Bunyoro honours Omukama Kabaleega’s legacy with inaugural Independence run

On October 7, the Bunyoro-Kitara kingdom, in collaboration with the Kabaleega Foundation, launched the inaugural Kabaleega Independence Run at Hoima Booma grounds in Hoima city.

The run, part of the “Celebrating a Hero’s Legacy, Educating the Leaders of Tomorrow” initiative, saw thousands from all walks of life participate, celebrating the remarkable legacy of Omukama Daudi Chwa II Kabaleega.

Andrew Byakutaga, the kingdom’s Omuhikirwa (Prime Minister), flagged off the event, emphasising the significance of October 7 as a day to reflect on Kabaleega’s legacy.

Kabaleega’s impact on Bunyoro and Uganda as a whole is immeasurable. Crowned as the King of Bunyoro at the age of 16 in 1869, he unified the divided kingdom, created wealth, defended its boundaries, and led a nine-year fierce but ultimately unsuccessful resistance to British colonisation from 1894 to 1899. His heroic efforts made him a national and continental hero.

Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom on April 6, celebrated 100 years since Kabaleega passed on.

The main function was held at Buyanja Secondary School, Kibaale Town Council, Kibaale district, a place where he was enthroned and also the burial place of his father- Omukama Kamurasi Mirundi Kyebambe IV, who reigned from 1822-1869.

The day was celebrated with a launch of a book written by Isaac Kalembe who is also the Omutalindwa (Speaker) of Rukurato (Parliament) of the kingdom about Kabaleega’s successes and challenges during his 28-year reign over Bunyoro.

In the book titled: “Omukama Chwa II Kabaleega: A life and Legacy, 1853-1923,” the author recounts memories of the legendary Kabaleega told to them as young boys by elders seated around the fireplace in rural Hoima.

In 2009, Kabaleega was posthumously honoured as a national hero by President Yoweri Museveni for his exploits and accorded a three-gun salute.

Going forward, the proceeds from the run will contribute to the establishment of the Kabaleega Education Fund, aimed at supporting underprivileged children in the kingdom’s schools.

Prince Dr. James Isagara Kisoro, the Executive Director of the Kabaleega Foundation, expressed the foundation’s initial expectations of raising sh50m to kick-start this endeavour.

In the spirit of Kabaleega’s legacy, participants were encouraged to prioritise physical exercise for better health and think about ways to unite and uplift the kingdom.

Brian Kaboyo, the Hoima City Mayor and Vice President of Kitara Football Club, spoke about the importance of sports and its role in engaging the youth and promoting Bunyoro culture.

Cultural preservation and development were also highlighted by Prince Ramathan Kimera, a founder of the Kabaleega Foundation.

“The Bunyoro region is rich in culture and traditions, and fostering these aspects is crucial for its future,” he added.

The celebration of Kabaleega’s legacy extends beyond the run. Several other activities, including tree planting, a Kabaleega Memorial Lecture, conferences for young children to learn about Bunyoro culture, and the renovation of the Kabaleega trail, are planned as part of the year-long programme.

The Kabaleega Foundation aims to empower students’ associations in various institutions to spread Bunyoro culture and values to the younger generation.

To preserve history and attract tourists, efforts are underway to renovate significant sites along the Kabaleega trail, including Buyanja Kikangahara Secondary School, Kyamunaara, Kabaleega’s well and caves in Katasiha, Mpumude (Mpumwire), and Mparo Royal Tombs (Gasani).

A new Kabaleega Square, complete with a monument, Kabaleega Foundation offices, a cafe, kingdom offices, and a conference hall, is planned near the palace in Hoima City.

Kabaleega’s legacy lives on, and his impact continues to inspire the youth. The Kingdom and the Kabaleega Foundation are working diligently to ensure that his contributions and the cultural heritage of Bunyoro remain cherished and celebrated for generations to come.

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