Buganda Bumu Convention 2023: Seattle is Raring. It’s Rocking Over Here!

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In Summary: The auditions are over. There is no more waiting. The red carpet was rolled. The hosts and guests are buzzing. The kanzus and busuutis are dusted, ironed, and flowing. Kabaka is on the throne and is reigning. The 3-day BBNAC 2023 convention in Seattle is already underway. Time is now to consolidate the gains and perpetuate the invaluable culture of Buganda. Get the dialogue going over Buganda’s challenges, find solutions, and go out to serve Buganda. Buganda needs adequate and clean drinking water. Time is of the essence. Restoring and upholding Buganda’s glory is no longer an option. As Samuel Muwanguzi writes, it’s the new normal! Take it or leave it!

Unveiling the new logo for BBNAC 2023

Seattle, Washington State - The fifth biennial Buganda Bumu North American Convention (BBNAC) is underway in Seattle, Washington State to primarily brainstorm over and find solutions to problems encountered in finding safe and clean drinking water in the Kingdom of Buganda located in central Uganda. The 2023 BBNAC which is taking place at the Hyatt Regency Lake Hotel, Renton, during this Memorial Day weekend, opened this Friday, May 26 and will close on Monday, May 29, 2023. This biennial convention attracts members of Buganda ancestry not only from the USA, Canada, and the Diaspora but also from Uganda and Buganda in particular. The BBNAC is the leading community function held by the Baganda community and their friends in the United States of America and Canada. Indeed, Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi is on the throne and is reigning. Rest assured, too, that the Nabagereka of Buganda Sylvia Naginda Luswata is by the king’s side.

The Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi and the Nabagereka

The EADM correspondent at the 3-day biennial event said that delegates started checking-in at the Hyatt Regency Lake Hotel on Thursday May 25 in a trickle. However, the EADM noted that by Friday evening, hundreds of delegates of Buganda ancestry and their friends from the United States, Canada, and Uganda had converged at the hotel in droves and created a carnival atmosphere. By mid-day Friday, the hotel reception had turned into a bee-hive activity. Hotel hallways, elevators, bars, restaurants had by evening become exciting enclaves of Luganda-speaking delegates hugging, kissing, and shaking hands with whoever was in sight. “It was indeed party time!” the EADM correspondent observed.

Mr. Martin Ntege Kiwanuka, chair of the organizing committee for BBNAC 2023

Held under the theme “The Challenge of Adequate Clean Water in Buganda and Finding Solutions,”  BBNAC’23  is confident that the theme will provide an opportunity  to engage  delegates in  a productive conversation about the problem and participate in raising funds to construct water wells wherever they are needed in the Kingdom. The chair of the organizing committee of BBNAC 2023, Mr. Martin Ntege Kiwanuka states that access to clean water is a basic human right and should be available to everyone, regardless of their socio-economic status. “Water will improve the health and well-being of the people in the Buganda Kingdom and will help to reduce poverty,” he stated in a press release issued ahead of the convention.

The Buganda Bumu North American Convention (BBNAC) was founded in 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts after all the Baganda cultural groups in the United States and Canada agreed to unite and form one umbrella organization in North America. The BBNAC 2023 is the fifth biennial convention held by the nearly 10-year-old cultural organization. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the fourth biennial convention in Chicago, Illinois was not held in person but virtually via Zoom. The ongoing BBNAC 2023 convention in Seattle is the first to be held since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic but the fourth that has been held in person since 2015.

The Katikiro of Buganda Owek. Charles Peter Mayiga

Following  the tradition set during the first biennial event in Boston in 2015, the 2023 BBNAC convention in Seattle is also presided over by the Katikiro of Buganda Owek. Charles Peter Mayiga, who arrived in Seattle this Friday leading a strong delegation from Mengo, the seat of the Kingdom of Buganda. The delegation includes Prince David Kitu Wasajja, the young brother to the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi 11.

Others who arrived ahead of Katikiro Mayiga include the Buganda kingdom minister in charge of Diaspora affairs Mr. Joseph Kawuki, Mr. Nuwa Kiyimba the minister of information, Mrs. Mariam Mayanja Nkalubo, some clan leaders including Jjajja Lozio Nkonge Nsamba, head of the Ngabi (bushback clan), and officials from the various departments of the kingdom administration.

Moments before his departure from Uganda, Katikiro Mayiga told journalists in Kampala that during the BBNAC 2023 convention in Seattle, Washington State, he will update the Baganda in North America the progress and challenges the kingdom is facing. However, “I will strongly amplify the problem of lack  of clean drinking water in some parts of Buganda and lead a fundraising drive to help solve the problem,” he said. He told the media that after the BBNAC convention, he will visit San Francisco, California where he will install the newly appointed representative of the Kabaka to the West Cost of America (Northern California) and Nevada Owek. Patrick Ssendegeya  Nalikkka replacing the late Dorothy Musoke. Also, to be installed is the deputy to the representative of the Kabaka, Dr. Paul Kiruuta.

