Comparison between 1953 and 1966 Buganda crisis


1/7 If you chanced to access a Top Secret memorandum C. (53) 324 written by the British Secretary of State (Minister) for the colonies to the British cabinet on 18th November 1953, you would learn that HM EF Mutesa II had very few options when he was summoned by Andrew Cohen for interview.

2/7 The governor (Cohen) already had instructions to ensure that Kabaka Mutesa complied with instructions to leve the country.  The memorandum stated that, If the Kabaka refuses to come to this country to see me then I propose to authorize the Governor to put into operation the plan described in paragraph 6 above.”

3/7 Para 6 of the memorandum was a detailed military plan (referred to by Secretary Lyttleton as “extreme action”) that was supposed to be executed from the day of the Kabaka Mutesa/Governor Cohen meeting (30.11.1953) to 8.12.1953.

4/7 Note that on 16th November 1953 4th Battalion K.A.R started moving back to Jinja from Kenya ready for military operations in Buganda “in support of the police” to carry out what the memorandum called a coup d’etat had the Kabaka tried to

“…embark on an open trial of strength with Her Majesty’s Government.”

5/7 That “Top Secret” memorandum in part states that, “General Erskine has agreed to make available one battalion of the King’s African Rifles which is now moving into Uganda ostensibly as a routine transfer. He has also agreed to have a reserve battalion on standing by at three days’ notice but if this or any further reinforcements were called upon he might have to ask additional assistance from the United Kingdom.”

6/7 So then, Kabaka Mutesa was alot wiser than you can possibly imagine, by avoiding any childish action of the type that you call “Terrance Hill”.  Had he tried, he would probably have been subjected to an emotional experience that would have denied him the chance to see 1966, itself a continuation of the 1953 intransigence.

7/7 The difference between 1966 and 1953 was, that Governor Cohen had alot more manoeuvrability than AM Obote, otherwise the basic plan was the same.  Cohen had plan A and B.  Plan A worked and that saved the day.  AM had only Plan A, namely, Cohen’s Plan B, a Zero sum game.  I see UPC supporters somewhere (with the usual opportunism) saying that Cohen was outrageous.  I think what they(upc supporters) really mean is that, Cohen should have put into play Plan B (the one to that should have been executed by General Erskine…the extreme action…it would have saved the UPC the 1966 entanglements…that is what Mr Ochieno probably means).

L/Cpl (rtd) Otto Patrick

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  1. long live Buganda Kingdom

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