Oyo Nyimba Kabambaiguru Rukidi IV was born on 16th April, 1992. When his father, Patrick David Matthew Rwamuhokya Kaboyo Olimi III passed away on 26th August, 1995, the 3-year old prince ascended the throne on 12th September, 1995, entering the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s youngest reigning monarch.
He was baptized by Bishop Eustace Kamanyire of Rwenzori Diocese on 26th June, 1992 at St. John’s Cathedral, Fort Portal, before a mammoth gathering of loyal subjects, which was also his first public appearance. His god-parents were:-
- Princess Elizabeth Bagaya (paternal auntie)
- Prince Charles Kamurasi (Omujweera Musuuga)
- Prince Patrick Kawamara (maternal uncle)
- Sam K. Rukuba
- Joseph K. Mukonjo
- Prince Evatuusi Kawamara
His next public appearance was during his father’s state funeral on 4th September, 1995, but most people first saw him during his coronation, whose Master of Ceremonies was Ambassador Steven Katenta Apuuli.
The coronation rituals were conducted by the Nyarwa, Prince Tony Rubomboora assisted by his father Prince Yosamu Rubomboora of Nyakasura and a thanksgiving service was held at Hamusanga (royal verandah) of the Karuziika). Prayers were led by Bishop Eustace Kamanyire, the Roman Catholic prelate of Fort portal, Dr. Paul Kalanda Akiiki and Sheikh Suleiman Ssali of the Muslim community among others.
Distinguished guests included President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, cabinet ministers and members of the diplomatic corps. The Kabaka of Buganda was represented by his Katikkiro (prime minister) Joseph Mulwanyali Ssemwogerere, the Omukama of Bunyoro by his Deputy Omuhikirwa Mathew Byabazaire, while Ankole’s Prince John Barigye attended in person.
REGENTS & DEFENDERS
The Tooro Butwarane (supreme council) named the following as regents to assist during the king’s minority:-
- John Katuramu (Omuhikirwa)
- Mgr. Thomas Kisembo
- Rev. Canon James Rabwoni
The following dignitaries were named trustees:-
- Kabaka Ronald Mutebi II
- Omukama Solomon Iguru I
- President Yoweri Museveni
- Princess Elizabeth Bagaaya
- Prince James Mugenyi
- Prince Charles Kamurasi
- Prince Patrick Kawamara
- Prince Samwiri Nyabongo
- Isaaya Kalya
- David Walker
- Patrick R. Kamkya
- Bishop Eustace Kamanyire
The young king was flanked by distinguished Defenders of the Crown resplendent with their coronets, titled Abajwaara Kondo:-
- Omuhikirwa John Katuramu
- Omusuna Isaleri Kabwa
- Rwigi (Speaker of Rukurato) Yosiya Nyakairu
- Edward Mboijana
Other Abajwaara Kondo who attended but did not wear their coronets are:-
- President Yoweri Museveni
- Isaaya Kalya
- Sam Rukuba
- Godwin Kasuzi
In line with cultural norms, Omukama Oyo named the following as Defenders of the crown:-
Prince Patrick Kawamara (Nyinomukama Owempeeka Omusaija)
Prince David Kanyaihe (Omweganywa)
Later in the evening, the king gave a royal cocktail party to some invited guests, in the royal courtyard (Nyaruzigati) amidst great rejoicing as Tooro welcomed him.
ROYAL DUTY CALLS
Then on 13th September, 1995 the newly enthroned king officially opened Tooro’s Butwarane Supreme Council. In the afternoon, the king donated cattle (Okwinura) to his people and in he was the chief guest at the Tooro Kingdom Coronation Cup.
On 3rd October 1996, he flew in with some of his teachers at Ennersdale School in the UK to celebrate his first coronation anniversary (Empango) celebrations.
Dignitaries included President Yoweri Museveni and First Lady Janet. Also present were monarchs, representatives of Uganda’s royal houses and journalists from all over the globe were present to capture the historic occasion.
PRINCE OF SAVOY
Earlier on, King Oyo had hosted the Prince of Savoy from Turin, Italy. He was here to mark 90 years since his illustrious predecessor, the Duke of Abruzzi first scaled the Rwenzori Ranges in 1906. That was during the reign of Oyo’s great grandfather, Omukama Daudi Kasagama Kyebambe IV.
