown prince at the passing on of his father, among the Baganda, must first exchange privates with a 12 or so year-old from a certain clan to seal his ascension to the throne of his forefathers and the throwing off the highest cliff of, among the Kiga of Western Uganda, a girl who go pregnant before completion of all marriage rites among others. These imported religions have also no helped matters.

Rujumba, those are the tests, low as they are, that are unfortunately used by these terrorists to judge and weigh the ways of our people long established over generations of consistent and committed practice by our forefathers, recall always to pour them libation whenever you must drink, and foremothers- recall, too, to offer sacrifices of the choicest meats to them whenever you must visit the shrines. These myopic opinions of the ways of our people and our people at large must be countered with all the contempt they deserve.

This is not to say that the above practices should be preserved by any section of our peoples, I actually strongly think they should not, all in the name of preserving our beautifully unique cultures and the philosophies that underlie them.

All I am saying, as we suckled at the same breast, is that a more objective test should be adopted in the judgment of the ways of my people for history, that these terrorists do not read, is littered with practices that exalt the rank of a woman, both as a mother and princess or as a daughter in the classic African setting. Actually, it can be argued that as regards the treatment of women when viewed from an objective lens, African Societies could be rated as the most progressive and respectful in the world!

Princess Katrina Ssangalyambogo of Buganda greets King Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru on his 18th Birthday Celebrations at Kabalole . Photo Courtersy of Presidential Press Unit- Uganda.

Princess Katrina Ssangalyambogo of Buganda greets King Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru on his 18th Birthday Celebrations at Kabalole . Photo Courtersy of Presidential Press Unit- Uganda.

Among the Baganda and the Banyoro for instance, mothers occupy such highly privileged positions in these respective societies that their words are respected for a communication from the gods and deities. A mother’s word or counsel is of such supreme importance to the child that deviance therefrom is almost unknown. A mother’s curse, according to the Nyoro Anthropologist and Historian John William Nyakatuura in his book Emirwa y’Ihanga lya Kitara, is most dreaded.

Thus the supreme punishment that could be meted out to any one in old Nyoro society was where a mother angrily raised her apparels, in a cursing posture, exposing in the process her nakedness to the errant child. Such a child was considered doomed and ruined with no prospects of living long. To stress how dreaded this deed was, Nyakatuura further posits that not even God Ruhanga could rescind it, unless the child apologized by special rituals whereupon the mother could unwind the curse and take back the child! There is, too, a long line of proverbs stressing this point. This remains up to now the case in Tooro.

Further among the Baganda, a princess commanded the same respect as a prince from both within royal enclosures and without. Thus what a prince could do, a princess would also do. There are actually some incidents where some princesses, thanks to their charisma and virtues, occupied more lofty positions in society than their male counterparts- like the woman Nannono whom we shall turn to in a moment.

No wonder some of these norms have been transported to this Mutebi generation- Omulembe Omutebi– such as reference to princes and princesses alike as Ssebbo. Thus Omumbejja in Buganda is respectfully and deferentially addressed as Ssebo. In ordinary speak and parlance, Ssebo applies to men as does Nnyabo to women.

Again in battle- times, Nyoro history proudly chronicles the supreme emotional and physical heroism of women like Kanyange Nyamutahingurwa Omunyonzakati just as Europe does of Joan of Arc or Islamic Civilization of Hamid Begum in the court of Nizam- ul- Mulk among other notable Muslim heroines.

Joan of Arc was the brave woman of Europe who, garbed in male battle- attire, so valiantly fought in the siege of Orleans, 1428 C. E. She discomfited the English in the celebrated battle of Pietz and almost singly sat Charles VII on the throne. So brave was Joan that in the year 1431, her heroism caused her premature end.

She was burnt alive for it was put about that her prowess was so supernatural that it could only be the caused by sorcery! But she was afterwards invested with a halo of glory and her great deeds are now cited in history books as examples of supreme heroism. In 1920, she was canonized, that is, acclaimed officially as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church!

The Islamic poet Mirza Hadi cited by Allama Syed Sulaiman Nadwi in the little delicious book Heroic Deeds of Muslim Women, © Africa Muslims Agency, at p. 45- 46 in the battle against ‘Adil Khan recounts Hamid Begum’s heroism in the defense of her master Nizam- ul- Mulk, thus: ‘she stood like an adamantine rock in the battlefield…she put on a veil over her pretty form, and fastened ornamented sword and dagger around her waist. And when the two forces arrayed in opposition, she herself stood manfully like an impenetrable mountain during the fight and discomfited the assailants…taking possession of their elephants and guns returning gloriously.’

