On April 16th, Sunday, thousands of Buganda subjects and well-wishers turned up for the Kabaka birthday run, an annual activity to celebrate the birthday of Kabaka of Buganda Kingdom His Royal Highness Ronald Mwenda Mutebi II, who has turned 68.
The event, which was attended by many politicians, businessmen, religious leaders, cultural leaders, opinion leaders, and people from all sectors, was flagged off by the Kabaka himself in the company of many top Buganda Kingdom officials.
President Museveni purchased thousands of tickets for youth to engage in the event this year.
To the contrary, Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, a Muganda by tribe and renown political leader, together with his top NUP leaders snubbed the event.
Bobi Wine, who donned the Airtel kit for the run, opted to stay at his home in Magere and never participated in the run like he had always done in the last nine years.
Sources from Mengo said Buganda royal officials are concerned about the decision by the NUP leader to snub Kabaka’s run, yet he had previously attended all the past celebrations.
A source revealed that Bobi Wine is currently engaged in a bitter split with Mengo over support for homosexuality.
It is claimed that the bad blood between Kyagulanyi and Mengo erupted a few months ago when the longest cultural kingdom rejected a proposal by Bobi Wine appealing to them to support homosexuality.
According to a source, Bobi Wine did not even buy the kits for Kabaka Run in bulk like he used to do previously, a move that is said to be intended to hurt Kabaka Mutebi II.
“By missing the Kabaka birthday run, Bob Wine has surely confirmed the bad relations between him and the Buganda establishment, which many say is because of the Buganda Kingdom’s stand against homosexuality,” a NUP MP who preferred anonymity said.
The source further revealed that when Kyagulanyi approached Kabaka Mutebi II and Premier Peter Mayiga with plans to draw Mengo into rejecting the anti-homosexuality law, the officials reportedly trashed his proposal, saying it cripples and frustrates natural rights to procreate.
Started in 2013, the Run has tackled health issues like fistula and sickle cell disease in the past, and it is now focused on the fight against HIV/AIDS following Kabaka’s appointment as Africa’s Goodwill Ambassador in the fight against the AIDS epidemic by UNAIDS.
The Kabaka, who looked strong, emphasized accountability among his subjects and taking necessary action in his brief remarks.
“We renew our commitment to supporting the wellbeing of those with HIV, as well as those at risk for infection. Everyone should get tested for HIV and know their status,” the Kabaka said before flagging off the race.