The visiting prince’s itinerary included the Ambassador and officials of the Italian Embassy and he planted a tree to commemorate this historic occasion. The occasion’s Chief Interpreter was the late Fr. Albert Byaruhanga who had mastered Latin.
The Prince of Savoy also scaled the Rwenzori and on return he invited 4-year old King Oyo to Italy, which was his first visit abroad following his coronation. He was accompanied by Queen Mother Best Kemigisa, Prince Charles Kamurasi, Prince Selvan Kataama and others.
Then in 2001, King Oyo accepted an invitation for Libya’s Leader, Col. Muamar Gadaffi. He travelled with Queen Mother Kemigisa, Princess Nsemere Ruth Komuntale, Mgr. Thomas R. Kisembo (regent), Omuhikirwa Steven Rwakijuma Nyabongo, his paternal auntie, Princess Ruth Makulima and many others. King Oyo was received by President Gadaffi himself.
President Gadaffi returned the visit in June 2001 and King Oyo was present at Entebbe Airport as President Museveni received the distinguished African patriot.
President Gadaffi drove all the way to Fort Portal and was treated to the true Kitooro welcome! Enthusiastic crowds lined the route adorned in traditional Kitooro garb reserved for kingdom VIPs. They sang and danced in praise of their king and his distinguished guest.
At the palace, he was received by President Museveni and then Tourism, Trade and Industry Minister, Prof. Edward Rugumayo. Others included
Omukama Solomon Iguru I, delegations from sister kingdoms, cabinet ministers, members of the Diplomatic Corps, Omuhikirwa Steven Rwakijuma and the three regents, of the kingdom namely; Mgr. Thomas Kisembo, Can. James Rabwoni and Prof Oswald Ndoleliire.
Also present was Orukurato Speaker, Rev. Clovis Kyalimpa, Omusuna Israel Kabwa and all traditional chiefs. President Gadaffi addressed the people in Arabic as Tooro’s Foreign
Relations Minister Sheik Ahmed Kwebiiha, a graduate of Egypt’s Al-Azar Islamic University, fluently translated.
On his visit to Tripoli, King Oyo had named President Gadaffi ‘Defender of the Crown’ (Omujwara Kondo) and now directed Prince Charles Kamurasi to adorn the guest on behalf of the young king.
This Empango was especially remarkable in that it was graced by two Defenders of the Crown who are heads of state. You should have seen the king walking on the royal carpet (omukaito) with President Gadaffi and President Museveni, both fully clad in the traditional garb of the Abajwara Kondo!
Later, Gaddaffi laid a foundation stone in front of the Karuzika which was partly vandalized during the 1979 liberation war and which he would help resurrect to its present magnificence.
In April 2002, King Oyo flew to Denver, Colorado in the USA, at the invitation of Christ Aid, an international Christian charity organization founded by his loyal subject, David Bala Mpora-Mpora. He was welcomed by Denver’s Mayor, William Web.
His entourage included Queen Mother Best Kemigisa, Princess Elizabeth Bagaaya, Princess Komubaizi Margaret, Regent Thomas Kisembo, Omuhikirwa Steven Rwakijuma and several kingdom ministers. Others were Kabarole Chairman, Augustine Kayonga and Bishop Benezeri Kisembo of the Anglican Diocese of Rwenzori.
King Oyo visited many places, including the Africa Outreach Mission where his loyal subject, Evelyn Komuntale donated several wheel-chairs to Tooro’s disabled, who were very happy to receive them.
SWAZILAND & JAPAN
In April 2004, King Oyo celebrated his 13th birthday with His Majesty Mswati III, who had invited him to the Swazi kingdom he rules. He was received by King Mswati at Manzini international airport and was as usual accompanied by the Queen Mother Best Kemigisa, Omuhikirwa Steven Rwakijuma Nyabongo and several kingdom ministers.
Then in November 2008 King Oyo was the chief guest at the World Building Summit in Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital. In addition to his mother, he travelled with Princess Komubaizi, Omuhikirwa William Rwabukuba Nyakatuura, Tooro ministers and other dignitaries.