The prime minister and a delegation of officials from the Kingdom of Buganda in Uganda visited the national offices of the Anglican Church of Canada in Toronto today, as a part of the Canadian leg of an international tour to the U.K., Sweden, Canada and the U.S.
Prime Minister Charles Peter Mayiga told the Anglican Journal that the tour is part of an effort by the kingdom to connect with the Bugandan diaspora and build support for various projects. He explained that the Kingdom of Buganda is a legal entity, recognized in the constitution. “Under [Ugandan] law, we can extend social services such as education and health, but we do not participate directly in politics,” he said.
Mayiga said that Bugandans are “keen believers” and the support of the churches is essential. “If in my position, I don’t get the backing of the religious groups, then I may not make a lot of progress.” The kingdom is “deeply involved” with Anglican, Catholic and Pentecostal churches and the Islamic faith, he added. “They make my work a lot easier to be honest with you.” He said churches own the largest and best schools and hospitals. “But there is still much more need,” he said.
Canon Isaac Kawuki-Mukasa, Africa relations co-ordinator for the Anglican Church of Canada, guided the prime minister and his delegation around the Toronto offices of the national church. “He’s a son of the soil as we say back home, so when we interface with him, indirectly we are reaching out to so many other people,” said Mayiga.
The Kingdom of Buganda is going through “a period of rejuvenation and reconstruction,” said Mayiga. He noted that the kingdoms were abolished in 1966 and not restored until 1993. Historical sites, such as the tombs of kings, were destroyed during wars. The kingdom is now focusing on reconstructing the site and raised about US$2 million through domestic contributions to do it and now hopes that people outside the country will contribute.
Much of the kingdom’s funding comes from the land it owns, he said. “We raise some money from the land – through rentals and premiums and ground rents and also we have started some projects that generate some income.”
Aside from the historical reconstruction, priorities for the kingdom include health services, vocational education, and promoting the production of coffee and staple foods. “Prosperity comes with productivity really, and people must have an income,” he said. Mayiga noted that 85% of the population is in rural areas and are farmers. “You’ve got to help them market the produce and get good money for what they do. You must ensure that they’ve got food. You must ensure they get some skills-vocational education- and they are in good health to do all these things,” he said.
“That’s why we visited [Toronto’s] Sick Kids Hospital, to learn from them,” he added. “Of course, they are big, but what is important for us is to start. Once you start you shall get there in good time.”