Thus too, Abwooli -was Kanyange Nyamutahingurwa Omunyonzakati mother of your illustrious great- great- grandfather conquering Emperor Chwa II Kabaleega of Bunyoro. When the white man touched upon these lands, raping, scorching villages and massacring as he did, Kabaleega constructed perhaps the most celebrated guerilla war- horse in the defense of his Empire’s sovereignty.

He heroically resisted the dreaded Gun Maxim for well over decade. A decade here should be understood in the context of the speed with which the wind spread the white man’s gunpowder, the technological supremacy of his firepower and the sheer inhumanity of his battle stratagems!

However we shall explore the lengths and breadths of his heroic virtues one fine morning, not today. What is crucial here is the support that women, including Kanyange, rendered to the sustenance of the most honorable cause. It is recorded by K. W, of whom Kabaleega is a direct ancestor, that the struggle would probably not have lasted that long if it were not for this support.

Princess Komuntale of Tooro

Princess Komuntale of Tooro

They acted spies thus relaying information from the enemy ranks, provided psychological support to their fighting husbands most notable being the Musongorakati wife of General Rwabudongo. For her part, Kanyange Nyamutahingurwa was one of the last persons to be captured by Colonel Colville’s menacing and rampaging forces.

Abwooli, if I attempted to exhaust this rather limitless list of deeds pointing to the conclusion that a woman was, contrary to the unresearched and boringly monotonous counter- opinions, held in highest esteem and regard, with respect and love, as she still is, by the society in which our forefather’s lived and in which we currently live, the effort would if not prove unsuccessful, outlast eight full moons and four dry seasons, for it winds and winds like the Musizi River!

Two incidents that I have not seen related anywhere except in between the old brown- covers of a few dusty and lonely books and the memories of men shall be used to cap up my argument that Classical Nyoro and Ganda societies- call it Afrikan, respected a woman and held her in the highest esteem than what regularly meets the eye.

Nannono of Buganda

During the reign of Ssekabaka Nakibinge, Buganda witnessed events that were to eventually propel a woman –Nannono, to occupy the throne Nnamulondo of Buganda. Because of his noted bravery and courage, Omukama Olimi I Rwitamahanga Omwitabya^ro Owa Kalimbi- scourge of nations, of Bunyoro succeeded his father Winyi I Rubembeka Ntara who also succeeded his father Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru. When Buganda invaded the Nyoro counties of Bweera and Bulemeezi, Olimi I personally led his army to face off with Ganda and Nakibinge.

These events in turn led the two armies to run into one another at Murago- as the Banyoro remember it or Mulago- as was known within the Ganda ranks. The epic battle is well recalled in the military histories of the two peoples for idealy two reasons. First, the astonishing bravery and valor that the two belligerents ,commanded by two Kings, exuded. Secondly, the circumstances that led to the death of the Nyoro Commander Nsembuka ya Kwezi.

Clearly outwitted and discomfited by Nyoro spear- men, as the historian Mrs. Fisher in her book Twilight tales of Black Baganda: The Traditional History of Bunyoro- Kitara, narrates as- rather authoritatively, does K. W, the brave Ganda King appealed to the spirit Kibuuka that answered his call and, fighting from the clouds- ebicu, struck dead the equally brave Nyoro General Nsembuka ya Kwezi.

The battle was so ferocious that Nakibinge was slain by Olimi I Rwitamahanga and the brave Ganda forces defeated. —Kihumuro- Apuuli:  A thousand years of Bunyoro- Kitara Kingdom, Fountain Publishers Kampala 1994 p.40—-John William Nyakatuura: The Anatomy of An African Kingdom, 1994 p.89- 90.

