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Africa's Youngest King Assumes Power

  • Douglas Mpuga

In Uganda, the world's youngest king has been formally crowned. King Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV has been made the full-ruler of the Toro Kingdom in western Uganda after a wait of some 15 years.

King Oyo effectively became king in 1995, following the death of this father. His coronation could not take place until he had officially reached adulthood.

The Toro kingdom is one of Uganda’s four major cultural kingdoms. Former president Milton Obote abolished kingdoms in Uganda in 1967, but President Museveni restored them in 1993.

Thousands of Ugandans participated in the festivities and said prayers for the king. “It was an extremely colorful ceremony,” said Phillip Winyi, the Kingdom’s Information and Foreign Affairs minister. He said it was the most well attended royal ceremony in the kingdom in very many years.

Winyi said the king was able in his speech to unfold a five-year program that will emphasize education, especially for those who are poor, and health and hygiene.

The king will try to invest in medical facilities and equipment, said Winyi, and that “he will also put emphasis on hygiene in the home to ensure that people have clean water and toilet facilities.”

Another issue that the king will work with the elders to address is to ensure that there is enough food production and sufficient food storage.

The minister revealed that the King will be going for further studies but has many other options. “He has interest in military training. He also has interest in information technology and administration because of [the nature] his duties.”

Given his age the king has a lot of interest in improving the welfare of youths. “Actually there is somebody who described him as a ‘cyber king’, said Winyi, “because of the role of technology to young people.”

In addition, he said, “the king has confidence in young people because he knows they need to take over when they are still young so that they can get abreast with the current problems and challenges.”

Winyi explained that since King Oyo has already been king for almost 15 years issues of administration are not new to him.

A series of activities were held for two days in the run up to the celebrations which climaxed yesterday. Some of the activities included tree planting, princesses’ exhibition, clan soccer tournament, town cleaning and an all-night music concert.

In attendance were several African cultural leaders from Mali, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Mauritania, South Africa, DR Congo, Nigeria, Libya, Kenya, including guests from the USA.