By Mariah Aheebwa, Wednesday June 12, 2019.
A gigantic crowd has converged on the Bunyoro/Kitara Kingdom in the Western part of Uganda Hoima Kingdom known for its rich oil resources hence dubbed the Oil City for the 25th edition of Empango, Tuesday June 11, 2019.
The Empango is a traditional celebration of the Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom held every 11 June of each year, the day Solomon Gafabusa Iguru I ascended the kingdom’s throne.
Solomon Gafabusa Iguru I is the 27th Omukama of Bunyoro from 1994 to present. The Omukama rose to the throne in 1994, after his father, Sir Winyi IV of Bunyoro, was annexed in 1967 by the Ugandan government, said a source.
Many speakers at the event spoke about the resistance to slavery and colonialism led by the Bunyoro/Kitara Kingdom. Bunyoro/Kitara Kingdom which was located in present day Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, parts of Congo and Southern Sudan holds a special place in the history of Africa’s resistance to outside invaders, said a participant at the event.
Bunyoro King, Omukama Kalenga is one of Africa’s celebrated kings because of his great refusal to accept the plunder of Bunyoro resources by British and Ottomon colonizers from 1894 to 1899.
The speakers noted that the struggle for Independence of Uganda and the entire African continent draws a lot of inspiration from King Kabalenga’s fight for self-determination.
Another speaker noted; from 1885 to 1915, the British relentlessly attacked the Bunyoro people in their efforts to beat them into submission. Davico Batwale, head of the Bunyoro/Kitara Reparations Agency, exposed that the British had killed over 2.4 million Bunyoro people.
Other sources like Breaking Chains of Poverty published by the Kingdom Royals estimates a total of 2.5 million had been massacred by 1893.
He also noted that the British had paid the Ugandan government 700 million Euros for reparations, but the Ugandan government has refused to turn the money over to the Bunyoro people. The Buyoro leaders told National Telegraph they feel betrayed like their ancestors felt betrayed by neighboring tribes.
Many leaders of the Bunyoro people said they feel that the History of King Kalenga must be taught to their young people in order to instill pride and to show evidence of past resistance as an inspiration to rekindle the will to resist enemies that the Bunyoro people face today.
In response to the queries raised by youth leaders of kingdom that the people of Bunyoro are segregated when it comes to employment, and that the government agreed that as the oil is found in their region they will get 45% employment advantages, yet they don’t even make up to 5% of the employed, The Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament said the government should abide by the Uganda Oil Constitution which gives 45% oil employment to the indigenous people.
Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga also added that Omukama Kabalega should be among one of the greatest heroes of not only Uganda but Africa at large. This left joy in the hearts of the native people as they sounded drums and whistled traditionally.
She also thanked the kingdom for having given birth to her because she comes from a kingdom which was given birth to by this main kingdom. Colorful traditional dances like Orunyege, Omugongo, Entogoro presented by different clans and groups invoked unbeatable ambience.
The economic potential in the region is large, with the Kibiro Salt works. Large oil, gas, iron ore and precious stone and sizable deposits of crude oil have been discovered in the area. The area also has large rainforests with an abundance of hardwoods including Mahogany and Ironwood.
The Omukama and the other leaders of the area are planning to establish a university that will primarily focus on teaching relevant skills with regards to work in the extraction of natural resources. The university will also work to preserve the high level of cultural heritage in the region, National Telegraph East Africa Service has been told.,