Thursday, March 04, 2004

Uganda: Bunyoro King suing the Queen of England

The Bunyoro King, Solomon Gafabusa Iguru, is planning to sue the British government for the plunder of his kingdom in the late 1890s. The King is seeking £3 trillion in compensation and his spokesperson said the lawsuit will be filed this month at the International Court of Justice and with the British Commission in Kampala.
"We are seriously suing the Queen of England and the British government for atrocities committed and the genocide carried out during the invasion of Bunyoro Kitara. Our grandfathers never took it up because they were dehumanised, lost glory and pride," the king's spokesperson, Ernest Kiiza told the Deutsche Presse Agentur, dpa.
Here is the story from the BBC.

According to this, the Bunyoro Kingdom is hiring American, Israeli and British lawyers to pursue its suit against the Queen.

And according to this February 7 article in New Vision, it seems there is more than one lawsuit (or more than one entity named in the lawsuit). In additon to Britain (QEII), they are suing the government of Uganda and the Buganda kingdom.
The [Bunyoro] group is also challenging the on-going compensation of the Baganda absentee landlords by the Land Compensation Fund.

... The group is dragging the British government to court for donating Buyaga and Bugangaizi to Buganda Kingdom. The British are also accused of giving land to Baganda absentee landlords as gifts.

The group argues that the British and Buganda Kingdom "used brute and savage force to subdue" their forefathers and decimate the population, destroy livestock and other resources.
The evidence?
[Prime Minister of Bunyoro, Mr Kagoro Elisa Byenkya] He showed The Monitor letters compiled in a 102-page book which, he claimed, were the handwritten works of British colonial army officers listing their missions and successes against the kingdom.

Omukama [King] Kabalega of Bunyoro resisted the colonialists until he was defeated in 1901 and exiled to the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean. He died in 1923 while escaping back.

In his suit, Iguru is expected to argue that the British colonialists depopulated his kingdom, spread diseases intentionally and destroyed economic activities in the area.