The government has been reminded to expedite the operationalisation of the long awaited public university in Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom.
The call was made during 28th Empango -coronation celebrations of Omukama Solomon Gafabusa Iguru at Rukurato buildings in Hoima City on Saturday.
The Omukama has previously been quoted severally advocating for the establishment of a public university, arguing that this would help his subjects to save money instead of spending it travelling long distances to other universities.
Hoima City Woman Member of Parliament, Asinansi Nyakato said they are getting tired of reminding the government to establish a public university since Bunyoro is the only region in the country without-a public university.
While meeting a delegation of leaders from Bunyoro in August last year, President Yoweri Museveni agreed to operationalise a public university in the region starting this year.
This was after the leaders presented the need for the operationalisation of a public university of earth and applied sciences in Bunyoro.
The delegation which was led by the Prime Minister who also doubles as the Kakumiro district Woman Member of Parliament, Robinah Nabanja, said the residents in the region have been agitating for the establishment of a public university which the President promised them in 2001.
Museveni also approved a proposal to have the headquarters of the university in Hoima, with constituent colleges in greater Masindi, greater Kibaale and greater Hoima.
Nyakato wondered why it was not included in this year’s budget, despite a presidential directive.
She blames the Bunyoro affairs ministry for lack of follow up on the matter.
The City Woman Legislator expressed concern over increased environmental degradation in the kingdom, citing the give away of Bugoma Forest by the Kingdom, where 60 percent of the trees have been destroyed in favour of sugar cane plantations.
“At the time we are expected to plant more trees to protect our environment from dangerous carbon emissions caused by oil activities, some kingdom officials have decided to sell off our forest”.she said.
Unlike previous Empango fetes, this year was celebrated without rituals and the Omukama who was also conspicuously absent because he is ill.
The kingdom on the eve to celebrate the day Iguru was enthroned held thanksgiving prayers to seek God’s guidance to heal him at St. Peter’s Cathedral-Duhaga in Hoima City.
The Omuhikirwa (Premier) Andrew Kirungi Byakutaga questioned the manner in which the land ministry has delayed to solve the land issue in Buyaga and Bugangaizi counties where land up to now is in the docket of absentee landlords yet the government gave back the two counties to the kingdom.
Byakutaga tasked the government to look into the protection of fishermen on Lake Albert.
He was concerned about the way they were being attacked, robbed of their fishing gear and sometimes killed by pirates from the neighbouring DR Congo.
The Omukama speech was delivered for him by the Okwiri (Chief Prince), Fred Rucunya.
The Omukama tasked the government to return kingdom properties it confiscated so that they could put them to good use.
Bunyoro’s properties were on September 8, 1967, confiscated by the government of Uganda and still holds many of them to date without compensation.
Bunyoro kingdom has severally demanded the return of palace grounds, forest reserves, administrative headquarters, schools, national parks and fish landing sites on top of compensation for loss of value of the aforesaid assets the central government have held for decades.
Iguru, who appreciated the good relationship between the kingdom and the subjects, implored them to grow more nutritious foods and profitable cash crops like coffee to fight famine and poverty in homes.
The Omugo Margret Karunga Adyeeri tasked the kingdom subjects to pray for the Omukama to have good health and have him present in the next celebrations.
The Omugo advised the kingdom subjects to lead healthy lives and educate their children for a better Bunyoro.
President Museveni in a speech delivered for him by the State Minister of Internal Affairs Gen. David Mohoozi, pleaded to take the report of the points expressed by the leaders and advised the Banyoro to plan smartly and wisely in order to reap big from government projects.
Museveni, who supported the function with sh50m, called for a need to promote the language of Bunyoro people by continuing to encourage authorship of books in Runyoro.
He said this should be extended to the numerous customs regarding marriage, etiquette and the rich social philosophy expressed in the proverbs of the languages.