BIG STORY: 29 YEARS OF MAYIGA @ MENGO & HOW HIS KHAKI SHORTS ALMOST FOILED HIS FIRST MEETING WITH KABAKA

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BUGANDA KINGDOM PREMIER: Charles Peter Mayiga

NEWS EDITOR

IN May 2020, Owek. Charles Peter Mayiga made seven years serving as the Kingdom of Buganda Premier (Katikkiro) achieving a lot for the Kingdom during his tenure.

The first day he met His Majesty Kabaka Ronald Mutebi II at his Bamunaanika Palace, is one no memory can erase. Then a youngman fresh from Makerere University, he arrived at the Palace putting on Khaki shorts.

This angered Owek. John Katende and ordered him go back to Kampala and dress up decently before returning for the meeting! 

For starters, Owek. Mayiga, a lawyer by profession joined the Kingdom’s service in 1991, 29 years ago, after his graduation. Since then, he has dedicated all his youthful years serving his King.

At a certain time, fellow lawyers admonished Mayiga for serving at Mengo where there was no salary at the expense of pursuing his career as a young brilliant lawyer. 

As a law partner in the company of Mayiga & Buwule Company Advocates, he was expected to be in courts making money and becoming richer, but he was instead at Mengo serving Kabaka without a salary. He igored them!

In our series, we will take you through his rise from from a mere Principal Assistant Secretary to the Secretariat of Council of elders (SSC) to becoming the Prime minister of the mighty Buganda Kingdom in Uganda.

We will explain his achievements, challenges, we will unmask his enemies, powerful men and women who have stood with him and also predict his next work station. 

UNTOLD STORY: HOW KABAKA, MAYIGA MET
In 1991, Mayiga became the Principle Secretary to the Secretariat of the Council of Elders, responsible for organizing the cultural restoration of Kabaka in 1993.

The Secretariat had just been set up at Roger Ddungu’s Radiant House. This title changed to Secretary to the Lukiiko (Parliament of Buganda), following the restoration of the Monarchy.  

In that capacity, Mayiga is credited to have laid the administrative foundation on which Buganda kingdom is ran today.

Taking you back, the first time he met with the Kabaka was at his Palace in Bamunanika to organize a crucial meeting with SSC members. 

Owek. John Katende, one of the prominent Buganda Kingdom officials and a Kabaka’s right hand man, arranged the Bamunaanika  meeting. 

It was a Saturday and Mayiga arrived at Bamunanika in khaki shorts, something for which Owek. Katende reprimanded him and asked him to return to Kampala to dress more appropriately. 

“You are coming to meet a King not a mere CEO of a government parastatal on a Saturday morning. Go back, dress decently and then return quickly,” Katende rebuked Mayiga. 

Then a small youngman, Mayiga complied, got onto a bus back to Kampala and returned with other SSC members in a bus. 

Because he was nervous throughout the meeting, Mayiga never managed to make good impression on Kabaka Mutebi. However, he gradually grew closer as he was often instructed by the King to draft correspondences to President Museveni and other important people. 

On realizing the difficulties under which the young man worked, Kabaka Mutebi gradually took a liking to Mayiga. 

The difficulties included starting the secretariat from scratch, having nobody to learn from and having to work under supervision of a perfectionist and fast thinker like Owek. John Katende. 

The Kabaka would often call Mayiga directly, asking him to prepare his speeches among other errands. 

Between 1991 and 1994, Mayiga had drafted over 200 speeches for the Kabaka especially whenever Mutebi was to address high level delegations. 

He used to write then Katikkiro Owek. Joseph Ssemwogerere Mulwanyamuli’s speeches as well. 

Kabaka Mutebi wouldn’t take a major decision without consulting or notifying Mayiga first. 

DEFENDING BUGANDA KINGDOM
When the Kingdom was restored in 1993, Mayiga was appointed Buganda’s Minister of Information & Official Spokesman for the Kingdom. He served in that capacity until he was appointed Katikkiro of Buganda in May 2013.

He became the King’s defacto spokesperson. He would defend the Kabaka on both radio and in newspapers. From 1995 to 2002, Mayiga had published over 2,000 newspaper articles in both local and foreign media, defending the kingdom. He also had authored over 3,000 anonymous articles under pseudo names.

