Opinions

BUNYORO KITARA KINGDOM GOVERNANCE

By Lennox Mugume

Bunyoro Kitara is one of the ancient African monarchies, respected for her civilization and military prowess ahead of other known African kingdoms.
During HRM Cwa II Kabalega’s reign, Bunyoro boasted of good and robust governance, stretching influence through the greater East African region, and part of West Africa ( some parts of Congo).

GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE
This is the initial structure for BKK as an absolute monarchy, that inform the subsequent structures, according to the various legal regimes.

THE PALACE (KARUZIIKA)
This is the ultimate power/ governance centre of the Kingdom. It consists of the King, Omugo, Okwiri, Batebe, Queen Mother, the Royal Princes and the Royal Princesses.

THE KING
He is the supreme head of the Kingdom, enthroned hereditary following the deceased King’s will, or appointed by the Royal Family and endorsed by the clan, according to the the prevalent circumstance and necessity.

THE OMUGO
This is the King’s official wife. There can only be one Omugo. In case the King desires to have more than one wives, only the official wife can be addressed by the title of the Omugo. She is responsible for guiding the women in the Kingdom, as well as ensuring proper child welfare/ upbringing and family cohesion in the Kingdom.

OKWIRI
He is part of the Palace Administrators, charged with leadership of the ruling clan, specifically, men in the ruling clan.
Initially, he was the deceased King’s brother, charged with helping the incoming King to ensure smooth transition and continuity from one reign to another.
Following the will, or family/ clan choice of the King; it is the Okwiri that performs the ritual of enthroning the King assisted by Omupanyarwa and with the help of specific people from the Abasiita clan.

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By essence, the Okwiri was the King’s uncle (official father); charged with the responsibility of counseling and guiding the King on social-cultural and administrative aspects of the Kingdom. His role is both advisory and administrative, in consultation and agreement with King.

In the ancient norms and not the governor agreements of recent, Okwiri was and still remains the 2nd most powerful under the office of the Omukama after the Omukama himself and reports only and only to the King, the Okwiri, Omugo, Batebe and Nyin’Omukama do not report to any other person or committee apart from the Ruling King only, the said officials can not be summoned by anyone apart from the King

THE BATEBE/ KALYOTA
This is the official King’s sister, charged with the responsibility of providing leadership to the women in the ruling clan.

She also may provide counseling services to women from other clans. She wields similar authority to the Okwir regarding the advisory role to the King.

She is usually installed at the installation of the King, just like the Okwir. The King reserves powers to recognize, appoint or disappoint the Batebe. Initially, she wasn’t allowed to get married and have children, so that she would devote all her time to serve the King and the women in the Kingdom.

It was assumed that in case she got married, she’d devote most of her time to her family, at the expense of her roles in the Palace.

THE QUEEN MOTHER

This is the King’s mother.
She is part of the Palace administrators, initially, a highly respected person. She may be the King’s biological mother, or anyone appointed by the King. She has a key role of providing advisory services to the King, and counseling to other women in the Kingdom.

Other members of the Palace include the princes, princesses, and the crown prince among others.
Therefore the Office of the Omukama entails Omukama, Omugo, Okwiri, Batebe Queen mother and other assorted officials the above mentioned are key advisors to the Omukama in ruling and governance of the Kingdom

Below the Office of the Omukama we have

THE KINGDOM OFFICES
These are structured to ensure good governance, and are as follows;

THE OMUHIKIRWA/ KATIKIRO
He is the head/ CEO of the Kingdom. He heads the staff to ensure proper operations of the Kingdom and the position is voluntary in nature the Omuhikirwa only receives line of duties to perform
This position was first introduced in BKK administration during RA Chwa II Kabalega’s reign, therefore, a recent position in the administration of BKK. He is charged with helping the King to administer his subjects outside the Palace. He may be hired and fired by the King, he reports to the office of the Omukama

THE ROYAL COMMISSION (RC)
In the ancient BKK, the RC was a temporary advisory establishment, appointed to advise, and/ or caretaker, as the King(s) went to battle.

In our recent circumstance/ time, the Royal Commission was established as an Advisory committee, to support the cabinet and other BKK officials for the sooth running of the Kingdom. It is a temporary formation, relevant only when the King is incapacitated.

Initially, it was dissolved immediately the King would come back. The Administrative equivalent is the team of Regents, appointed to run the affairs of the Kingdom in the circumstance the King is of young age, or incapacitated by a chronic illness.

THE CABINET
This is a team of ministers appointed by HRM, depending on their capabilities; charged with responsibilities according to their abilities and dockets.
The rest of the staff in BKK governance report to the PM, and serve BKK on a contractual basis.

OTHER OFFICES
They include but not limited to;

– The Omujwarakondo (Awarded for distinguished service)
– The Rukurato/ Parliament
– County Chiefs
– Subcounty Chiefs
– Parish Chiefs, etal.

AVAILABLE LAWS
Some of the laws include; the 1924, 1962 and the recent hybrid 1955 agreements; and of late, the 1995 Constitution. The most publicised law is the 1955 agreement, which was largely highbrid, inspired by the British Colonial masters.

NB: Most BKK services/ offices are voluntary in nature.

The author is the official spokesperson of the late Omukama Winyi Gafabusa Family Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom

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