By Our Reporter
BULIISA: The Member of Parliament for Buliisa Constituency, Hon. Allan Atugonza, has called for peace and diversity among the people of Bugungu amidst secession.
He was speaking as the chief guest at the Bagungu Cultural Gala, which took place on Saturday, April 1, 2023, at the former Buliisa auction grounds in Buliisa Town Council’s Buliisa District.
The politician asserted that the people of Bugungu should unite for a common cause, noting that there was a group of people who tried to block the gala from taking place, thus wanting to cause disunity among the Bagungu, something he said should be avoided.
‘’There have been false letters making the rounds on social media blocking the gala; this prompted me to get authentic letters from the Uganda Police Force and the Ministry of Gender,’’ he said.
Atugonza emphasized that the Bagungu have a constitutional right to perform their culture and enjoy other cultural rights within the constitution like any other recognized tribe in the country.
‘’It’s not right for a section of people to block Bagungu from performing their culture, and it’s even constitutional for them to have cultural autonomy as long as they are following the constitution,’’ he said.
The Bugungu Cultural Revival Association (BUCRA) Chairperson, Mr. Lukumu Norman, also preached unity among the Bagungu as they spearhead for the formation of an independent cultural institution.
‘’The Bugungu clan council demanded an independent cultural institution for the Bagungu even when I was still the prime minister for Bunyoro Kingdom,’’ he clarified.
Mr. Lukumu said that he was later elected to spearhead the team pushing for the formation of the Bugungu Cultural Institution known as “Buttebbengwa Bwa Bugungu.”
‘’Bagungu as a cultural entity is destined for extinction because there is currently a total lack of protection for our cultural values, norms, heritage, and practices, including the Lugungu language,’’ he said.
He also added that due to the discovery of oil and gas in Buliisa district, there is a need to put in place mechanisms for conserving, protecting, and promoting Gungu cultural values and practices, hence the need to urgently establish an autonomous cultural institution.
‘’There is a need to put in place mechanisms of conserving, protecting, and promoting Gungu cultural values and practices because of their vulnerability to extinction occasioned by the current and future worrying rates of population influx in Buliisa district due to oil recovery,’’ he said.
During the gala on Saturday, the Bagungu showcased their traditional dances, food, clothing, and way of life.
The Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Andrew Byakutaga, has been preaching unity among the people of Bunyoro, opposing the Bagungu secession, saying they should unite for the development of Bunyoro.
‘’Since we have been working together, there is no need for Bagungu to secede from Bunyoro; we are ready to sit at the round table and solve their disputes,’’ he said.
This is not the first time the Bagungu have tried to secede from Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom. In 2011, Edward Kabagambe spearheaded the secession but failed due to political pressure.
In 2014, Charles Babyesiza enthroned himself and even started constructing a palace at his ancestral home in Bugana village, a move that was opposed by most of the politicians.
In 2018, Mr. Norman Lukumu, who had just been sacked as Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom Premier, joined the movement in close coordination with the group that was spearheading the secession.
The Bagungu are natives of Buliisa, one of the eight districts that form Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom; however, some Bagungu are spread in the other districts of Hoima, Masindi, and Kiryandongo.
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