Reporter, Bamuturaki, Musinguzi informs the East African readers of yet another case against the Queen of England. Not a Murdoch, or a Pope, the Queen of England in one breath has been open and discreet with her activities depending on which part of history one refers to.
This photo does not reveal to the novice the suffering a country and its people either, but it is the photo of Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom, West Uganda, a country that is taking the Queen of England to Court, so it believes for a justified case of reparation. The Queen of England representing the colonial powers that the countries of Africa are still suffering from is guilty of invasion, atrocious human-rights abuses and grabbing of their land in the colonial era, however when it comes to the colonial era as a finite period, it seems to be a an ill-conceived belief that they can return to their old ways at anytime to solve their inability to solve their economic problems.
A paltry reparation of £1.5 billion ($2.4 billion) is being demanded in compensation in a notice that was issued March 31st 2011 by Ayena-Odongo Co Advocates. The British government has been given 45 days in which to reply or the case will be filed in the U.K. courts. This follows a Kenyan application granted by the London High Courts in July 2011 for atrocities meted out to the freedom fighters, the Mau Mau during the 1950s and 60s. As legal obstacles ensue from Justice Richard McCombe pertaining to the jurisdiction of legal responsibility, Uganda, and Kenya represent only the tip of an iceberg of what could take place to see justice be done.
The Uganda plantiffs declared:
“The invasion of the suit land (present day Kibaale District) and brute, barbaric and savage force used therein to introduce foreign administration and alienate the suit land was a violation of fundamental human rights and adversely affected the plaintiffs; the plaintiffs are entitled to the relief claimed thereunder.”
“The purported establishment of sovereignty over the suit land did not extinguish the customary rights of the intended plaintiffs over the suit land,” the lawyers add. “The defendant is wholly liable for the loss, injuries and damages suffered by the plaintiffs to be claimed in the suit.”
“The so-called Uganda Agreement, 1900… is null and void abinitio and of no legal consequence,”
The British Commissioner in Uganda, Martin Shearman replied:
“We write to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 31 March 2011. Despite the date that it bears, it was received at these offices only on 25 May. We have sent the letter to London, and we shall let you have a response in due course.”
President Museveni informed the Banyoro in 2009 that the Queen of England is willing to pay £700 million ($1.1 billion) to settle the case out of court in instalments over a 10-year period, but the petitioners have been unsuccessful at meeting President Museveni since.
Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom was once a wealthy resourceful nation and was rich agriculturally. It is the oldest kingdom in East Africa and was the strongest economically. It consists of three districts Kibaale, Masindi, and Hoim – 21,376 sq km of which one third is water. Under the British invasion which took place between 1893 and 1900. The land was plundered, pillaged, and devastated, while their forefathers were killed in their thousands.
The country has a strong unbroken royal lineage supported by a Principal Private Secretary, a Cabinet of 21 Ministers and Orukurato (Parliament). Pre-colonial rule, the King ensured the economic development of his country, while each clan had specific responsibilities: the Abaliisa were the shepherds, the Abahamba the hunters, and the Abasiita the artisans for example. The Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom supplied neighbouring regions with food and supplies.
In 1993 Uganda reconstituted the traditional kingdoms that were abolished by the British colonialists. However, the royal family now serve as titular heads, and have no real power. There are different “ethnic” groups that coexist, along with Protestants, Catholics, and Muslims. The Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom produces tobacco, sugarcane, tea, and cereals like rice, and maize. The tropical forests supports the biodiversity of the region and is rich in wildlife, and is known for its mahogany, ironwood and other hard wood timbers; as well as oil, gem stones: tourmaline, ruby, red and green garnet, titanium, tin and gold, and iron in the Lake Albert Rift Valley. Today, as they contemplate how to develop their natural gas resources, all sections of society are consulted before making a final decision.
Ayena-Odongo Co Advocates commented:
“The suit in London will be about the role of the British in the human rights abuses such as loss of life and properties, violation of the culture of the Banyoro and the resultant damages suffered.”
“The recent London High Court ruling that the Mau Mau can proceed with their case against the British government gives us a green light to file our case in the UK as well. Our case is graver because we lost a lot in terms of human and economic resources as a kingdom,” Batwale said.
Musinguzi, B. “Bunyoro Kingdom to Take the Queen of England to Court.” http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/Bunyoro+kingdom+to+take+the+Queen+of+England+to+court/-/2558/1214858/-/mvd96w/-/index.html
“Welcome to Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom.” http://www.uconnect.org/bunyoro/index.html