Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II has instructed the fast tracking of the redevelopment of the Lubiri (palace) at Mengo in the year 2018. The Kabaka gave the order in his Christmas and new year message.
“We still have challenges regarding the Mengo Palace as it doesn’t befit the Kingdom. In 2018, we will strongly emphasize its redevelopment.,” the Kabaka said. This is the first time the Kabaka has publicly said that he wants the Kingdom to embark on redeveloping this vast piece of land.
It must be said that the palace sitting on over 260 acres of land in the centre of Kampala is an eyesore to anybody who wants to see development. Apart from the Twekobe which has been refurbished, the rest of the palace is a bush.
Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga has always wanted to redevelop the palace as it makes no sense to have idle land in the middle of the city. However, some old fashioned hardliners have always opposed its redevelopment. Proposals have been given to improve an existing school, create conference and recreational facilities and establish a modern teaching hospital. The palace doesn’t need all the 260 acres. It simply needs about 50 acres.
The Kabaka’s tough order on the palace redevelopment is an endorsement to Katikkiro Mayiga’s vision of the palace. “This is a big public endorsement to the Prime Minister from the Kabaka. Kabaka Mutebi strongly believes in what his Katikkiro is trying to achieve. We as Baganda we must now rally behind the Katikkiro,” Moses Kakoozaa, an analyst says.
Analysts and Kingdom well wishers have always argued that Buganda must use its assets such as this land to generate income that can enable the Kabaka offer services such as health and education to his people. The hardliner traditionalists give archaic reasons as to why they oppose this referring to non-existent pre-modernity cultural norms. Yet cultures must change. The way Buganda was 500 years ago is not the way it is today.
The same people who opposed the reconstruction of Masengere are the same people opposing the Lubiri plans. Surprisingly, they are happy now that an incomplete structure besides Bulange is now a modern glittering building befitting the status of the Kingdom.
Our palace sources have said that from January 2018, Kabaka Mutebi will be working daily from Twekobe building.
“The Kabaka has decided to shift his office to Twekobe which further indicates his seriousness on the matter of redevelopment the palace. It will be hard for Mengo hardliners to oppose the redevelopment of the palace when the Kabaka is working there everyday,” the source said.
The need to redevelop the palace shows Kabaka’s stance on creating a self sustaining Kingdom. In the message, he instructed his companies to increase efforts to generate more income and attract investment. “Kabaka is genuinely concerned about the increase poverty in Buganda and he thinks that the Kingdom has the potential to play a key role by attracting investors so as to create jobs with his vast Kingdom,” a source from the palace said.
Kabaka Mutebi has also said that the Kasubi Royal Tombs must be completed next year. Katikkiro Mayiga and prince Jjunju Kiweewa toured them this week to assess the progress.