The official Ganda website reports of the incident thus: ‘Nakibinge called Kibuuka Kyobe Omumbaale from the Ssese Island to come and rescue the Kingdom of Buganda during the wars with Bunyoro Kingdom. They fought and won the war but were both killed during the battle. Kibuuka was killed first when they (the Banyoro) discovered his tactics of fighting and then Nakibinge was killed towards the end of the war. http://www.buganda.or.ug/index.php/ssekabaka-nakibinge

Though some Ganda so claim as above viz that Nakibinge’s army won despite dangerously acknowledging, as above, that he was slain as was Kibuuka just like Nsembuka ya Kwezi in the Nyoro ranks, this cannot have been the case for two reasons: First, Nakibinge’s death which they do not deny, and; Secondly, the fact that after the battle Bunyoro retained the two counties which had led the two Kingdoms to War in the first place.

But be that as it may, the crowning effect of this battle, as hinted upon earlier, was Nannono’s keeping guard, by way of occupation, of the throne Nnamulondo for one full year- a fitting tribute to the esteemed positions women held in that society! Could a women really have been honoured more than this in such a feudalistic society?

Omukama Mashamba Ga Winyi Omubiitokati

When Omukama Chwa I Rumomamahanga ascended the throne Nyamyaro succeeding his father Nyarwa Omuzaarakyaaro, his one desire was to expand his Empire by reclaiming the size superintended over by the Bachwezi. He thus consequently took war to Omugabe Ntare Kiitabanyoro of Nkore (the circumstances under which he attained this title can be explained at behest) and defeated him at the battle of Rulembo and thus subsequently established his capital at Kakunyu in Nkore. He thereafter visited the same war to Rwanda with identical motives and intents. He however rested in Rwanda.

When this news reached Bunyoro, the charismatic Princess Mashamba Omubiitokati, Batebe or Omukama Chwa’s Princess Royal was put on the Nyoro throne and reined for four solid years! Once more, we shall ask ourselves: Could a women really have been honoured more than this in such a feudalistic society?

Given that briefly related indisputable historical incidents and facts, Abwooli, it naturally follows that these terrorists have no more arrows left in their quivers, and who can blame them?

Nyoro, Ganda, Tooro, Kiga societies or the classical African society not only respected and loved, but also honoured a women as a whole more -perhaps, than any other society in the world.

Those circumstances that tended to degrade and dehumanize the woman were singular and isolated and should not be used, as these terrorists do, as a standard meter to measure and cast scorn and vile upon our unique and immeasurably rich norms, ways and traditions.

Thus, as we suckled at the same breast, if you asked me that, as does my Facebook friend David Mukasa, why can’t princesses like Katrina Ssangalyambogo of Buganda or Princess Nkwanzi of Bunyoro ascend the thrones of their fathers, I will argue it is a matter of their father’s choice- and choice cannot be forced.

Thus in the case that their brothers Rukidi and Ssemakookiro succeded their the thrones of their fathers, it would be more out of the wise judgments of their fathers than any hard and fast societal norm. This thesis finds authority in the above- related anecdote of the two illustrious women -Nannono and Mashamba Omubiitokati.

Be it also known that these events happened way before the white man touched, with his enlightening civilization and religions, upon these sacred parts of the earth!

Hangiriza Rukirabasaija! Hangiriza Ikingura! Hangiriza Nkyanungi! Hangiriza Ekituule ekinobere abeemi; ntale y’Bunyoro! Muliisa Nfuuzi! Muliira haiguru amagufa nigakunkumuka! Mbogo emu, bahiigi Magana! Hangiriza Kabumba! Hangiriza Agutamba!

Nda^sigara Omunyoro waawe Kyomuhendo Rwa Rwetuma; Rwetuma Rwa Kabyanga; Kabyanga Rwa Kabyanga; Kabyanga Rwa Bahemuka; Bahemuka Rwa Kagoro; Kagoro Rwa Kakyomya- Omusambu. Rwa Kugonza Omubiitokati; Kugonza Rwa Bulemu; Bulemu Rwa Mwirumubi; Mwirumubi Rwa Chwa II Kabaleega!

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Of the Kabaka, Lady Sylvia and Omuzaana Nansikombi Love Triangle

Abwooli Rujumba Omurungi W’ Abasambu, sometime mid- last year, whereas me and you soundly slept and snored, as if sleeping and snoring we would know, and while sleeping and snoring, we loathed and craved for what the sleeping and snoring do, the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Fredrick Muwenda Mutebi II (May all his royal appellations be extolled and proclaimed skyhigh) fathered a son, whom in his exceedingly immense and matchless wisdom, named after his grandfather Ssekabaka Ssemakookiro. Buganda thus has a new (crown) prince! Obuganda Buladde!

