The government has agreed to return Tooro Kingdom assets after over 50 years since they were confiscated during the abolition of kingdoms in 1967.
Yesterday, while meeting President Museveni at State House Entebbe, a Tooro delegation led by King Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government for the consequent return of the said assets.
Speaking during the majorly private event, Museveni said that the decision to return Tooro kingdom assets was done at a consultative level because the properties were not necessarily cultural but administrative centers.
Museveni thanked the King for his efforts in protecting the environment and reducing HIV/AIDS prevalence amongst the youth.
“I’m very happy that His highness is interested in the environment. God made the swamp. If you invade it, you are killing yourself. When the religious leaders and the cultural leaders persuade the people to leave them, it makes our work easier,” he said.
“I’m glad that his highness has taken up the issue of AIDS which has been killing many including Tooro. The prevalence was 12 percent but I hear it’s coming down now.”
The Tooro Kingdom Prime Minister, Bernard Tungakwo welcomed the move by the president, saying the delay by the government to return the properties had affected it financially.
Present during the meeting were; Tooro Kingdom Queen Mother, Best Kemigisa; the Prime Minister, Bernard Tungakwo; the Kingdom Lands Minister, Polly Kateeba and other top kingdom officials.
The meeting was a culmination of a previous meeting between Museveni and King Oyo in February this year at State House Nakasero
During the meeting, King Oyo told Museveni that the delay by the government to return the properties has affected the kingdom financially. He said that if they are returned, the kingdom can rent them out and get income to sustain its activities and improve its financial base.
King Oyo also told Museveni that the Kingdom and the government negotiating team are yet to agree whether the kingdom should be given royalties from Kilembe Mines, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Katwe Salt Lake in Kasese district, which are now under the Rwenzururu Kingdom.
In January 2018, Tooro Kingdom resolved to sue the government over the return of its assets following futile attempts to meet president Museveni, and the Attorney General (who is a mutooro).
The decision to drag government to court was passed unanimously during a Kingdom parliament session (Orukuraato). However, they didn’t proceed with the court process.
In August 2018, the kingdom reiterated their calls for the return of its assets during an inauguration ceremony of Tooro Kingdom Council of opinion leaders (Isaazi lyo bukama bwa Tooro) which was attended by Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, at the kingdom’s Karuzika palace in Kabarole District.
The Kingdom reportedly demands 103 land titles from the government. The initial missing land titles were 120, but only 17 have so far been returned.
These claim that some of the land owned by the kingdom is being occupied by Uganda Prisons, Railways corporation as well as Kasese District Council