Close to two decades since the restoration of cultural institutions, Tooro Kingdom has renewed its call to central government for the return of kingdom properties. On January 31, 2019, Attorney General William Byaruhanga was at his country home in Fort Portal, Western Uganda, when his cellphone vibrated.
Byaruhanga was asked to stay on the line as the president needed to talk to him, President Museveni said he was hosting a delegation from Tooro Kingdom led by the youthful King Oyo Nyimba Iguru IV.
The President said he expected Byaruhanga, who was last year appointed to chair a committee to spearhead government’s return of Tooro Kingdom properties, to be in attendance.
In response, Byaruhanga said he was in the countryside and completely unaware about the meeting.
As the meeting halfed down its reported that hell broke loose when King Oyo lost his patience, telling off President Museveni that he was “totally disappointed” that the head-of-state had fallen short of fulfilling his commitment to return Tooro’s properties taken by the central government following the abolishment of Kingdoms by President Milton Obote in 1966.
“Why do you keep telling us you will return our properties yet you don’t want to?” asked a visibly angry Oyo.
The King’s assertive, if not combative mood, stunned his delegation which included Queen Mother, Best Kemigisa.
“Why are other kingdoms getting their properties but Tooro has to struggle all the time?” Oyo again fired at Museveni.
Those who attended the meeting say Museveni didn’t expect such brazen questions from Oyo, who took over as King at the age of three following the death of his father in 1995.
Oyo is the 12th ruler of the 180-year-old Kingdom of Toro.The tension between Oyo, whose Kingdom is considered a stronghold of the ruling NRM party, started building up late last year as he struggled to meet President Museveni.