Why he named the young prince as he did, for Richard is his name, we may never fathom. But Abwooli, didn’t the old sage of our village Eriabu Irabahake son of Aminon Jack sternly warn us together as we were seated beneath the other old bark tree against questioning and attempting interpretations at the deeds and ways of Kings before he descended, just like his forefathers before him, to the land where men gait not with legs but their backs as the boats on the Mwitanzige?

The mother, Rujumba, the mother is grandchild of Mugalula- clan head of the Nsenene (Grasshopper) Clan sitting at Ggomba and according to the customs, rites and traditions evolved and founded by these people- spanning well over four solid centuries of unbroken practice, a King belongs to the mother’s clan. Thus in case he assumes the throne of Buganda Nnamulondo, which he most possibly shall, Prince Richard Semakokiro will be deemed by the same traditions as belonging to the Nsenene Clan.

Just as the foundations of the Nsenene clan are steeped in deep controversy and contest, too is the birth of the Prince Ssemakookiro. It is told by legend that Buyonga’s daughter Wannyana was exceptionally beautiful and this earned her a privilege to mingle with royals of different kingdoms. She was a descendant of the Batoro of Mugamba hill, Busongora in Toro. Her father Buyonga was son of Kiroboozi who the same legend insists was the grandfather of the Nsenene Clan.

It is said, but some contest this account, that the king of Bunyoro Winyi one time while on state duties saw Wannyana in Kisozi and admired her so much. He married her and took her to Kiburara. This is how she came to meet the Muganda prince, Kalemeera who had been banished in Bunyoro by his own father, Kabaka Chwa Nabakka. Kalemeera and Wannyana had a secret love affair and later a son called Kimera who later assumed his grandfather’s throne in Buganda as Kabaka was begotten.

Meanwhile it is claimed and disputed in equal measure- depending on which side of the narrative one finds himself glued upon, that King Winyi’s wife Muhumuza, whom he left in Kisozi, Ggomba, the ancestral home of Wannyana and then part of the vast Bunyoro- Kitara territory, to manage and govern it, got involved with Buyonga in a love affair and actually had a son with him known as Mugalula. This is the fabled Mugalula alluded to earlier-, Clan head of the Nsenene and Grandfather of Prince Ssemakookiro whose prospects of ascending the Ganda throne are as dizzying as the controversy surrounding his birth.

This birth, which must ordinarily be cause for rapturous festivities, deity- thanking and beer gulping in the whole of greater Buganda, it has come to my urgent attention and concern, has in the alternative, and rather ironically, afforded some folks that cruise and navigate upon most of the social media seas the choice of following a rather perilous and pirate- strewn path of so liberally taking it upon themselves to denigrate and desecrate the Great Lion’s name- Kabaka Muwenda- Mutebi II of Buganda!

So much has this been the case and so much has the debate in fact bordered on the hot and the obscene that even some ultra- Ganda loyalists who, when circumstances so demanded, and in the most animating poetry, used to so heroically proclaim in praise and boast, thus: Alik-kanyugira Omuliro Ndigugaaya. Alik-kabya amaziga, Ndimukaabya Musaayi, have been lured to participate in the summary public execution of their King! Some have in fact gone as far as arrogating themselves the exclusive privilege, privilege we indeed shall call it, of spitefully debasing and making comedy of his Majesty’s character, reason, judgment and person.

Rujumba, I most vehemently disagree with them and their blinding ignorance that guides them to so condescendingly presuppose, as they do, for several reasons: Foremost, these rather impolite friends of mine cite Christianity, but most particularly the Anglican brand of it, as the basis upon which they stand in spiteful, ignorant and biased judgment of the person, character, reason and stature of the King, Hail he!.

These faithfuls claim that since Kabaka is Anglican, he is by of right expected to heed to the all- important Anglican virtue of Monogamy just as he is bound to worship but one Lord and God under the promptings of the doctrine of Monotheism- one upon which the whole Christianity belief rests. Thus, they reason, that since the Kabaka wed, under the grandiose glare of the cameras of journalists and the eyes of subjects, Maama Nnabagereka Lady Sylvia Nagginda Luswata at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe in 1999, siring a child as he has out of the hypothetical christian wedlock is as illegal as, supposedly, Prince Ssemakookiro himself!

