By Denis Mugonza Waggumbulizi
Advocate and entrepreneur, Charles Peter Mayiga was appointed as the 5th Katikkiro (Prime Minister) by the reigning Kabaka of Buganda Kingdom, His Majesty Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, on 12th May 2013 till to date.
During his maiden speech, Mayiga issued four priorities that he said he would pursue. These included ensuring the integrity of the throne, restoration of the Kasubi Tombs, completing of the Masengere commercial building, and introducing new work ethics.
Masengere commercial building was completed and it’s one of the Kingdom’s financial arms. Then the tombs which are the burial grounds for Buganda’s kings are now in the final stages and when they are complete, they shall fetch good money from tourists for Buganda to run the Kingdom’s activities.
Mayiga introduced a new work ethic (Enkola ey’omulembe omujja) and this encompasses innovation, accountability and transparency, and working with passion. Re-organizing the Kabaka’s civil service, ensuring that competent people fill different positions, drafting policies and manuals and other things which include setting up internal audit offices called Kalondoozi. This has inspired some of us to study hard, be innovative, hard work, and get committed to our work at whatever level of service.
With integrity, Mayiga’s administration has tried to popularize Buganda’s culture and heritage within the Kingdom and this has been appreciated even by us the young generation, people within the Buganda region, and those who are not Baganda whether locally or internationally today. He does this by using media, literature, and in public gatherings. Mayiga is an orator and a charismatic leader who continues to inspire and motivate many young men and women who would desire to take up leadership positions tomorrow.
There has been steady progress in health development under Mayiga’s administration. Mayiga and his team have been able to put up projects and programs aimed at improving the health standards of Baganda and Ugandans generally. The Kabaka Birthday Run is done annually and attended massively by people across the globe. Over 80000 people take part in the Kabaka Birthday Run.
This aims at disease awareness and mobilizing funds to fight different diseases like Fistula, Sickle cell, HIV/AIDS to mention but a few. According to UNAIDS, there has been a reduction in HIV infections in the Buganda region, with new infections down more than in any other region of Uganda over the last few years. Uganda’s excellent progress in tackling the AIDS pandemic is partly attributed to Kabaka’s five-year campaign to increase the uptake of HIV testing and treatment services, with a particular focus on men and boys.
Further, Buganda has embarked on building health facilities at the level of Health Centre IV across the 18 counties of Buganda Kingdom. The program has begun in Ssingo County. We are yet to see the same begin in Buddu and Kyaggwe counties. Uganda’s health standards are very poor and so what Buganda Kingdom is doing under the leadership of Mayiga is timely and it is something good that the central government ought to work with Buganda to improve the health system of our country.
Buganda Masaza Cup is another great achievement that has been observed and registered under Mayiga’s administration. The tournament is not even classified on the local football calendar, but it is effective and massively attended. The tournament is free of scandals, is self-sufficient, and is firm in its determination to win over fans. That is a novelty in Ugandan football, whose top-flight league offers a regular dose of controversies right from refereeing to management. Masaza Cup is competed for by Buganda Kingdom’s 18 counties.
Masaza Cup’s success is a work in progress and not an overnight success. With the leadership of Mayiga, Masaza Cup has created an attachment between fans and their teams in order to build a competitive spirit. The Buganda Masaza Cup is also used to mobilize men and boys to learn about the importance of going for regular health check-ups, including HIV testing.
Mayiga has visited landing sites in Ssese County and other places in Buganda to reach vulnerable groups such as young women and adolescent girls to get Buganda and Uganda on track to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
However, Mayiga faces a number of critics some of which are Baganda and not. The majority of these are on the payroll to soil Mayiga and Buganda. This is not a surprise because Buganda faces a number of enemies it is the largest Kingdom in Uganda with all its endowments. Some judge Buganda as if it’s their central government. They so much forget that there are Ugandans as well as taxpayers who elected political leaders to serve them in their areas. Mayiga is not their political leader.
They should put to account their elected leaders under the central government. What Buganda does is charity work and does not collect taxes from the public. I would agree with anyone complaining that Buganda or Katikkiro does not speak against abuse of human rights, but often Mayiga condemns inhuman activities and is an advocate of justice unless one wants Buganda or Katikkiro to abuse the constitution that stops cultural institutions from engaging in partisan politics. Interestingly, all this never discourages Mayiga to continue doing his work. He is solid and calculative.
Locally and internationally, Mayiga makes visits to sell Buganda’s agenda towards growth and development among the Baganda and well-wishers. This is the Katikkiro that Buganda must be proud of. The majority of the people in Buganda, as elsewhere across the country, are young people. They must be inspired to get themselves out of poverty.
Mayiga has been doing this with Emmwanyi Terimba (grow coffee) campaign but it isn’t enough. The central government should cooperate with cultural institutions to better livelihoods other than sabotage the works of Kingdoms for division and rule. For example, Emyoga, Parish Development Model to mention a few should have been a success if the government engaged the Buganda Kingdom and others because the people do believe so much in their cultural leaders.
Mayiga should now focus on engaging all Kingdoms in Uganda and political leaders especially, Members of Parliament to pursue the introduction of a federal system of government for Uganda. Federalism doesn’t make Buganda special or superior.
It would simply empower all major regions in the country to govern themselves in a manner they see fit. They would also develop themselves better. A federal status would help Bunyoro manage its affairs better including receiving a percentage of oil revenue.
The Banyoro know what is better for them and their region would develop much more than it is at the moment. However, also development would stop being concentrated in Buganda as it is today.
Mayiga should remind all regions and the country at large of the recommendations of Justice Benjamin Odoki and Prof. Fredrick Ssempebwa’s Constitution Review Commission to be implemented as soon as yesterday if we want our regions and country at large to develop. With Mayiga’s communications skills, diplomacy, lobbying, and advocacy, I believe this can be achieved and everyone especially the young generation would find Uganda livable.
Although the anti-Buganda drunkards fought against the Etofaali Project which was carried out locally and internationally and later on called off, its success towards the completion of Masengere and Muganziwazza Commercial Buildings plus Kasubi Tombs which are yet to be complete, exposed how great a mobilizer and leader who Mayiga is. I believe Mayiga can do the same to rally other regions to advocate for a federal system.
The ten years of Katikkiro Mayiga continue to produce better results towards Buganda and Uganda’s development, and there is a lot to note about. Mayiga has lobbied for opportunities for Buganda by partnering with development partners. Evidence is there for the public to prove. Give Mayiga taxes or funds to run the Kingdom, he would deliver good results. Baganda should work hand in hand with Mayiga to restore the lost glory of Buganda other than being used by haters to soil and fail Buganda. I do believe that Kabaka is proud of the ten years of Katikkiro Mayiga. Today, Buganda needs a solid and calculative Katikkiro like Mayiga. I wish, Katikkiro Mayiga plenty of luck in his ten years of leadership ahead. God bless the King.
The writer is Advocate, Researcher & Entrepreneur
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