Mr. Mayiga also disclosed that he will visit Los Angeles to install another newly representative of the Kabaka to the West Coast of America (Southern California), Arizona, and Hawaii, Owek. Fred Senoga Makubuya replaced the late Jose Semakula Ndugwa. He will also install the deputy to the representative of the Kabaka, Mr. Hudson Jjoloba. Katikiro Peter Mayiga also disclosed that he will make a 100-mile road trip to the headquarters of Wells for Life, the company drilling and repairing water wells in Buganda. “I am going to put our face to the name and meet our good partners who are doing a great  job of bringing clean drinking water to our people,” he said, adding: “These people are helping us, but I have never met them, and they have never met me ,” he  revealed.

Archbishop Paul Ssemogerere of Kampala Archdiocese to preside over the holy mass during celebration to mark Uganda Martyr’s Day in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA.

Later, the Katikiro revealed that he will travel to Waltham, Massachusetts to  attend the Uganda’s  Martyrs Day celebrations at St. Mary’s parish where Ugandan catholic in the Archdiocese of Boston will congregate for the feast of the Martyrs on Sunday June 11, 2023. The holy mass at the Uganda Martyrs Day celebration will be led by Archbishop Paul Ssemogerere of Kampala Archdiocese. He made a point to  state that he will indeed remind the congregations that  “we celebrate the Ugandan Martyrs because of Kabaka Mwanga who ordered their deaths.”

Owek. Engineer Moses Mayanja Ggayi, Kabaka’s representative to the Seattle-Pacific North West region.

Located in the Seattle-Pacific North West region of the United States, the BBNAC 2023 convention falls in the jurisdiction of Owek. Engineer Moses Mayanja Ggayi, Kabaka’s representative in the area covering Washington State, Oregon, and Idaho. Owek. Moses Ggayi Mayanja told the EADM in a phone conversation ahead of the convention  that “The programs at the convention are all aimed at uplifting the standards of living of our mother Buganda. “We also aim at creating more awareness about the culture of Buganda,” he said. He told the EADM that even the topics to be discussed during the forums and panels reflect a resurging and confident Buganda as we move forward into the future. “We want to perpetuate the enduring legacy to posterity that our forefathers left behind for us,” he said, adding: “We are consolidating our gains and adding value to what we will leave behind,” he told the EADM.

Mrs. Grace Kiboneka, the outgoing Deputy representative of the Kabaka in the Seattle-Pacific North West region

Mrs. Grace Kiboneka, the outgoing Deputy representative of the Kabaka in the Seattle-Pacific North West region was as upbeat as the other organizers. “We are ready,” she confidently told the  EADM. “This is the first in-person BBNAC convention after the COVID-19 pandemic and people are very excited to come here and meet friends, relatives, network, and hold a conversation about the issues that relate to the Buganda kingdom and the Baganda in the Diaspora, she said. She told the EADM that there will also be performances by our children and young adults to showcase some of the aspects of the Baganda culture. “Although many people are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19 and the inflationary pressures, we still expect a large number of people to show up for the convention,” she forecast. She was right.

Mr. Hamza Bunya, the chair of BUDEKA

This year’s convention is locally hosted by Buganda Development Cultural Association (BUDECA), a non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization registered in Washington State. Mr. Hamza Bunnya, the chair of BUDEKA told the EADM a day before the convention that the event was going to be a special and productive meeting. “We have invested a lot of time, energy, and resources into the event that we expect nothing but the best,” he said. He sounded even more upbeat about the prospects of the delegates in positively responding to the theme of the convention. “It is going to be absolutely fantastic,” he said with exuberance in his voice. It will be the best of the best of all the conventions that have ever been held before.,” Mr. Bunnya declared to the EADM.

While the BBNAC 2023, like the previous biennial events, will be a carefully choreographed event, Seattle will feature quite a few surprises by virtue of its location near the Pacific Ocean. “Seattle is a place unlike any other; it is America’s largest port city on the West Coast, and is a major hub for computer science, biotech, and aerospace,” the chair of the organizing committee Mr. Martin Ntege Kiwanuka told the EADMBBNAC 2023 has also scheduled relevant and appropriate programs to brainstorm and find solutions to  challenges encountered in vocational training; entrepreneurship; culture and identity in a multi-cultural world, and building relationships.” This convention will also provide opportunities for mentoring and Networking, as well as ways BBNAC can work in partnership with Buganda Government to address different youth development issues especially in the rural areas of Buganda,” a statement issued by Mr. Martin Ntege Kiwanuka stated in part.

