A new Bamasaaba king has been crowned at a controversial, yet historic event attended by leaders from the Bamasaaba of Kenya and Uganda
Omukuuka III We Bamasaaba Amran John Wagabyalile is expected to be formally acknowledged as monarch by the Gazette notice to be done by the Ugandan Government.
The ceremony was the first coronation to be held away from the traditional Mutoto grounds. According to Omari Njofu, who is the cultural chair of the Sikuuka sie Bamassaba, Emutoto is significant because it hosts a graveyard of Bakuuka be Bamasaaba and secondly, it hosts the biennial Embalu. The two events are very big and involve blood. “To that effect, it was necessary that they change the venue so as to make the tenure of the new Omukuuka clean,” he told West Media in Mbale Uganda.
Omukuuka Wagabyalile’s coronation ends a long and bitter tussle to find a successor for the late Bob Mushikor, who succumbed to COVID-19 on January 4, 2021.
The first Omukuuka was Wilson Weasa Wamimbi whose reign ended in 2015 to be succeeded by the late Bob Mushkori Kibiri.
After Mushikor’s death, Inzu Ya Masaba split into two warring factions.
One of the factions is allied to Jude Mike Mudoma, who allegedly was elected by a section of clan leaders on October 10th, 2021 while another was allied to Wagabyalire, who was elected by another section of clan leaders on December 11, 2021 and has now been given the full mandate.
The succession battle dragged on with each faction claiming legitimacy. It remains to be seen whether Omukuuka Wagabyalile will be gazetted, because despite the election of Jude Mike Mudoma, he has not been Gazetted by the Gender, Labor, and Social Development Ministry up to now.
Meanwhile, by the time of his death, Mushikor had endorsed Wagabyalile as his successor following an election.
Omukuuka Wagabyalile hails from Bayaya of the Mwambu Subtribe while Mike Jude Mudoma hails from Buyobo Clan of Mwambu Subtribe in Sironko District
It was the turn of the Mwambu Subtribe to take the mantle succeeding the Mubuya Subtribe. Interestingly, the warring factions are from the same area of Sirongo District.
Mr. Jude Mike Mudoma, who formerly worked with the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), and was once a mayor of Kampala City is a prominent businessman based in Kampala.
Mushikori, who was elected as the second Umukukha in 2005 to replace Wilson Wamimbi. Wagabyalire, who was once an instructor at Elgon Technical College, has succeeded the late Bob Mushikor, who succumbed to COVID-19 on January 4, 2021.
Reports indicated that the Mbale City Resident Commissioner, Rex Achilla had cleared the cultural institution to hold the coronation ceremony today.
Contacted for comment Omukuuka Jude Mike Mudoma described today’s event as sham. He said that the ministry in charge of Culture in the republic of Uganda has not endorsed and Gazetted any elder from Bugisu to give way for the Coronation. “It is until the gazettement that we can do any coronation,” he said.
“It is a sham because the government does not recognize the person who purported to be coroneted. Secondly, the Enda Ya Mwambu has nine clans. 7 out 9 endorsed me. So, I am the legitimate leader of Bugisu”, he told West Media.
He said that those pushing and empowering the current Omukuuka are people who are “bent to destroy the Bumasaaba. The right coronation should be attended by the government officials. Not done at night attended by only 5 people whose interest is not Bumasaaba but to the destruction of it”, he concluded.