Tensions as army, police block Katikkiro in Masaka

The police and the military deployed heavily around Hotel Brovad in Masaka in an attempt to block Buganda Kingdom Katikkiro (Prime Minister) Charles Peter Mayiga from travelling to Kooki.

Mayiga who spent the night at Hotel Brovad remained holed in his hotel room for several hours as members of entourage notably ministers Noah Kiyimba (Information) and Henry Ssekabembe (Sports and Recreation) engaged security chiefs in Masaka.

A policeman engages Mayiga’s security team at Hotel Brovad

The security chiefs led by the Greater Masaka Regional Police Commander (RPC) Latif Zaake and Dan Atwiine, the Intelligence Officer at the Masaka based UPDF armoured brigade told the Buganda Kingdom team that they could not continue with their journey to Kooki since the cultural leadership there was not comfortable with Mayiga’s visit.

Kooki is one of the 18 Counties in Buganda Kingdom led by a hereditary chief, the Kamuswaga.

The reigning Kamuswaga, Apollo Ssansa Kabumbuli II has since 2013 been pushing for cessation from Buganda, and has since demanded that Buganda Kingdom officials must seek his permission before travelling to Kooki.

One of the police APCs that were deployed to block the Katikkiro in Masaka

Mayiga’s itinerary included a visit to St Bernard’s SS Mannya where 11 students died in an inferno about a fortnight ago, and later tour farmers as part of the kingdom’s anti-poverty drive.

As the haggling continued at Hotel Brovad, riots broke out in parts of Kooki in protest against attempts to block the Katikkiro from travelling to the contested county.

Fearing that the riots could spill over to other parts of the kingdom and result into a 2009-like situation, Mayiga was cleared to continue with his journey at about 1pm.

Nine years ago in 2009, violent protests broke out across Buganda when the police blocked Mayiga’s predecessor, Eng John Baptist Walusimbi from travelling to Bugerere (Kayunga district) ahead of the Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II who was scheduled to preside over the kingdom’s Youth day celebrations.