Abwooli, this cannot at any moment be allowed to stand either by history or reason the same way the wheels of time and history, crushing and turning as they did, destroyed the lonely decision of an English judge in the East Afrikan case of Rex v. Amkeyo, and lo!, as Jesus said,’ Forgive them for they do not know what they say!’

Lest they mislead and attempt to be ‘more catholic than the pope’ or ‘more anglican than the Archbishop of Cantebury’, these faithfuls should fast be guided about the very foundations of the Anglican church that they incumbently cite for a major a pedestal upon which they fly hot and unkindly rhetoric of desecration and denigration to the person, reason and judgment of King Mutebi.

The year was 1534 when as a result of the most dire need to provide a male heir to the English throne, as is in these circumstances to the Buganda throne, the Church of England or the Anglican or Protestant faith as we know it today and as is being used to revile Kabaka Mutebi and Prince Ssemakookiro, was born. It was King Henry VIII that caused the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church and thus the papal authority at Rome.

Because he believed a daughter, Mary and of whom he was in fact most fond, would be unable to consolidate the Tudor Dynasty, King Harry, as those who knew him intimately called him, sought to, during the lifetime of Catherine of Aregon, his legally wedded wife or Queen, look elsewhere for an heir.

Thus in 1525, as Henry grew more impatient, he became enamoured of a charismatic young woman in the Queen’s entourage, Anne Boleyn. Anne at first resisted his attempts to seduce her, and refused to become his mistress, as her sister Mary Boleyn had. This refusal made Henry even more attracted, and he pursued her relentlessly. Eventually, Anne consented only on grounds that Harry makes her acknowledged queen. It soon became the King’s absorbing desire to annul his marriage to Catherine.

Thus Harry appealed directly to the Holy See or Pope Clement VII, through his secretary, William Knight suing for annulment. The grounds were that the bull of Pope Julius II- granting him permission to marry his brother’s wife Catherine, was obtained by false pretences, because -Catherine’s brief marriage to the sickly Arthur had been consummated.

Henry further petitioned, in the event that the desperately sought annulment is granted, a dispensation to marry again, any woman even in the first degree of affinity, whether the affinity was contracted by lawful or unlawful connection. However, this the Church at Rome, rigid and conservative as it usually is, did not accede to the grant of this request. Henry became even more dangerously impatient with Catherine’s inability to extend the male bloodline of the House of Tudor, as, which I shall not allow anyone to force me to say publically- not even at any price, could most possibly have been King Mutebi’s impatience with Maama Nabagereka Lady Sylvia Nagginda Luswata.

Though Henry never formally and instantly repudiated the doctrines of the Catholic Church as they stood, and am telling you currently stand, when he was denied his most desired wish viz his marriage to Lady Anne, he declared himself supreme head of the church in England in 1534. This, combined with subsequent actions, eventually provided expert midwifery services and attention to the historic birth of a splinter church, that Of England sometimes identified as Anglican or Protestant. Protestant because it was the lone child of Protest, Rebellion and/or Disobedience and Insubordination!

Given these indisputably accurate and well- documented historical facts, and with the greatest possible respect and deference to the emotions of those of the Maama Nabagereka loyalists tenanted on this high spiritual edifice, spitting, spreading and spilling most disparaging and unworthy sedition against the Kabaka’s person as they do, for the birth of Prince Richard Ssemakookiro (Blessed be he) of the Nsenene Clan outside the matrimonial wedlock with the astoundingly comely and gentle Queen, it ultimately follows they, like the Neandertathals of antiquity, and recalling Rubashov, have no more moral authority and right to so allege as they do than the latter ‘legislating for the Ape man’.

Kabaka Ronald Fredrick Muwenda- Mutebi II and Prince Richard Semakokiro

Kabaka Ronald Fredrick Muwenda- Mutebi II and Prince Richard Semakokiro

Secondly, Rujumba, it is also incumbent upon those that wish to find the golden gates of heaven specially opened for them in reward for the truth they told, upheld and sought while on earth to closely peer at the maternal parentage of King Mutebi himself, Oggundeggunde ayi Beene, Nyanja Temanyiirwa. Records faultlessly show that the skin of King was born on 13th April 1955 at Mulago hospital to Ssekabaka Muteesa II and Sarah Kisosonkole of the Nkima clan (In Bunyoro- Tooro, we call them Abahinda).

