President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has directed that outstanding monetary arrears to Buganda kingdom be paid in the next three financial years.
Museveni made the directive this week during a meeting at Banda Palace with Kingdom officials, led by the Kabaka.
Some of financial compensation accrues from properties like Mutesa House in London which was taken over by the Idi Amin government and later sold. Another outstanding property is Plot 52 on Kampala Road.
Government will in total pay about Shs70bn to Buganda Kingdom before 2021.
“The President directed that Shs47b be scheduled for payment as compensation for Muteesa House in the United Kingdom,” the kingdom administration at Mengo said in a statement.
The money would be paid in two equal instalments in the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 financial years.
The statement also said the government would pay the kingdom Shs14.1bn for King Fahd Plaza on Kampala Road.
The Kabaka’s media handler, Dick Kasolo, also said Museveni ordered the Ministry of Finance to release Shs3bn immediately to Mengo as part of the Shs6bn arrears for the occupation of Kigo properties which government uses for the prison and shooting range.
The balance of Shs3bn will be paid at an unspecified time.
The money accrues from rent arrears of the kingdom properties that have been occupied or used by government since 1967 when President Obote seized them after abolishing cultural institutions in the country.
The President directed the Ministry of Lands to transfer all vetted titles of the kingdom land back into the name of the monarchy.
Appearing on NBS TV “Frontline” programme on Thursday night, government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo, said government is used to these false accusations.
“It is on record since 2013/2015, there has been commitment to; verify land titles unfortunately this has taken long and commitment to start on payment.”
Opondo said some people in Buganda kingdom had become impatient and the Kabaka made a call to the president to discuss these commitments and “we believe the discussion was fruitful”.
Forum for Democratic Change [FDC] vice president for Eastern Uganda, Hon. Salaamu Musumba, said the president meeting the Kabaka at his palace was a good gesture.
“Let it be standardised. What is good for Buganda is good for other kingdoms because we were all robbed. I see this as a political tool.”
EALA legislator Hon. Mukasa Mbidde said he has nothing to say about the host (Kabaka) “but the bad visitor (Museveni), you cannot be a visitor and after the visit, you are the first to explain the intention of your visit and the discussion”.
Lawyer David Mpanga said this not the first time the president has been at the palace in Banda, he was there around the time for the royal wedding.
“The kingdom is in the central part of the country and issues in this area concern both the president and Kabaka.”
Housing minister Hon. Chris Baryomunsi said in 1993, the NRM government decided to restore cultural institutions and government agreed to return what belonged to Buganda and other cultural institutions.
Democratic Party President Hon. Norbert Mao said the body language was excellent they must have exchange pleasantries.
“Buganda is an important building block in the entity of Uganda. NRM has continuously blackmailed Buganda.”
He added: “We must accept that things in politics are negotiated, I believe a lot of negotiations will have to continue behind the scenes.”