KAMPALA – The minister of state for gender and culture affairs has written to the minister of security requesting him to prevail over Mbale DPC and RPC from interfering with the affairs of the Inzu Ya Masaba cultural institution.
Ms Peace Mutuzo says that the RPC Elgon sub-region and DPC Mbale are stopping the legitimate organs of Inzu Ya Masaba from holding meetings and accessing offices for deliberations.
Ms Mutuzo in her letter to the security minister says in part “ the regional police commander and the Mbale district police commander are being used by a group that is not legitimate to stop the meetings intended to start the search for the next Umukukha [cultural leader]”.
The letter dated May 27 says it is only the legitimate General assembly and the cultural council that are supposed to provide for the selection of the next Umukukha to pave way for the smooth transition of leadership of the cultural institution.
“The purpose of this letter is to request you to facilitate the provision of security to enable the legitimate organs to effectively operate and hold meetings after full lifting of the national partial lockdown due to COVID-19 to pave way for the selection of the cultural leader in accordance with the constitution of the Republic of Uganda, the traditional and cultural leaders Act of 2011 and the constitution of Inzu Ya Masaba 2011,” reads the letter further in part, copy of which PML Daily has.
This letter comes at the two factions one led by the speaker of the Inzu Ya Masaba Sister Rose Nelima and the other led by Dr Stephen Mungoma have clashed over who should be the legitimate cultural leader to start off the search for the next Umukukha.
Although it is clear that the former speaker of Inzu Ya Masaba was sacked at a meeting held in Bungoma Kenya in April 2019 and replaced by his deputy Sister Nelima, a letter written by the solicitor general 7 August 2019 and another by the Permanent secretary minister of gender, labour and social development say the sacking was done outside the law and therefore was null and void.
Ms Mutuzo’s letter clarifies that the legitimate organs recognised by the government as general assembly headed by the speaker Mr Nelson Wadaila, the legitimate cultural council headed by Dr Christopher Bunoti, the legitimate secretary as Rev James Kangala and that the governing board is headed by Dr Stephen Mungoma.
The Letter adds that” the composition should be as it was prior to the Bungoma purported general assembly, taking into account the legal advice of the solicitor general with respect to meetings and participation of foreigners [Kenyans]”
The advice from the solicitor general in a letter dated 7 August 2019 also says that the Mabanga-Bungoma [Kenya] General Assembly that sacked Mr Wadaira, Dr Bunoti, Dr Mungoma and Rev Kangala acted out of law and not binding because the decisions of cultural institutions involving foreigners are outside the law as demonstrated by Article 246 of the Uganda constitution as well as section 3 of the institution of cultural leaders Act.
Section 3 of the Institution of cultural leaders Act limits the implementation of the law relating to cultural institutions to the territorial jurisdiction and the people of Uganda.
Reports from the cultural institution indicate that by 2 July, Bamasaaba are supposed to have a new cultural leader and that by this time [June] Bamasaba clan heads are expected to have already convened to start the process of choosing a new Umukukha (cultural leader) for Inzu Ya Masaba.
According to Mr Erick Mukhwana, the Information, Communication and Technology Ministry at Masaba Cultural Institution, revealed that for somebody to qualify to become Umukukha of Bamasaba must be circumcised, above 65 years of age, adding that he also must have an advanced certificate of Education or equivalent.
He explained that he should also have community indicators like no back ground of criminality among others and that although the elections might be held early next month, the official hand over of the office and tools of power are meant to be done on 15th of November 2020.
He noted that despite the covid-19 pandemic that has left the entire world on its kneels, the road map is still on until November.
Although there have been warring factions in the institution, Bugisu [Bamasaba] were previously a united community, bound together by the age-old tradition of circumcision who have only descended into confusion for lack of vision in the Inzu Ya Masaba.
The Bamasaba occupy six districts that Sironko, Bulambuli, Mbale, Bududa, Namisindwa and Manafwa and Western Kenya where they are referred to as the Babukusu that are estimated to be 7million people.
Mr Mukhwana explained that the Bamasaba first Umukukha was elected by 26 clan heads in July, 2010, as the pioneer head of the institution (Umukukha) and his term in office expired after five years of service before the current Umukukha II Mr Bob Mushikori was elected into office.
“And now Umukukha serves a non-renewable five-year term. So the current Umukukha Mushikori has also served five years and by July of this years must be replaced by another Umukukha from Inzu Ya Mwambu,” he said.
The great Grandfather Masaba had three children [Wanale, Mubuya and Mwambu] and the first cultural leader of Bamasaba came from Wanale, second cultural leader Mushikori came from Mubuya and the third cultural leader now is expected to come from Mwambu [North Bugisu, Sironko and Bulambuli districts.