It should be noted that Ssekabaka H. E Sir Fredrick Edward Muteesa, who features prominently in the immediate post- independence politics of Uganda, being the First President as he was, was an avowed Anglican whose grandfather is credited by historians and prelates alike for having invited the bright torch of this most civilized faith, of civilized peoples, to shine and demistify the barbarism and darkness of the native peoples, Ugandans they were later to become.

Ssekabaka Sir Edward Muteesa II, father to Mutebi, was officially married to Nabagereka Lady Damalie Kisosonkole who passed on recently (May God grant her Queit Rest). However, it was not Queen Damalie that begot the current King but rather her Sister Sarah Kisosonkole! Thus, Abwooli, if we were to siphon, which we shall not, this wrong thesis so wildly propagated by the chief desecrators of the Great Lion’s mighty image, then the latter would be, in classic 17th century countryside and legal English parlance, ‘illegitimate’, ‘sired out of wedlock’, ‘bastard’ and not deserving to ascend to the great Nnamulondo of the ages as is the handsome Prince Ssemakookiro of the Nsenene.

Now, Abwooli, none of the most virulent and acidic critics of the circumstances preceding the birth of Prince Ssemakookiro and the subsequent name- labeling of Magulunnyondo (May he live long), is on record as ever having disputed Muwenda- Mutebi’s claim to kingship simply because he was mothered by Sarah and not Damalie, her Queen- Auntie!  I can see them go silent. Hold them Abwooli, let them not run…. Where are they? Abwooli, have you seen the path the Kabaka’s desecrators have taken? But they have been here just moments back…Baleke, let them be son of my mother, for the proverb Agoba Musajjamunne may be unilaterally invoked with the attendant consequences.

Further, I have again heard pockets of the same folks allege that they ‘no longer reserve any semblance of respect for the Kabaka’ because apparently ‘atuswazzizza’ (he has beshamed us) ‘okwegadanga n‘Akazaana akataasoma’ (by swapping privates with an unschooled or unlettered consort or servant), nti era Mutebi owed everything to Maama Nabagereka because ‘she abandoned a prospectively very bright corporate career in the U.S’ to come to Uganda and marry ‘Mutebi’ (yes! They even have the effrontery to call him by his name!), only for him, ‘as are all men’ to be so ungrateful as to openly and unapologetiaclly cheat on and disgrace her. Moreover, with Akataasoma!

I find this line of thought, first as a humanist, secondly as Afrikan and finally as adherent well initiated in the ceremonies of human equality- ugly, unappealing, repulsive and repelling. Abwooli, with the greatest possible respect the comely Queen, she is no better a woman than the other kazzaana (maid- servant) akataasoma- . the one they (the ungrateful disecrators), had they had the liberty to, would also understand as stinking.

This analysis is most regrettable and heart- tearing. Just as this country’s most distinguished musician of all time- Prince Paulo Job Kafeero put it in the epic song Esaawa y’okuzaawa, men are born naked and crying, they are buried naked and crying (…Ensi Bwetujiyingirira mubiwoobe, mwetujinnyukira mu biwoobe).

The song touches upon the theme of death and not so markedly the theme of equality. But we shall currently borrow his thesis to substantiate a vital equality point viz just as all men are born naked and crying with none born robed, we are all thus equal and equally deserving of all life’s opportunities and giftings. So just as Maama Nnabagereka can have the choice of putting herself at the emotional and physical avail of a King, so does Akazaana Akataasoma Rose Nansikombi.

Finally, there are these moralists that claim that the Kabaka being (or expected to be the paragon of good character and virtues), even be it as it was in the search of an heir agreeable to custom, or be whatever as it may, ought not to have condescended so low as to procreate outside his marriage moreover going as far, they authoritatively assert and insist, snatching  another man’s woman(muk’omusajja) to achieve the purpose.

I also strongly feel and think that this charge cannot, guided by reason and commonsense, be sustained.

My own opinion, Abwooli, is that procreation is the greatest form and highest expression of morality for it helps preserve a race. There can never be any morality in a vacuum. For it to exist, there must be a people to express it and give it perspective. Thus where such a people are absent, partly because of some warped and corrosive social or religious constraints, a morality is doomed and such word as it is- ‘morality’ and the practice thereof, ceases to exist.

