Reactions as rival Kyabazinga shuns Royal Wedding

The Chief of Bulamogi Chiefdom, Prince Edward Columbus Wambuzi, was conspicuously missing at the Royal Wedding of Kyabazinga William Gabula Nadiope IV and Inhebantu Jovia Mutesi, triggering reactions from subjects. 

The couple tied the knot on Saturday at Christ’s Cathedral, Bugembe in Jinja City, in the service presided over by the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev Dr Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu, after which they hosted their guests at  Igenge Palace, also in Bugembe.

Busoga King (Kyabazinga) William Wilberforce Kadhumbula Nadiope Gabula IV and Queen Jovia Mutesi attend a reception on the night of their wedding at the Igenge Palace in Jinja City on November 18, 2023.

Busoga Kingdom is constituted of eleven hereditary chiefdoms that include; Bugabula, where the current Kyabazinga comes from, Bugweri, Bukholi, Bukono, Bulamogi, Bunhole, Bunya, Busiki, Butembe, Kigulu and Luuka.

Earlier, Prince Wambuzi told this publication that he had by Friday night not received any invitation and would therefore not commit himself to the function.

During an interview on the eve of the wedding day, Prince Wambuzi said he was “completely out of the wedding arrangement.”

Busoga King (Kyabazinga) William Wilberforce Kadhumbula Nadiope Gabula IV and Queen Jovia Mutesi arrive to attend a reception on the night of their wedding 

He added that he will instead stick to his normal routine of staying at his private Palace in Nakabango or going to the official Palace in Bulamogi Chiefdom in Kaliro District.

But Mr Andrew Ntange, the Busoga Kingdom Spokesperson, said Prince Wambuzi was one of the 2,500 guests who had been invited to the Royal Wedding, and assured the general public that the Kyabazinga and Prince Wambuzi enjoy “a cordial relationship”.

While the chairperson of Busoga Kingdom Chiefs Royal Council, Prince Samuel Nkuutu Zirabamuzale, says Prince Wambuzi would be represented by his elder siblings, the Monitor could not trace any at the function.

Parliament Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa and wife at Igenge Palace on the night of Busoga’s Royal Wedding after King (Kyabazinga) William Wilberforce Kadhumbula Nadiopwed Jovia Mutesi n Jinja City on November 18, 2023

According to Mr Zirabamuzale, seven out of the eleven hereditary chiefs attended the Royal Wedding and others sent representatives.

Mr Frank Nabwiso, the former Member of Parliament for Kagoma County, says: “It was a deliberate move of not inviting Prince Wambuzi because he is Kyabazinga’s rival.”

Mr Moses Bigirwa, the National Unity Platform (NUP) Secretary for Mobilisation in the Eastern region, says Prince Wambuzi did not attend because he is still “in a fighting mood”.

Parents of Busoga Queen Jovia Mutesi attend their daughter’s wedding reception at Igenge Palace 

The embattled chief of Butembe Chiefdom, Mr Yassin Ntembe, however, says it is not a crime for the Kyabazinga not to invite Prince Wambuzi to his wedding “because it is a personal project”.

“The groom and his organising committee determine who to invite and who not to; so, it is not a crime if someone didn’t receive an invitation. It is not good to blackmail people.  Prince Wambuzi has never received any invitation. You cannot invite your co-wife if you’re not in a good relationship with her. Prince Wambuzi has never accepted defeat,” he said.

The Kaliro District Chairperson, Mr Elijah Kagoda, however, says Prince Wambuzi may have failed to attend the wedding for personal reasons.

“Maybe he was sick, but as a district, we organised a wedding venue where people enjoyed the ceremony,” he added.

Some of the guests at the wedding reception

Mr Sliver Wabula, the chairperson of Busakira sub-county, says Prince Wambuzi’s decision to shun the Royal Wedding is a sign of “disunity amongst Basoga”, and urged the Kyabazinga and Prince Wambuzi to sort out their disagreements.

Prince Wambuzi and Prince Gabula fell out in 2008 when, shortly after the death of his (Wambuzi’s) father Kyabazinga Henry Wako Muloki, a section of Busoga loyalists asked him to ascend to the throne, a move which was rebuffed by Prince Nadiope’s camp.

First son Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba and wife Charlotte Muhoozi attend the reception at Igenge Palace on the night of Busoga’s Royal Wedding after King (Kyabazinga) William Wilberforce Kadhumbula Nadiopwed Jovia Mutesi n Jinja City on November 18, 2023.

Those opposed to Prince Wambuzi’s Kyabazingaship contended that Prince Gabula was the rightful monarch “because the late Muloki was appointed by Kyabazinga (Gabula’s father) to keep the seat for his son who was still too young then.

The simmering tensions over the Kyabazingaship dragged on until 2014 when the then Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, asked President Museveni to intervene.

This culminated in the 11 hereditary royal chiefs selecting a substantive Kyabazinga to end the six-year conflict by electing Prince Gabula in 2014.

Prince Wambuzi loyalists, however, continue resisting Prince Gabula’s Kyabazingaship to date.

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