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Published: September 11th 2009
I'm sure this isn't even making a blip in the news in the U.S., but there have been some isolated riots here in Kampala in the last couple of days. The Kabaka (king) of Buganda was planning a visit to an area of his kingdom known as Kayunga. There is a minority group there called the Banyala who want to secede from the kingdom or, actually, claim they were never a part of it.
The government has gotten involved, siding against the Kabaka, which has ticked off the Baganda. Some also claim that the president has been channeling money to the Banyala to weaken the power of the Kabaka. Idi Amin basically shut down the kings (there are currently 4 - 5 kingdoms within Uganda), but President Museveni re-instated them shortly after taking control of Uganda in the mid-80s. They now frequently struggle over land rights and authority issues (Kampala is within the traditional land base of the Buganda kingdom). It seems that, at times, he has second thoughts about his decision to reinstate the kings.
Anyway, downtown is a mess. The police are using live ammo and tear gas, and there have been 8 deaths that I am aware of. We are nowhere near it, so the only part that is affecting us right now is the acrid smoke of burning tires. Many roads are closed - it took Devin over 2 hours to get home from work last night, which usually takes her about 30 minutes. Her office decided to close today, as have MANY other offices. We have no plans to go shopping downtown in the next few days.
If you want some background on the issues, there is an article from about a week ago at : http://www.monitor.co.ug/artman/publish/regional-special/Banyala_plan_to_demonstrate_against_Kabaka_s_visit_90642.shtml
You can do a websearch for "kampala, riots" to get more recent updates.
We are fine, and plan to stay that way. Hopefully this will settle out soon.
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