For those reasons, I most warmly congratulate the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Fredrick Muwenda Mutebi II, upon expanding the house of Kato- Kimera; the Bazzukulu ba Mugalula ab’Nseenene for owning a future King and Omuzaana Rose Nansikombi for making these my most honest congratulatory remarks useful and meaningful. Oggundendeggunde ayi Ssabasajja: Magulunnyondo; Beene; Chuucu; Muzzukulu w’Muteesa, Sebuufu bwango; Nyanja Temanyiirya.

I must add, Abwooli, that Prince Ssemakookiro looks as serene and delightful as a Rose, Rose being Nansikombi’s name and Nansikombi being the name of Rose!

Kanve wano tebankuba eccupa omanyi bakambwe….

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Nangwa Tincwiire Obuko I

Abwooli Rujumba orutuutu rwo’gwo Omubiitokati muhara wa Bulemu Ashiraf amachura ga Aramanzani Mwirumubi ogu owubutakair’aga , nkumanyisa obwiire, batabalizeho ngu yaali ngonzi muno ya Ise, kandi emanzi muno, Cwa II Kabaleega abanyamirwa’be (ab’omukikaali) ahamu n’Abanyoro n’Abanyorokati boona owubakubyaga (rundi tukwete okuhaisaniza) bati: Ekituule kinobere abeemi; rumomamahanga; omuliisanfuuzi; mbogo emu, bahiigi Magana; Ikingura; kabumba; entale y’aBunyoro ahamu nebindi biingi muno ebinta’sobole kumarayo ahabwa akaanya kake akanyina,–Ik’ara mutowange mbikusoboore.

Eby’omukoro ogwo ogunyakubaire gw’ekitinisa muno kandi gwiina ekigendeerwa eky’okugaara buhyaka emiringo rundi tubweete oburomborombo obw’ediini yaitu ey’obusiraamu ahamu n’ engeso zaitu nk’abanyoro bikangwiibwa omumatu ogu nyokwenkuru Akiiki omugonzebwa Omufumambogo.

Emambya ekaba nekyasara eti pa-pa-p, obwo ensi nekyarumu obutiti ekiro kyakatanu ebirobyokweezi 9 ebyokwomwenda, 2011- abasiraamu bagyeeta Juma’a, mwenewaanyu kandi mukuruwaawe Isaaka Kugonza rw’ombule Isentoicwe enganzi muno omusomesa Kirungi Sulaiman, obu naaraba aha rukomo rw’endeetabigambo yange (mungambo yabirobinu niyo esimu) na’bindetera nk’okubyakabaire ebigambo.

Ngu, nkulengaho kumanyisa ebigambo, Isentoicwe omubazi w’ebitabu omurongo Amooti Isingoma na’manyisa okuraba omuliwe ngu halibayo omukoro, owe hali Kikwananana, og’wokutaaha enju ahamu n’okusiima Nkya- Nyamuhanga, ogu atakohya okusobozesa mukaikuruwe, kandi nanyowe owange Kahunde, kuhikya omwaka gumu omunsi enu.

Ngu abairege nanyeta?, Tindakubiihe ngu manyire. Ngu abairege n’amanyisabumanyisa? Mananukwo. Baitu egyo teriniyo engiga ekukirayo obukuru ahabwaaki nkuhandiikiire, omusambu Abwooli, omwitumbi linu. Omunyongooro nk’okugwahikire haiziba batakimanye abo boona nk’okubwabaire buzaale bwaabu okurahuka. Omunyongooro gukahika!

Nanyowe ninkusaba n’obubundaazi bwamaani muno ngu onyeikirize ngeende mpora orundi nanyowe ndihika aha ngiga endeteire kuhandiikira. Baitu okubanza kwabyoona, kambanze njune akatahyo kanu akatwekerwe, nk’omwisiki omuhara, kyokora ganu maize ebyo ebinyakukabamu- tugambirege amaizi. Eiroho libaire lyanyita…

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

An Impassioned Plea for Moses Kigambo- Araali

Man behind the Voice

Not a while so long a time ago upon these very Zuckerberg lands, I heralded to frontmost message of affliction befallen of which was one of art’s tenderly own- Moses Kigambo-Araali.

Araali was born only 34- years ago in Nyakabura village, Kabarole District, Western Uganda. He is son of Kijuma and proud grandson to Erinadi Kaahwa of the Mwenge branch of the Basiita Clan. It is said- and solemnly affirming the elders that watched calf grow into bull do, that he began exploring his voice’s staggeringly rich goldfields at only age thirteen! – that even the astrologists he tended consult told him that fame, power, influence and fortune were within his stars!

