Bikuuka Tournament to be held despite Inzu Ya Masaaba wrangles

By Baron Kironde

The 2021 Bikuuka football tournament will be held despite the ongoing power wrangles within Inzu Ya Masaaba – the Bamasaaba cultural institution which is one of the key stakeholders.

Koboi Israel, the Bikuuka tournament chairman on behalf of the organizing committee revealed that the plan is to protect and stand firm with the initial purpose of the tournament, not to let it be compromised by the wrangles within the cultural institution.

“The sports element is neutral and ought to continue to nurture the talent of Bamasaaba Youth and to foster unity across communities, which is the primary objective,” Koboi stressed.

Owing to the various disparities in ownership of the tournament, therefore, the organizing committee resolved that this year’s tournament shall be organised away from the umbrella of Inzu Ya Masaaba, but rather has remained under Bamasaaba sporting Club, pioneer volunteers and local government.

Koboi revealed that a circular to this effect shall follow soon, defining the relationship between the organizing committee, local government authorities and the volunteers.

“We shall continue to seek partnership with other stakeholders and remain open when Inzu Ya Masaaba solves its leadership question,” Koboi reiterated.

“Accordingly, we are inviting all volunteers to join the tournament the tournament under Bamasaaba Sporting Club devoid of Inzu Ya Masaaba as the institution still has leadership issues to be sorted,” Koboi added.

The committee revealed that the time table is to continue as the previous editions. However, given the current COVID-19 situation, the fixtures and format might be adjusted accordingly to comply with health guidelines to be communicated in due course.


Inzu Ya Masaaba has held two successful Bikuuka (clans) tournaments – both in the late Sir. Bob Mushikori’s reign as the Umukuuka in 2017 and 2019. This year’s tournament, if held, will only be the third.

The tournament is held every after two years, particularly in the odd years, to accommodate the cultural Bamasaaba circumcision season each even year.

Halasi beat Wakoko Clan to lift the inaugural trophy of the clans’ tournament in 2017 at Mbale Stadium, before losing on penalties to Mukonde Clan following a 2-2 stalemate at the Mbale SS ground in 2019.

Umukuuka (grand clans leader) is meant to be the overseer of the tournament. This year’s programming of the tournament has been challenged by the fact that there is still a scuffle on who rightfully owns the throne to the Bamasaaba cultural leadership.

A consultative meeting in May 2021 convened by the Gender, Labor and Social Development Minister Frank Tumwebaze to end the stalemate over the cultural leader of Inzu Ya Masaba resolved to conduct fresh elections. 

The closed-door meeting that lasted for over eight hours in Wapakhabulo Auditorium in the Foreign Affairs Ministry involved the two claimants for the position of the Bukuuka Jude Mike Mudoma and Amram Wagabyalire.

The meeting also involved some Resident District Commissioners and legislators from the Bugisu region. Addressing journalists, shortly after the meeting, Tumwebaze, said that both claimants were irregularly elected because the cultural council that forms the Electoral College was split and the speaker impeached.

As a result, the two factions went ahead to elect parallel leaders. However, Tumwebaze says that Inzu ya Masaaba could not have a leader who was not elected by consensus.

The Umukuka is elected on a rotational basis from nine clans. This time, the Inda Wa Mwambu clan was the one supposed to present a cultural leader. Jude Mike Mudoma, one of the conflicting leaders, said that he was content with the resolution of the meeting with optimism that it shall end the conflicts and restore peace among the Bamasaaba.  

According to the decision, fresh elections were to be conducted within one week by a council that has not been established up to today.

The dispute in Inzu Ya Masaba started at the expiry of the term of office for the late Umukuka Bob Mushikori. A group of clan leaders demanded immediate elections for his successor, but the process dragged on because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which could not allow for large gatherings. 

As a result, a group of clan leaders went ahead to declare Mudoma the new Umukuka drawing protests from Mushikori. Fresh elections were held under the guidance of Mushikori leading to the election of Amran Wagabyalire.

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