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Month May 2009

How Uganda came to be called ”Uganda”?

1/7 Even before we get entangled into the weeds of street names, names of schools and names of large slums, the fact is, that of all colonially imposed names, the most inappropriate and rather silly is “Uganda”, the name of our country.
2/7 As you know, on all their journeys to the interior of East Africa, colonialists went around with Swahilli speaking askaris and translators.  Unlike the Bantu languages, Swahilli lacks the “B..” noun class.  In the Ugandan Bantu dialects, the names of the territories occupied by key ethnic groups are prefixed with “Bu”, hence, Bunyoro the home of Banyoro, Buganda that of Baganda; Bukonzo, Bugisu, Budama, etc.

Buganda is still looked at by the British as more powerful than other kingdoms Uganda

3/7 For all those names, the Swahilli drop the B, and refer to place names as Unyoro, Ugisu, Ukonzo and…Uganda.  For the people inhabiting those place, the “Bu” prefix is shaved off completely…leaving you with Unyoro, the home of the Nyoro; Ukonzo the home of the Konzo, Uganda (Buganda) the home of the Ganda (Baganda).  For other places, you will hear of Ungeleza, Umarekani, Uchina, Urengo (Portugal).  If the Swahilli decide to use any prefix on the people, they will employ “Wa-“.
4/7 You also know that, originally, the interest of the British in the place now daftly called “Uganda” was to have Buganda (Uganda in Swahilli) as the protectorate or colony, not other adjoining areas.  Hence, you will hear of the 9th June 1894 dispatch from the Earl of Kimberley (British Foreign Office) to the Consul General of East Africa (Arthur Hardinge) regarding the formation of the ‘Uganda’ (meaning Buganda) protectorate: “This protectorate ( Uganda ) will extend only over the territory which is included in Uganda proper (i.e., Buganda ), bounded by Koki, Ankoli (sic) and Usoga (sic)..”. You may also have heard about Commissioner Hesketh Bell’s policy slogan: My policy is going to be ‘Uganda for the Baganda”

5/7 So, even after they changed their mind and went in for a larger territory, they maintained the name of the staging post…Uganda (or Buganda).  Even when the country has come to embrace Acholi, Lango, Banyoro, Banyankore (of Nkore..not “Ankole”), it is still called “Uganda” Swahilli for Buganda.  Very silly indeed!
6/7 We are so enslaved that, because the British mispronounced the Swahilli word, we also adopted the same silly mispronounciation: “Yuganda” (as in Yugoslavia)..where a word starts with letter U, in English it (mis)pronounced as Yu.  For countries like Uruguay, they were already firmly established that the name of the country could not be distorted.
7/7 If we are to castigate the inappropriateness of names, we have  to start with “Uganda”, the mispronounced misnomer….and by the way, if the colonialists had invaded through Bukonzo, or Bushenyi, or Bugisu, would we have been happy for the country to be called Ukonzo or Ushenyi, Or Ugisu? If not, then, why “Uganda”, the land of the Ganda?  Are Acholis, Banyoro, Bamba…all those…are they Ganda to belong to the land of the Ganda, or Buganda or Uganda in Swahilli?
Lance Corporal (Rtd) Otto Patrick

Composition of Obote’s Uganda Army (UA) in 1960s brought us future problems

Dear UAH,
Hadn’t Obote resorted to military which was dominated by Northerners during 1966 crisis, nobody would have talked about Anyanya, Luo, Acholi, Langi etc……The main source of data on the composition of Uganda Army (UA) in the evening of Obote I is Olara Otunnu’s brother:
Omara-Otunnu, Amii (1987), Politics and the Military in Uganda, 1890-1985, (London: Macmillan).

When you look at pages 80-82, he indicates that, by December 1969, the Uganda Army officer corps was 171 strong. Of that, 141 officers were from the North of the country: 88%. Rank and file reflected similar ethnic proportions.

At that time, 61% of Uganda Army were from the north of the country, whereas the North constituted 19% of the national population. I think some people’s question on who did the recruitment is neither here nor there, although of course the answer is obvious.