Astrology often presents its own miracles and debacles, its own temptations and and wonderments that only the initiated- in- faith can bravely withstand without lingering in their minds thoughts of ever crossing the Creed Bridge! That audacious prophesy about a young boy’s fate was to so amazingly unfurl as clearly and coherently as it was in the beginning said.

Thus Kigambo by the year 2009 had become a household name as well as a powerful crowd- magnet not only attracting those in his homeland Tooro- Rwenzori region, but also not offensively smelling for those within and not without the original boundaries of the once illustrious Empire of Bunyoro- Kitara.

From the Mwitanzige to the Rweru, from the Lands up North to Mountains rolling down South, –these songs have been commonplace even on Sound Solo Radios of the old: Ekirale, Eitaka http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqTGwnTXCx4&feature=related , Akairima zigi zigi, Otalyebwa Omuka  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe0AFls63vM&NR=1  or Kyamanywaga oha  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe0AFls63vM&NR=1 ….

 In fact, such was the brand of fame that providence flung and thrust upon Araali that he even went as far as scooping the coveted KISMA International Award in Kenya in 2008 and the Rotary International Vocation Award for 2008 not to unpardonably forget the tens of local awards that he grabbed back and forth, to and fro as if he were a glutton.

The Music and Message

In his regal and patient baritone, Kigambo effectively employs traditional vocal weaponry and stratagems whilst pulling off his many musical coups. His message is astoundingly powerful and colorful. His delivery of it is as wonderful and mathematical. His lyrics, though not long, are rich and captivating.

In his first major work Ekirale http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiILP1_2U4U , Kigambo passionately rallies all of his tribesfolk- whom he endearingly praise- names as Ndayange, to rudely shun the corrupt and deceitful and concentrate instead on constructing and leaving behind only glittering legacies. For Political leaders, Ekirale is a loud call to conscience.

In the song he also wonders whence went the pride and prominence of his most beloved Tooro Kingdom.He’s nostalgic about the Galihuma age when the Kingdom province of Galihuma was a learning hub of Greater Bunyoro Kitara and a notable one in the whole intellacustrine. He deeply reminisces about the lofty feats and glorious maneuvers of his forefathers and urgently calls for cultural revival.

Toil and Tears 

All this glitz and grandeur was however  brought to an abrupt halt when, after performing in his native Kabarole two years ago, he was brutally besieged and attacked by ‘thugs’ for reasons unbeknown but only to them. He has been in hospital since 2009 and is now sadly confined to a wheel chair. Once a boisterous performer on and off stage, the sight of a thin, weak and hapless Araali in that chair is greatly unnerving.

Resulting from the attacks, the ailment began as a mild malaria attack that saw him admitted to Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital and later Mulago. There, a series of expensive tests showed that he suffered a lumbar puncture that in consequence led to paraplegia– a tomblike spinal cord injury.

At Mulago in December 2010, he was told that the situation was dire and needed an urgent operation to the tunes of 70M UGX which he never had due to the long financially exhausting stay at Fort Portal Hospital.

In the mean time Kigambo, even when confined to a bed rest, continues to perform but in the wheel chair. This is against the doctor’s clear prescriptions for rest but he says he has nothing to do as he has to use his voice to try and raise funds for his treatment. Says he: ‘I am still rolling in my wheel chair looking for support in schools and churches around. I need more than 70M for the operation’. But clearly, he cannot raise 70M from this wheelchair even if he wished.

His wife, Lucy Komukyeya dresses, bathes and takes him to the toilet daily. ‘This has affected my ego as a man and a singer because am the bread- earner with four children. The first born is a girl in Senior Two. They need food and school fees’, so bewails Kigambo.

Helping Hands

A bank account has specifically been opened up for this purpose for those that may be willing to heed humanity’s call and help Moses Kigambo- Araali at Post Bank Uganda, Fort Portal Branch, Account No. 1330800000187 in the names of Kigambo, Pochi and Kaibu. Mobile Money can be sent to MTN +256 781 256 467 and UTL +256 718 746 186.

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Blessed are they that give…

Araali looking and singing sorrow to raise his operation charges....

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2011 in Uncategorized