He was at the forefront of defending and communicating Buganda’s interests and aspirations, coupled with his popular ‘Agafa e Mengo’ program on Central Broadcasting Services (CBS FM) radio every Friday night which was a one man-show piece. His show attracted thousands of Kabaka’s subjects.

HOW MAYIGA WAS SET UP BY ENEMIES AT MENGO 
He was on the committee that organized Kabaka’s mega wedding of the century in 1999. 

By that year, his closeness to the Kabaka had created enemies for him within Mengo. 

They connived with the head of royal guards (abamboowa) to humiliate Mayiga ahead of the Millennium (the year 2000) celebrations the Kabaka had tasked him to organize at Lubiri in Mengo. 

As Mayiga arrived at the Palace to inspect the preparations at the venue, the head of the royal guards confronted him saying he had refused to buy refreshments for his men.

In the ensuing exchange, Mayiga was terribly insulted and the event was widely publicized in the media for over a month. Mayiga was portrayed as somebody who disrespected the Kabaka by clashing with his chief body guard. 

However, the whole thing had been set up. The Kabaka investigated the incident independently and concluded that Mayiga’s rivals within his cabinet had sponsored the fracas and were exaggerating it to create a wedge between him and his loyal servant.

To everybody’s surprise, in his speech at the event, Mutebi invited Mayiga to stand next to him and he showered him with praises as his adversaries weeped in envy and frustration. 

In his Speech on that event organised by Mayiga, a grateful Kabaka Mutebi said he was happy to see youth in universities more interested in activities geared at Buganda’s revival and said the credit goes to Mayiga who was then serving as youth affairs minister. 

His enemies plotted again! Just a few years ago, Mayiga endured a disciplinary procedure in the cabinet after colleagues blamed him of smuggling the Kabaka into a beach bash at Entebbe by Nkoba Zambogo youths during which the Kabaka was photographed partying with campus students. 

Speaking in Mayiga’s defense, the Kabaka said the kingdom should be ready to do all it takes to reach out to the young people saying “the Mutebi generation (Omulembe Omutebi) belongs to the youth.”

ON A TEAM THAT NEGOTIATED THE REGIONAL TIER 
Mayiga’s influence on the Kabaka continued growing and in 2005, he was a key member on the team that negotiated the regional tier government with Museveni. 

The regional tier negotiations had succeeded until a group of anti-Museveni forces, led by late Abu Mayanja, Suleiman Kiggundu and Godfrey Lule, manipulated the Clan Heads Council members and County Chiefs (Abamasaza) to oppose it. 

They met the Kabaka, and eventually Museveni at State House, saying it was hot air (Byoya bya nswa) and they mobilized the Baganda populace against it. 

Subsequently, the Kabaka came under intense pressure to sack the Mulwannyamuli team. 

However, insiders say, before publicly announcing his new team, the Kabaka privately met Mayiga and pleaded with him not to get annoyed (with his sacking) but to understand that this was done to appease angry Baganda who were baying for some blood.

“You will continue executing very sensitive errands for me albeit clandestinely,” the Kabaka reportedly told Mayiga before asking him to go and persuade other colleagues not to develop cold feet over their sacking which was expected in a few weeks’ time. 

IDENTIFYING SSEGGONA, MPUUGA & OTHERS FOR KABAKA
For those who dont know, it was Owek. Charles Peter Mayiga who Kabaka deployed to identify for him active youth in Nkobazambogo who can serve the Kingdom deligently.

This is how fire-spitting Medard Lubega Segona (now Busiro East MP) and Mathias Mpuuga Nsamba (now Masaka Municipality legislator), fresh from Makerere University, landed ministerial positions at Mengo. 

Its Mayiga who convinced the Kabaka to appoint them to his cabinet in 2007 immediately after then Premier Dan Muliika’s exit.

In 2008, three kingdom officials including then Information Minister Charles Peter Mayiga, his deputy Medard Lubega Sseggona and Betty Nambooze Bakireke (current MP Mukono Municipality) were arrested over their alleged link with armed groups and attempting to acquire guns.
They were however released.

(In the next article,  we shall reveal unto you how and why Mayiga beat the other five contenders for Katikkiroship to step in after Owek. Eng. JB Walusimbi.   For comments on this story send a message on 0792 735 159)

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