The C-in-C, AM Obote had the opportunity to redress some of those imbalances in 1964 following the mutinies in all the EAC countries, following which, Mw. Nyerere disarmed, disbanded and dismissed the colonially recruited Tanganyika Rifles, and set out to form a new force, who were not mere rifles, but JWTZ: Jeshi la Wanainchi. He locked up the leaders of the mutiny. Mzee Kenyatta did the same.

On his part Dr Obote dismissed the 300 or so mutiny leaders on 24 January 1964, and roundly reinstated them on 25 January 1964. He honored all their demands, upheld the promise that Felix Onama made to the soldiers at Jinja Barracks, through a tiny window at the quarter guard, of increasing soldier pay 135-300%…..and promoting all the ring leaders; after which, Uganda’s defence budget became more that 10% higher than that of Kenya and Tanzania combined; and Uganda Army soldiers became the highest paid in Anglophone Africa. The game AM Obote was playing is well-known. The rest, as they say, is hysteria! or is it historia in Swahilli?

Lance Corporal (Rtd) Otto Patrick

How Uganda’s capital came to be called ‘Kampala’

Dear UAH,

I would like to correct a few people telling lies about insects called ’empala’. I am a student of African history from when Africa had no such thing as the Sahara Desert to the present time. I have not read anywhere that there was such insects in Buganda . Unless there are yet some books on Uganda’s history that has escaped my notice.

What I have read is that there were animals on the hill of what is now our capital city that the white man called ‘Impala’. There were so many everywhere that the white men kept referring to the place where these animals were as ‘the hill of the Impalas’. When translated to the natives it sounded like this: “Ako kasozi ka Mpala”.

After some time the words ‘akasozi’ were dropped and there remained the words ‘ka Mpala’. This was later turned into Kampala our present city. This story was narrated to me and other students at the Universsity of London’s School of African Studies (SOAS) by then Dr David Anderson, now Professor of African History at Oxford University. That story makes more sense than yours of insects called ‘’empala’’ because there is another town in Kampala called Bakuli. Do you know why? I will tell you.

There used to be a white man at this place who had a beautiful house and his name was Barclay. Whenever the Baganda passed his house they would marvel ata its beauty and it became known in Luganda as ‘ewa Bakuli’ which, when translated in English was ‘at Barclays’. Yet another story is that of what the Baganda call ‘Mandaazi’ (pancakes). The story goes that one day a white man was doing his rounds of women in the slums of Kampala and met this family that gave him what looked like pancakes. When he put them in his mouth and ate them, he was heard exclaiming: “Man does”. Excited Baganda heard him and told their friends; “He said it is ‘’mandaazi.” The name has remained since!

I think changing the name of Kampala would be a very silly mistake. It is a beautiful name with many sad and good memories for all those that have ever been there.


What does the law say on land evictions in Uganda

Dear UAH,

As you are aware there are four complicated forms of landownership in Uganda unlike in developed nations which reduced to only two, namely, freehold, leasehold. In Uganda we have the former plus two , that is,  mailo and customary. Given the change of circumstances the latter, that is, mailo and customary are likely to be absorbed into the former, that is, freehold(mailo likely to take this form) and  leashold. There are number of pieces of legislations regulating land ownership Uganda. However, the most essential pieces are (a) Land Act 1998 (Ch 227), (b) Land Acquistion Act 1965(Ch 226) and (c) Registration of Titles Act 1924(Ch 230).

As regards the issue of recent so called ‘ Mengo evictions’, it first and foremost depends on how the deprived parties obtained  that land; were they granted  (a)leasehold?  Or b) freehold(?). If any of those, did they bother to register their titles?  Or Is it so that the land in question  was obtained fraudulently? If you are granted either  a  freehold or leasehold, you can’t just be evicted abrutly without an advance notice. The notice can be served to you provided you breach the covenant(e.g failure to pay rent)   between you and your landlord (previous land lord if bought freehold). However though served a notice to vacate, the landlord must seek a court order to lawfully evict you.  Most land disputes are handled by land tibunals, but if  unsuccessful at the tribual level,then the high court, a court which also deals with emergency situations which may require the deprived party to seek an injunction.  So I don’t know well whether the Mengo victims were lawfull freeholders or leaseholders and what exactly transpired.  Did they, for instance, acquire the land fraudulently or just breached the covenant with their landlord(the Kabaka)?

