JAMES Kabengwa, a Journalist who authored a contentious article in the Monday April 20th 2020 Daily Monitor Newspaper offending His Majesty the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II and insisted his story was based on facts, has finally apologised!
In this highly contested article entitled ‘How US fallout with Mengo froze Kasubi Tombs funds’, on page 2 column 2, Kabengwa alleged that the US Embassy gave the Buganda Kingdom USD 250,000 for the Kasubi Royal Tombs reconstruction.
It further alleged that the Kingdom failed to account for the money and the US Embassy and the Kingdom are at loggerheads.
American Government has since refuted Daily Monitor Newspaper article calling it a false story, saying Buganda Kingdom is in the U.S Government good books.
Mr. Phil Dimon, Spokesman US Embassy in Kampala said in a statement that, “The United States government supports the preservation of cultural heritage around the world, and we look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with the Buganda Kingdom.”
Phil Dimon said the U.S. Embassy in Kampala provided financial assistance to the Buganda Kingdom several years ago for a cultural preservation project at the Kasubi tombs.
Unfortunately, kingdom officials were unable to use the money for the project by the specified project end date.
“In accordance with standard procedures, we asked for the money to be returned, and kingdom officials returned the money.” Mr. Phil said, clearing the Kingdom’s name.
Punching more holes in the Daily Monitor story against Buganda Kingdom, the US Embassy in Kampala using their verified Twitter handle denied ever giving the Kingdom USD 250,000 (Shs950 million) collaborating with the Kingdom that they only awarded (only) USD 5,000 (Shs14.9m at the time) which the Kingdom returned to the American Embassy after the implementation period had elapsed.
The money was meant for an information board at the Kasubi Royal Tombs.
U.S Embassy says, “On April 20, Daily Monitor published a story incorrectly asserting that the US Embassy provided USD 250,000 to the Buganda Kingdom for a cultural preservation project at the Kasubi Royal Tombs. To correct the record, the amount we contributed was USD 5,000 (not $250,000 as the story said).”
“Kingdom officials were unable to use money by the project end date and returned it.” Reads the Statement.
The US Government has categorically stated that, “America and Buganda Kingdom maintain relations based on cultural exchange and in keeping with our status as a foreign diplomatic mission. We look forward to working with the Buganda Kingdom and other Kingdoms in Uganda on cultural projects in the future.”
Kabaka directed Kingdom Attorney General Owek. Christopher Bwanika to write to The Managing Monitor Publications Ltd, demanding UGX 5B and an apology over a publishing what was referred to as a blatant false story, twisted and wholly malicious with an intention to portray the Kingdom of Buganda in negative light and present it’s leadership as dishonest.
“Failure to abide with in 5 days of receiving this notice, we shall proceed to sue the Monitor Publications Limited and the Editor to claim heavier damages and costs for Liberal under the laws of Uganda. Stand duly warned.” Reads Buganda Kingdom notice which was duly received by Daily Monitor Ltd.
Owek. Bwanika said, “Buganda Kingdom has at all times, prior to the publication of that article, been enjoying a cordial relationship with the US Embassy, the US Government and the Citizenry. The allegation is intended to deter future engagements with the Kingdom’s strategic partners.”
“We therefore demand that Monitor Publications Limited and the Editor admit liability to pay damages and forthwith, withdraw the false story and publish a prominent apology on front page to the Kabaka of Buganda, the Katikkiro of Buganda, Cabinet and officials of Buganda Kingdom and the People of Buganda at large.” Says Bwanika, a prominent advocate in Kampala.
Owek. Noah Kiyimba, minister of Information, Protocol and Kingdom Spokesman told News Editor Media that, the grant by the U.S Embassy in Kampala was supposed to be utilized within a specific timeframe.
“This wasn’t possible mainly due to the ongoing works at the tombs. In order to fulfil the terms of the grant, the Kingdom of Buganda refunded the money on January 12th, 2017 and was issued with an official receipt.” Says Owek. Noah Kiyimba.
On learning about Kabaka’s intention to sue, James Kabengwa wrote, “Go ahead, file the suit, thats when you will understand the meaning of the word Quack. Figures are correctable. But the fact is I even concretized more by embassy and was reinforced by Mengo.”
I APOLOGISE – KABENGWA
In a statement of apology posted on his facebook page today Morning, James Kabengwa has said, “Apologies for offending His Majesty the Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi, Buganda Kingdom, Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga over the US, Buganda Kasubi Tombs story.”
“My friends Owek. Waggwa Nsibirwa, Denis Jjuuko, Denis Bugaya and every one, my apologies. My loyalty to Kabaka and Katikkiro is undoubtable. I had no intention to annoy them. There was no ill intention.” Writes Kabengwa.
His apology was copied to Buganda Kingdom Official, UGANDANS AT HEART(UAH) COMMUNITY, Daily Monitor, cbs fm emmanduso 89.2, BBS Terefayina and U.S. Embassy.
See what Nelson Nicholas Kajoba commented on reading Kabengwa’s apology: “That’s great my brother we are all human and we bound in one way or the other to make mistakes.”
It is now not known whether Buganda Kingdom will consider Kabengwa’s apology.