Monday, April 27, 2015

King Oyo Was Right To Put His Mayinja's on Display

Rukirabasaija Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV and I have little in common. He has more names than I have, he is the IVth in a long line of Rukirabasaija Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi’s and he is a king, which, I am not. And if were to shorten his name like many people are frond of shortening mine from Timothy to Timo, I would have shortened his from Oyo to Yo, but seeing he is a king, I guess that would be highly improper.

Though I have been to a number of functions thrown by his kingdom and which he attended, I have only had the pleasure of actually talking to him once. In that brief conversation, I thought him to be an intelligent and reserved young man who was acutely aware that everybody in the ballroom was looking at him and that as a king, there are something’s he can and can’t do – especially in public.

Unlike other Ugandan kings who have hit the headlines for the wrong reasons, it’s hard to recall a time that King Oyo has been dragged through the mud.

However, last week, social media especially Facebook, went into overdrive over a picture of him at Kabaka Mutebi’s 60th birthday bash. He was shown sitting with one leg crossed over his knee while holding Buganda Kingdom Katikkiro Peter Mayiga hand and seemingly uninterested in what he (Mayiga) had to say and not making eye contact with him.

Comments ranged from: “Omwana alina empisa embi. Period. King or no king, he is not the first we have seen. Where is his eye contact? Why is he sitting cross legged? Fr. Grimes would have been so disappointed.” Another post read: “Oyo needs character lessons” to “his posture reeks of arrogance, not refinement or the buoyancy of a king.”

How else should he have sat? Did they want him to be subservient and have his legs hidden under his chair? Did they want him to sit like a passenger in a matatu with feet straight down and unable to stretch them out or cross them?

With the Baganda, a young boy sitting with his legs crossed and in full view of the elders and worse, right next to Kabaka, that’s not on, it’s insulting!

However, Oyo didn’t cross his legs to disrespect the Baganda, Kabaka Mutebi or Katikkiro Mayiga - far from it. He was simply trying to hold his own. Like the six other Emirs who form the UAE, when those Emirs meet with their richer and more powerful Emir from Dubai, they also try to hold their own. They walk tall and stand tall just like Downtown Shopping Mall Millionaire who suddenly finds himself in the same room as say Sudhir Ruparelia. He will try and stand tall and have a swag look about him that reads: “I too have a dime.”

Buganda Kingdom is bigger than Toro Kingdom and King Oyo pulled of a coup. He could not afford to cower or look intimidated in the House of Mutebi. He had to hold his ground. He had to show that his kingdom has a bite, has the ability to be bullish and is not one to be ruffled.

The way I read his posture and with a lack of a better way of putting it - with his ‘mayinja’s’ on display and seemingly uninterested in what Mayiga had to say, was as follows: “Yes I am a young king from a small kingdom, but don’t be thinking you can step on me or my subjects. I am a king and it is my preserve to show you and the rest that I, Rukirabasaija Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV can hold my own." 

So deal with it. 

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