Mr. David Albert, co-founder, and board chair emeritus Friendly Water for the World

The major highlight of the convention will be the amplification of the Theme of the convention that focuses on  the “Challenge of adequate clean drinking water and solutions.” The minister of Lands, agriculture, trade, markets, and natural resources in the Kingdom of Buganda, Mrs. Marium Mayanja Nkalubo, will present the state of affairs in the kingdom  regarding the need for provision of adequate clean drinking water in the kingdom, especially in counties located in the cattle corridor. Currently, an American-based organization Wells of Life is drilling  and repairing boreholes in the kingdom. At least over 800 boreholes or water wells have  been  drilled or repaired in the  kingdom, according to information the EADM has seen.

Dr. Moe Mukiibi, founder of Making the unthinkable drinkable.

The minister’s presentation will precede a panel on Water that will discuss other aspects of water provisions beyond boreholes and water wells. The panel will be headlined  by Mr. David Albert, co-founder and board chair emeritus Friendly Water for the World and Dr. Moe Mukiibi, founder and CEO of Making the unthinkable drinkable. Another panel on mental health led by Dr. Joseph Ssenkungo will brainstorm ideas aimed at prevention, treatment, and management of mental health in the kingdom of Buganda where cases of mental health have been on the rise.

Dr. Jamiiru Luttamaguzi, a motivation speaker and Ph.D. holder in mathematics from Louisiana State University 

Mindful of the population explosion, migration, the predominantly young population whose median age is 15.8 years; BBNAC 2023 has scheduled a forum on youth, career guidance, and talent development, to prepare the Kingdom of Buganda  and her youth to creatively and innovatively leverage the abundant human capital to survive and thrive in the burgeoning multicultural and digital-driven global environment. This panel will be headlined by Dr. Tosin Odada, founder and CEO GMA Technologies Inc., Seattle. During the same panel, a motivation speaker, Dr. Jamiiru Luttamaguzi, a Ph.D. holder in mathematics from Louisiana State University and  founder and CEO of my African American motivators, will also address the youngsters.

Lt Co Lukiah Mulumba, first Ugandan-born to attain the rank in the USA Airforce

During this panel, a conversation between children and parents/ Guardians—What brings about the disconnect between them will ensue. The panel will be moderated by Lt. Col Lukiah Mulumba, the first Ugandan woman to attain the rank in the United States Airforce. A housewife and mother of three, with her first-born daughter having defied all odds to survive sickle cell disease, go on to college and now preparing to graduate nearly two weeks later (on June 10, 2023), the children and young adults wouldn’t have had a better bargain.


Mrs. Tina Nalubega Kasujja holding, the entertainment docket on young adults and children

Holding the entertainment docket for children and young adults, the ever-green Mrs. Tina Nalubega Kasujja told the EADM that her ‘school’ is ready and raring to go. “We are ready to entertain, educate, and inform the delegates about nyaffe Buganda, its culture, history, present, and future.” She said that her dancing quartet including Danita naggayi, Shidrat Bwanik, Drina Kasujja, Rabiba Bwanik will perform different versions of Kiganda dances during the 3-day event. However, missing in action will be Babirye Kasujja who is a way at college. Mr. Kasujja also said her group of children will present several skits and recite poems that will keep the delegates asking, “for some more.”

The Kasujja girls

To cap up the entertainment, the chair of the organizing committee, Mr. Martin Ntege  disclosed that another form of entertainment will be the  boat  ride on the Pacific. “Here, delegates will not be bussed to the port. Instead, they will walk from their hotel rooms or from anywhere around the hotel and get to the boat which will be docked by the shoreline that straddles the hotel  yard,” he said. According to Mr. Martin Ntege Kiwanuka, other entertaining events have been lined up to  keep the delegates to BBNAC 2023 a jovial lot. In addition to the boat cruise, musicians like Winnie Nwangi, Karitas, Isaac Katumwa, Naira Ali and others are on hand to keep the delegates feel at home.

Dr. David Nnyanzi, director of programs, BBNA

But for those who love to keep souvenirs , a convention booklet is being handed to all delegates at the registration. He said that the booklet, which includes the convention program, educational articles on the history, culture, and other customs of the over 700-year-old Buganda Kingdom, messages from dignitaries at Mengo, Kabaka’s representatives in North America, leaders of the various cultural associations of the Baganda in North America, and other messages that amplify the theme of BBNAC 2023, are included in the booklet. Dr. Nnyanzi, a professor of sociology based in Boston, Massachusetts, who wrote the editor’s note in the booklet on behalf of Prince James Walugembe, the chair of the BBNAC 2023 editorial board told the EADM that: “If one loves history, education, culture, and community service as it pertains in Buganda, this is a magazine to keep for a lifetime.” One couldn’t agree more!

BBNAC 2023 in Pictures: Katikiro Mayiga Arrives in Seattle

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