Bunyoro Kingdom Revives Drive to Renovate Palaces

6989 Views Hoima, Uganda

In short
One of the Palaces in Bujwahya in Hoima Municipality was built by Omukama Cwa II Kabalega in 1872. Since then it has served as the main seat of power for Bunyoro-Kitara. It is an important cultural building among the Banyoro, a popular tourist attraction that houses a mini-museum of artifacts, including the royal regalia dating back to 500 years.

The Omukama of Bunyoro Solomon Gafabusa Iguru's palaces are to get a facelift in commemoration of his 21st coronation anniversary, a celebration locally known as Empango.

The revival of the rehabilitation programme for the palaces followed growing concern on the state of the Palaces in Hoima and Masindi districts. Initial plans to give the palaces a facelift have remained on paper over the years.

One of the Palaces in Bujwahya in Hoima Municipality was built by Omukama Cwa II Kabalega in 1872. Since then it has served as the main seat of power for Bunyoro-Kitara. It is an important cultural building among the Banyoro, a popular tourist attraction that houses a mini-museum of artifacts, including the royal regalia dating back to 500 years.

But subjects say the current state of the palace, characterized by dilapidated structures and poor facilities, does not honor the legacy of Kingdom ancestors like Kabalega who built Bunyoro-Kitara into a mighty kingdom in Africa.

Kingdom Prime Minister Norman Lukumu says it is imperative to have the two palaces shine as the kingdom marks 21 years of Iguru's enthronement. He adds that the Empango budget for this year has been revised to 800million Shillings up from 400 million Shillings to cater for the rehabilitation needs. A vigorous fundraising campaign has been launched to get the money.

Lukumu says he will traverse all the districts that form Bunyoro ahead of the June 11th Empango to secure funding from well-wishers.

In 2013 the President donated Shillings 200millon to the kingdom to support renovation of the Hoima palace. However, only a foundation for the perimeter wall was dug and a partially built gate.

Empango is a celebration to mark the day; the reigning king ascended the throne, an important function in Bunyoro and Tooro Kingdoms. It's during the ceremony that the king gives the state of the Kingdom address and performs a series of cultural rituals.

The cultural rituals climax with a traditional dance, known as "Amakondere". In this type of dance, drums and animal horns are the instruments at play as specially trained youth "Abakondere" and elders dance in a matching style in celebration.

Bunyoro reigning king Omukama Solomon Gafabusa Iguru ascended the throne on June 11, 1994, following the restoration of cultural institutions by the NRM government. Cultural institutions had been abolished by the Obote 1 government in 1967.