The following section is a good authority on eviction of tenants:

PART XII—ACTIONS AND OTHER REMEDIES   S.176  Registration of Titles Act 1924(Ch 230)

176. Registered proprietor protected against ejectment except in certain
No action of ejectment or other action for the recovery of any land shall lie or be sustained against the person registered as proprietor under this Act, except in any of the following cases—
the case of a mortgagee as against a mortgagor in default;
the case of a lessor as against a lessee in default;
the case of a person deprived of any land by fraud as against the person registered as proprietor of that land through fraud or as vb against a person deriving otherwise than as a transferee bona fide for value from or through a person so registered through fraud;
the case of a person deprived of or claiming any land included in any certificate of title of other land by misdescription of the other land or of its boundaries as against the registered proprietor of that other land not being a transferee of the land bona fide for value;
the case of a registered proprietor claiming under a certificate of title prior in date of registration under this Act in any case in which two or more certificates of title may be registered under this Act in respect of the same land,
and in any case other than as aforesaid the production of the registered certificate of title or lease shall be held in every court to be an absolute bar and estoppel to any such action against the person named in that document as the grantee, owner, proprietor or lessee of the land described in it, any rule of law or equity to the contrary notwithstanding

The best thing to do at the moment is perhaps to enact a new piece of legislation which require compulsory registration of titles(perhap computerised?), just to curb the increase of fraud involved in acquiring land titles in Uganda and regulation of relationships) between the landlord(s) and tenant(s).  England and Wales have very formidable pieces of  legislation, that is, Land Registration Act 2002 and Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996, which address those problems decently.

UPC fiddled with constituency boundaries in 1980 elections

Dear Ugandans at Heart,

1/6:  I am seeing UPC supporters telling you that, “…the constituency demarcations that were used in 1980 were the ones which had been designed for use in the 1971 elections..” .  I wonder where they derive that perception from.  What we know is, that apart from obstructing and terrosizing prospective candidates, UPC rigged the electoral process by gerrymandering: fiddling with constituency boundaries to shortchange other parties.

2/6:  A meeting between representatives of all parties agreed on 126 constituencies each with a population quota of 100,000 (+/- 10,000).  This would have allowed the EC a margin of 20,000 people between the maximum and minimum to manoeuvre in demarcating boundaries, i.e., between 90,000 and 110,000.

3/6 : UPC/Paulo Muwanga/KMS Kikira instead opted for an arbitrary figure of 95,000 (+/- 25,000), thus instead giving the Kikira chaired EC a margin for massive gerrymandering.  UPC then got themselves the range of 70,000 to 120,000 for what runed out to be selective demarcation of constituency boundaries.  Selective in that, in areas where UPC was strong, the lower range of 70,000 applied in order to give a maximum number of constituencies while in DP strongholds, the maximum range of 120,000 applied, to deny DP representation.  For example, if an area with 700,000 people was a UPC stronghold, Mr Kikira demarcated it into 10 constituencies where as a DP stronghold with the same population would be demarcated into 6 constituencies, thus crippling DP right from the start.

4/6 : To illustrate this point, Kampala then with a population of 458,000 should have been demarcated into 5 constituencies with an average of 100,000.  Mr Kikira instead gave Kampala 4 constituencies with 114,606 people.  Likewise, Mpigi with a population of 659,225 should have been demarcated into 7 constituencies.  Mr Kikira gave them 6 with 109,871 people.  Those two were DP strongholds so a constituency had to be shaved off each one of them.  On the contrary, Kitgum with a population fo 307,594 should have had 3 constituencies of 100,000 people.  Since it was supposedly a UPC stronghold, it was given 4, each with 76,899 people.  UPC carried out similar manipulation in Bushenyi, and Mbale.

