MBARARA: As Kingdom ship continue to be cherished in other parts of the country, the future of Ankole Kingdom hangs in balance with the recent vandalizing and encroachment of the Kingdoms palace at Kamukuzi hill, Mbarara town.
Controversy is now looming on who could be behind the vandalising of Ankole Kingdom palace.
The Kingdom officials have hence petitioned to the Inspector General of Government Gen Kale Kayihura seeking protection of this palace.
Visiting the place draws questions on whether really this place used to be the Ankole Kingdom Palace, the gate in encircled by bushes; banana, maize, cassava plantations gardens cover most of this place but worse of all the used to be palace buildings may collapse anytime as their shoulders have been vandalized by people collecting marrum.
As the Kingdom officials seek police protection, Mbarara district Local Government Mbarara Municipality are implicated for being part of those vandalizing and encroaching on the Kingdom property.
One of the Mbarara town’s Municipality Vehicles UG 2935R was sighted ferrying murram at the Kingdom palace sight but when contacted the town clerk Mbarara Municipality Mr Paul Omoko said they allocated this site for murrum collection by the district Chief Administrative Officer.
When contacted the Mbarara District Chief Administrative Officer, Mr David Lubuuka admitted authorizing Mbarara Municipality to collect murrum from this place but cited controversies over custodianship over this land.
“Under the law, we are supposed to be custodians of this land but according to our documents, this land was leased to the Ministry of Tourism in 2001 but they also neglected it. It is this dual ownership that has left the land free giving people chance to encroach but we stopped them,” said Mr. David Lubuuka the Chief Administrative Officer Mbarara District.
Adding Mbarara district permitted Mbarara Municipal Council to get marrum from the premises claiming it was for public interest since people were complaining about the roods and needed immediate action.
“Mbarara Municipal Council asked to get marrum to repair Ntare road and Mbarara Executive Committee sat and agreed to grant them since it was for the peoples own good and we were no longer sure of the custodian. Since it’s our role under the law, we granted only the Municipal council and not any other person,” said Mr. Lubuuka.
Mr Didas Tabaro the district secretary for Social Services denies the executive authorizing vandalising this property which he alleges is now under trust of Mbarara District Local Government.
“The yet to be known people have been swindling money by selling the marrum that has almost left the used to be palace walls collapsing but the Chief Administrative Officer of this district takes responsibility as the custodian of the district property entrusted to take care of this place and could be a party to those selling this marrum,” said Tabaro.
According to the Mbarara District Commercial Officer, the district applied through the CAO to be granted authority to take care of the premises until all is settled but they have no reply until today.
“We managed to chase away the people from vandalizing though we don’t have authority. We applied to Ministry of Tourism to whom the land was leased to grant us authority but have not yet replied us,” said Mr. Amon Mutaburura.
The custodianship of this land remains in balance as no one has come to develop it whenever contention raises about it is referred to state house and later dies out without being answered. He alleges he has seen some documents showing the land was leased to Ministry to Tourism for 99 years.
The Rwizi Region Police Spokesperson Ms Polly Namaye said they have received petition from Kingdom Officials about vandalizing of their property and are now investigating who could be behind this.
“It’s true we received the petition from Kingdom Officials about vandalizing of the Kingdom palace and we have since instituted investigations into this, deployed our security at the palace to ascertain who could be behind this, as Police we are supposed to protect people and their properties so anyone who will be found to have participated in vandalizing of this property will be arrested and charged accordingly,” said Ms Namaye.