MBALE – Just a day after the high court in Mbale threw out a suit against Bamasaba cultural institution; two sons of Inzu Ya Masaba have again dragged the same institution to high court.
Mr Richard Masereje and Mr Richard Gidagui in their suit filed November 9 at High court in Mbale [Court Civil Suit No. 34 of 2020. Vide] have sued Umukukha Mr Bob Mushikori, Inzu Ya Masaba Limited as well as the Attorney general over registration of the Bamasaba cultural institution.
The Plaintiffs argue that upon perusing the documents for the registration of Inzu Ya Masaba including the alleged constitution and certificate of registration, many issues were discovered which contravene the provisions of the constitution of the Republic of Uganda as well as the Institution of Traditional or Cultural leaders Act, 2011 which governs Traditional and Cultural leaders in Uganda and placed under the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
The suit says that Inzu Ya Masaba cultural institution was erroneously been registered as a company Limited by Guarantee on August, 31, 2011 vide certificate No. 136238 and that it falls short of the provisions of the institution of traditional or cultural leaders Act 2011 and the 1995 constitution of the republic on Uganda.
A summons to file defence by the assistant registrar oh high court in Mbale dated 9 November has given the trio sued 14 days to file a defence and that failure and adds that failure to file a defence within the stipulated time the summary suit and judgment will be given in their absence.
“Whereas the above named plaintiffs have instituted a suit against you upon a claim and particulars of which are set in the copy of the plaint attached hereto. You are hereby required to file a defence in the said suit within 14 days from the date of service,” reads the summons in part from high court in Mbale seen by PML Daily.
Mr Masereje, a lawyer insists that Inzu Ya Masaba should have been registered as a “corporation sole” as provided for under the Institution of Traditional or Cultural Leaders Act, 2011) which to operationalised Article 246 of the 1995 Constitution.
“It is the Umukukha/Umuguga as a person who should have been referred to a corporation sole with perpetual succession and with capacity to sue and be sued and to hold assets or properties in trust for itself and the people concerned,” said Mr Masereje.
The Institution of Traditional or Cultural Leaders Act, 2011) defines as a corporation sole as a continuous legal personality that is attributed to successive holders of monarchical positions such as kings. While the dictionary defines a corporation sole as an individual person who represents an official position which has a single separate legal entity. The death of its leader will not affect the corporation as there is a right of succession. That explains why you hear phrases like the Kabaka of Buganda, The Kyabazinga of Busoga. the title comes first and then the institution follows and not vice versa.
The Plaintiffs allege that Inzu Ya Masaba is run and is registered as a company and under the company’s Act as opposed to the Institution of Traditional or Cultural leaders Act, 2011 which raises legal questions that need to be settled by the Court before another election for the next Umukukha/Umuguga is held.
“And this company called Inzu Ya Masaba cannot be a cultural institution for the Bagisu/Bamasaba,” added Mr Masereje.
PML Daily has found out that the bone of contention in the claim lies in the establishment of Inzu Ya Masaba as a cultural institution, recognition, election and gazetting of Umuguga/Umukukha as the head of the Bagisu/Bamasaba.
The crust of the suit is in the way the registration process of the institution of the Inzu Ya Masaba was handled to the extent that the institution is run as a company limited by guarantee instead of a corporate sole as provided for under the Institution of Traditional or Cultural Leaders Act, 2011 which sought to operationalise Article 246 of the 1995 Constitution.
Mr Gidagui says that a traditional or cultural institution serves the purpose of a tribe and nothing else; it is not an association, a sacco or any other legal establishment but a corporate sole with a perpetual succession with power to sue and be sued.
And like many Bagisu, PML Daily has talked to, Mr Masereje and Mr Gidagui are of the view that Bamasaba are not an indigenous tribe listed in the constitution of Uganda 1995 and therefore cannot be recognized and treated as such.
The 1995 constitution in the third schedule, article 10 [a] on Uganda’s indigenous communities as at 1 February, 1926 names 56 tribes, making the Bagisu No. 8 while Bamasaba are not there.
The duo urged further that the first Umukukha/Umuguga who was Ambassador Wilson Wamimbi was elected on 31, July, 2010, way before the registration of the institution that he was supposed to head came into existence on 31 August 2011.
They urge further that comparison of the Inzu Ya Masaba Registration documents conflict with the Institution of Traditional or Cultural leaders Act, 2011 which came into force on 27 February, 2011 and that surprisingly, even the second Umukukha/Umuguga Mr Bob Mushikori assumed office under the same questionable documents.
It is clear that Umukukha Mushikori cannot be faulted for the current mess in the Inzu Ya Masaba because he was never part of it but that his term of office has expired and the petitioners believe this is the right time to sort out these internal problems before the next election.
Mr Masereje says that what the entire confusion at the Inzu Ya Masaba means is that the institution has been hiding under the company limited by guarantee to carry out its activities including the purported registration of Umukukha/Umuguga official vehicle.
According to Masereje, their purpose is not intended to undermine the Bagisu cultural institution but to shade more light on what they believe was a wrong procedure adopted for an otherwise good cause.
They revealed that Inzu Ya Masaba is about a decade old and has done a lot of good things for the Bamasaba but it is hinged on a shaky foundation.
“Let us also correct past mistakes by working with the council of elders or clan leaders or representative bodies chosen and approved by the community, in accordance with the traditions, customs and norms of our people and have mutual respect for each other,” Mr Gidagui said.
Unfortunately this suit comes at the time the Inzu Ya Masaba has already elected Umuguga/Umukukha from the Mwambu family [Bulambuli and Sironko districts] Mr Jude Mudoma
But Rev Father James Kangala, secretary general of the Inzu Ya Masaba said he had already seen the suit adding that since they won the first case against them, this one will just be a walkover.
“What I know is that you are sympathetic to these fellow who have filed a case but what we want is to live in harmony, we started poorly but we must correct our mistakes as we move on. And for me I think this is the right way,” said Rev Kangala.
It is now ten years ever since the Masaba/Bugisu cultural institution [Inzu Ya Masaba] was instituted but they are still embroiled in divisions, confusion and have failed to take off in the right direction.
Although with a second cultural leader now, two factions opposed to each other have been running the institution; one led by Sister Rose Nelima, the deputy speaker to the cultural institution loyal to the out-going Umukukha/Umuguga Bob Mushikori and the other led by the legitimate cultural council leaders Mr Nelson Wadaila [Speaker], Rev Father James Kangala [General secretary], Dr Christopher Bunoti and Dr Stephen Mungoma the governing board chairperson.
The Bamasaba/ Bagisu 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 seven million people.
Mr Masereje and Mr Gidagui say that history will judge wrong if they do not act wisely to avoid situations that would fuel conflicts further.