5/6:  May be UPC supporters from Bushenyi can help us here.  The constituency of Bushenyi North is based on Bunyaruguru county which at the time had a population of 52,161.  To give it the a population quota that was close to the 100,000 otpimum, the logical arrangement was to add to it nearby Kyamuhunga, and Nyabubare (a direct neighbour of Kyamuhunga).  Those two were to come from Igara to give Bushenyi North a population of 103,756 which fell within the stipulated range.  What UPC did was to get far-off Bitereko subcounty with no communication with Bunyaruguru because of an impenetrable forest.  This reduced the population to 101,381 in UPC’c favour.  Bitereko should have been in Bushenyi West with Bumbaire, Mitooma and Kabira with a total of 117,444 people but instead, UPC concoted another arrangement that retained Mitooma and Kabira, but smuggled in Shuuku and Kitagata to reduce the population by over 6,000 to 111,221 etc etc.

6/6:  That fiddling was another level of rigging that UPCs want to distract us from.  So, UPC supporters  should not be telling us about anything to do with constituency integrity because UPC compromised it severely in order to buttress its fraud.  Of course, by such brazen uyaye, they were spoiling for a fight.

I had forgotten to mention to you how, in Mbarara West, the UPC candidate Abass Balinda conceded defeat to DP’s Francis Mwebesa.  He even stated that he stood no chances right from the start.  DP led by just over 3,000 votes.

Come 12 December 1980 after AM Obote and P Muwanga had sequestered themselves with the results in some house in Kololo, Abaas Balinda was declared the winner.


UAH forumist

A matter of indispline within the PGB

Fellow Ugandans,
The moment we let our military police collapse or become secondary in protecting the public, we run the danger of loss on all sides, and the consequences become dire as witnessed here. The American police is made up of former MPS-who are called upon at an instant to lift up such fellows and throw them in the slammer to cool off, the minute such utterances or threats to the public are heard by colleagues of the soldier or any citizen for that matter.
We ought to invest in a special police unit, well armed and capable of dealing with such incidents, militarily.
Major  Felix Kulayigye, has missed the point here, by blaming the victims of this veteran, who had clearly run amok, I wish he had used a different choice of words, that took responsibility and showed some sensitivity towards the grieving families of those whose lives were violently taken, due to lack of proper safe guards and training that would have prevented such an incident from occurring.
This is not the first instance of  indiscipline with the Ugandan Presidential Guard Brigade, the person in charge has to take full responsibility and needs to remind those who have frayed, that they are citizens first and within the confines of the law of Uganda. Guarding the president and visiting dignitaries is a privilege and a professional job, extended to the elite within the security organs, just like being a minister or the president for that matter.
If the president they are supposed to guard: can’t go around prostituting, getting violently drunk or on shooting sprees,every time he is upset, what makes them think that they can do this with impunity?
Major Felix kulayigye, should leave no wavering doubt in the minds of those on this elite force, that they are not immune to prosecution or  public scrutiny and they cannot bring shame to a unit that prides itself in being the best in the world-for it’s job is to protect the president and visiting world leaders.
A test of sobriety should be the first qualifying measure of any would be Guard to the president, to avoid danger to the president or any visiting world leader.
If a man or woman cannot control his or her liquor or is seen prostituting, what makes you think that he won’t sell out the president or a visiting world leader he or she is supposed to protect?
I have not seen the elite men of the secret service in this country bar hoping, prostituting, threaten the public or causing such mayhem as we see in Uganda.
I’m sure the unit has such good men of integrity, but one bad apple can taint the whole Unit, so it is the job of the person in charge of the elite unit to take the matter very seriously, by admitting full responsibility and weeding out fellows of this calibre from the PGB, before it is too late-carry out random urine tests,if you have to but, keep them professional.
Members of this unit are supposed to have passed an high level psychological profile, random sobriety tests, picked from a very intelligent elite class of security, the cream of the crop and exemplary to all other security professionals.
Intolerance to non-professionalism,  individual acts that put it to shame, and avoidance through due diligence such monstrous acts by it’s members ought to be the order of the day. The key here is proactivity, teach them how to tread softly while carrying a big sticks.
That said, we also have to look at the issue of not properly caring for our returning soldiers or those who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I wonder whether the person who is charge of the PGB, is fully aware  that such Rambos exist within his special unit?  If they do exist, he needs to seek help for them, today we have all sorts of pills, therapies, that can help out soldiers in crisis. I truly believe that this fellow was somehow deranged, and had been suffering for a while, and we should start helping our soldiers deal with PTSD.
We cannot afford to expose the president or any visiting dignitary to such dangers, remember Indira Gandhi, Anwar Sadat were all killed by a person from their presidential guard. My condolences to all the families, lets make no excuses please raise the bar, keep them professional.

