Almost eight years since Buganda Kingdom and the Central Government signed a memorandum of understanding to guide the return of the monarchy’s properties, Mengo has threatened a legal battle if no action is taken within 45 days.
In August 2013, President Yoweri Museveni signed a Memorandum of Understanding with His Majesty Ssabasajja Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II at State House Entebbe.
Then, Museveni said the Memorandum of Understanding was a result of years of protracted discussions.
“We’ve been having a long process of discussions between the Central Government and the Mengo Administration about the properties that used to belong to the Administration of the Kingdom of Buganda,” noted the president.
“We’ve been involved in long discussions. We have now agreed and signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will be availed to the media in due course. I take pleasure in handing in the Memorandum of Understanding to the Prime Minister of Buganda.”
The properties in question were official estates for the Masaza, Amagombolola, properties of chiefs, markets, and a number of other properties that were taken by the provincial Government after the overthrow of the constitution of 1962, further explained the head of state.
Other properties would also include: Jeza Farm on Mityana Road, Mutesa House in London, and Plot 52 on Kampala Road (where King Fahd Plaza is located).
Rent arrears to the tune of Shs20bn were to be cleared in the FY2014/15.
Then, a statement by State House said a committee to verify the properties would be set up to fasttrack their return to Mengo.
That meeting had given Buganda Kingdom so much hope that prime minister Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga praised Museveni “for participating in the long talks with us and for listening to us.”
“The properties have been a source of conflict between Mengo Administration and the Central Government,” continued Mayiga.
“Now that they are out of the way, we shall initiate development programs to help our people get out of poverty.”
Since the signing of the memorandum, there have been meetings between government and Mengo, including at State House and at the Kabaka’s Banda Palace.
Yet Katikkiro Mayiga has expressed frustration with the process of return of the properties.
For example, in 2018, he told reporters that Mengo would keep pushing despite government’s slow process.
“The 2013 Memorandum of Understanding signed between Kabaka Ronald Mutebi and President Museveni where the president pledged to return many of Buganda’s assets and properties that are still under the custody of the central government has not been fully respected; there has been little honour,” he said.
“However, Buganda will continue demanding for its assets until they are back.”
Buganda Kingdom gives Museveni’s Central Government ultimatum
But this week, Buganda Kingdom made it clear it had run out of patience.
Mengo has instructed its Attorney General Christopher Bwanika to demand an explanation from the central government, something the Kabaka has wants done within 45 days.
The monarchy has threatened to take the Museveni administration to court if no explanation and assurances are given within one and a half months.