Mixed reactions over a proposal to amend Tooro Kingdom anthem

By Sylvia Kugonza

TOORO. The proposal to amend the Tooro Kingdom anthem has drawn mixed reactions from sections of the people of Tooro.

The resolution to amend the anthem was reached during the Tooro People’s Conference which was organized by the Tooro Elders Forum.

The old anthem with four stanzas was composed by the late George Magwara in 1945.

Magwara was a member of the Tooro Parliament, the Orukurato. He composed it during the reign of Omukama David Kyebambe Kasagama. It is often sang during government and cultural functions. All the four stanzas are sung when the King is present.
Magwara also served other kings including George Rukidi III, Patrick Kaboyo and Oyo, until his death in 2005 at the age of 84. He also took part in the Second World War.

Fr. Pascal Kabura, a member of the elders’ forum says that there is need to amend the anthem because it is concentrated only on the person of the King. He says that the text should be revised to include both the King and his subjects.

Charles Muhanga, the custodian of Kingdom history says that the old anthem is unique since it promotes the Tooro culture and glorifies the King. Muhanga, who was present on December 3rd 1945, the first day the anthem was sang says that Omukama Kyebambe who rarely smiled, was overjoyed when he heard the anthem.
Muhanga notes that Magwara was inspired to compose the anthem because of the love he had for the King and he was never paid for his efforts.

Dan Rubombora welcomes the proposal. He says that the anthem has no respect for the people of Tooro, since it praises only the King. He explains that the natural resources in all parts of the Tooro region should be included in the text.

However Kennedy Gusaalire, the Kingdom Spokesperson says that by amending the anthem is an act of distorting history and Tooro culture. Gusaalire explains that the before the anthem was composed, they sought the opinions of kingdom elders and other subjects and they approved the contents.

Jubilee has learnt that some members of the elders’ forum have met members of Magwara’s grand children for permission to amend the anthem.

In 2015, a new version of the anthem sparked controversy in the kingdom. It was composed by Moses Kigambo, a local musician in Fort Portal.

The new version is titled “Agutamba” like the old one. However, the lyrics are different. Unlike the old one which praises and glorifies the King, the new version praises only the people of Tooro. End


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