Tendo Kaluma

The chairman of the EC in the 1980 elections was a UPC member


1/5 It seems some UPC supporters think that the DP had legal channels of redressing their grievances because there was a Mr Ssekono in the EC to manage their compalints, and that Mr Ssekono was the Chariman of the EC and therefore a powerful individual capable of neutralising the manoeuvres of P Muwanga and AM Obote.  When UPC supporters assert that Mr Ssekono was the Chairman of the EC, they are lying…as usual.

2/5 UPC supporters then makes reference to: “…we get entangled with piles of misinformation and disinformation about the election…”..I wonder which piles he is talking about.  Contrary to the piles he feeding us on, Mr Ssekono was the Administrative Secretary – the big clerk of the commission.  The chairman of the EC was a card-bearing UPC diehard Mr KMS Kikira who was strategiically appointed into that position as part of the implimentation of AM Obote’s plan titled “Proposals For trategy Before, During and After Elections”.  AM Obote scripted this plan on 12 th August 1980.  I have attached it for those that did not see it when we circulated it last year.

3/5 Recall that, on December 12 1980, handed back authority to the EC to manage the election process…this meant only announcing the results.  By that time, 3 out of 7 electoral commissioners had been hounded out of their offices and they had disappeared, leaving behind 4.  Mr Ssekono disappeared during the polling process.  He disappeared in fear for his life after receiving threats when he refused to succumb to Mr Muwanga’s pressures to be party to rigging.

4/5 According to Mr Ssekono himself, earlier on during the polls, he had been hurriedly summoned to Obote’s home at Kololo to meet AM Obote.  AM Obote told him that if he, Ssekono, interfered with the UPC’s victory he would pay with his life.  AM Obote told Mr Sekono that he and the UPC had fought against Amin and they therefore had to come to power at any cost. Mr Ssekono had to abandon the exercise and flee the country. Mr Muwanga took over the powers of the commission onn Mr Kikira’s advice when it was realised that it would not be possible for the EC team to be unanimous on rigging.

5/5 Note that, the UPC were already weary of Mr Ssekono, and they had him in ther sights.  In fact, on 9 December 1980, Mr Ssekono’s personal assistant was shot dead at his home in Makindye when he was invaded by 10 UNLA soldiers.  So, when Mr Mulindwa keeps talking about MR Ssekono, does he really know what he is talking aabout?

Regarding the UPC candidates that stood unopposed, UPC supporters want us to forget one additional point.  By virtue of Section 20 of the National Assembly (Elections) Act 1957 according to which the 1980 elections were conducted, every nomination required to be proposed, seconded and supported by at least 12 voters registered in the constituency.  A voter is registered when his name is present on a register.  There was no ammendment of the law by which that legal requirement was waived.  Therefore, the declaration of the 8 West Nile constituencies as won by UPC “unopposed” was a case of a lame duck laying a putrid egg.

There was no registration of voters in the whole of Westile, i,e., the zone covered by the four Arua constituencies, the two Nebbi constituencies and the Moyo constituency that made up the 8 “unopposed” seats in West Nile.  Because there were no registered voters in those 8 constituencies, there could possibly have never been any proposer, seconder or supporter of any nominee.  Accordingly all nominations in Arua, Nebbi and Moyo were void ab initio.
So, who proposed, seconded and supported those 8 UPC candidates?  When you make a mockery of the law so brazenly, then, no one will waste their time appealing to the courts.  UPC was clearly spoiling for a fight.

Lance Corporal (Rtd) Otto Patrick

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