Iganga: It was a day of jubilation and reflection as thousands of Basoga gathered at Namungalwe Saza ground in Iganga district to celebrate the 9th coronation anniversary of Kyabazinga William Wilberforce Nadiope Gabula IV, the revered leader of Busoga. This historic event brought together dignitaries from the government, Busoga Kingdom, and other regions of Uganda, creating an atmosphere of unity and cultural pride.
Kyabazinga Gabula IV arrived at the venue at 2 pm, greeted by thunderous cheers from his subjects. The joyous crowd erupted in celebration as they caught sight of their beloved king. His first act was to plant a tree, a symbolic gesture that signifies his vibrant presence on the throne. Following this, the air was filled with the rhythmic beats of cultural drums, a tradition that underscores the deep-rooted cultural significance of the occasion.
In his address to his subjects, Kyabazinga Gabula IV emphasized the theme of this year’s celebrations: “Benefiting the Environment Through Tree Planting.” He called upon all communities, including schools, churches, hospitals, and subcounty headquarters, to actively participate in tree planting initiatives as a response to growing concerns about climate change. The king’s commitment to environmental conservation echoed throughout his speech.
The Kyabazinga stressed the importance of unity among the Basoga people, especially among the youth. He urged young people to engage in productive activities such as agriculture, entrepreneurship, and the exploration of their talents. These endeavors, he explained, would not only transform their lives but also elevate the status of Busoga as a region. Food security was another key point in his speech, emphasizing the cultivation of food crops for both commercial and domestic use to promote the health and well-being of his subjects.
The king expressed his delight in the younger generation’s increasing interest in and appreciation for their culture, a phenomenon he believes will play a vital role in preserving the region’s cultural values and norms.
Regarding land ownership in Busoga, Kyabazinga Gabula IV clarified that land in the kingdom is not for sale, and no one permanently owns land. Instead, the kingdom offers leases to individuals and entities willing to invest in the region. He cautioned his subjects against being enticed by opportunists selling kingdom land and encouraged investors to establish more factories on Busoga land, providing employment opportunities for the youth and fostering development.
During the celebrations, a message from President Yoweri Museveni was delivered by the First Deputy Prime Minister, Rebecca Kadaga. The President congratulated Kyabazinga Gabula IV on reaching the milestone of his 9th coronation anniversary, praising it as a significant event, especially in light of the recent news of HRH Jovia Mutesi, the Inhebantu of Busoga.
President Museveni emphasized the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government’s commitment to restoring kingdoms, a move aimed at recognizing the achievements of our ancestors. He underscored the importance of preserving local languages, which are the legacy of early Africans, and commended cultural leaders for their pivotal role in mobilizing communities for development.
Deputy Prime Minister Kadaga, while acknowledging the importance of cultural preservation, commended the Gabula Royal Foundation for its work in providing skills education to the youth. She pledged her support to the foundation’s efforts to expand its services across the region.
Dr. Joseph Muvawala, the Kingdom Prime Minister, advocated for streamlining the kingdom’s cabinet to ensure that those in the forthcoming reshuffle are placed on the payroll, thereby enhancing their capacity to deliver effective services.
The 9th coronation anniversary of Kyabazinga Gabula IV was not merely an event but a testament to the resilience, unity, and cultural pride of the Basoga people. It reaffirmed the commitment of both the leadership and the citizenry to building a prosperous and harmonious Busoga for generations to come.