I do not condone sectarianism, but I think it is fair to say that as a region Buganda has been DISPROPORTIONATELY TOLERANT. Buganda has generally welcomed all Ugandans to work, study, settle and prosper in Buganda. To my mind Buganda has elected people from other “tribes”/communities to represent them in Parliament, these included Daudi Ochieng (Acholi), Ojok Mulozi (Acholi), Dr. B.N Kununka (Munyoro), one Asian and One white.
Today, there are many business men and women from other parts of Uganda who own businesses, land and estates deep in the heartlands of Buganda who have never been segregated against, and have only received cooperation and support from Baganda. It is fair to say that the same would be very difficult to come by in other parts of Uganda.
The problem has to be with the failure of our constitution and political process which have consistently failed to bring about long lasting stable and peaceful Uganda. Instead Buganda and the Baganda have borne the brunt of political and social instability leading to deaths and untold suffering.As an Acholi, I am tempted to refer to our own sufferings here, and so would Ugandans from everywhere. To the Baganda these visitations are foreign.
And the sentiments are borne by the facts. The latter KAR of the 1940s and 50s that were used by the colonial government to brutally suppress the 1945 and 1949 rebellions in Buganda disproportionately consisted of men from the northern and eastern Uganda.
After Independence, the army and men who stormed the Lubiri in 1966, deposed the Kabaka, and assisted in the abrogation of the Great Lukiiko and Saza Councils disproportionately came from other parts of Uganda.
The Military coup of Iddi Amin in 1971 and the subsequent brutal regime visited upon Ugandans including the Buganda ofcourse, was staged by men who disproportionately came from outside Buganda.
The military coup of 1985 and the subsequent deaths and sufferings it caused in Buganda and other parts of Uganda was staged by men who predominately came from outside Buganda.
The Luwero NRA war and the subsequent untold genocide it visited on Buganda was orchestrated by men and women who predominantly came from outside Buganda. The fact the Baganda were later sucked in and participated on the side of Yoweri Museveni was the reaction of victims trying to survive a brutal war.
The events of the 11th September 2009 which led to many deaths of the people of Buganda was the result of the brutish suppression by an army which is disproportionately staffed by men and officers from outside Buganda. Most of the UPDF is dominated by westerners not people from other tribes.
I therefore fully understand the sentiments which are allegedly expressed by some Baganda on UAH forum. There is indeed a need to get rid of the “cockroaches” out of Buganda and Uganda too.
A NEW BEGINNING
The events of September 2009 set all our minds focused on the way forward for our country. I personally would prefer to see the following happen.
1. The government to kickstart a genuine debate on the future form of governance which Uganda should have, in particular the constitutional issues of federalism with a view of finding a lasting solution.
2. The government should pursue these debates in the national interest through multi partisan approach, so as to take on board the views of the opposition parties.
3.The opposition parties should come out clearly and contribute constructively to the constitutional debate about federalism or otherwise.One welcomes Mr. Joseph Ochieno’s(UPC) stated approach of new politics of “not sitting on the fence”. Therefore, the opposition themselves should state their comprehensive policy positions on the difficult issues of federalism. The opposition have opportunity to state their policies on these issues during the party delegates conferences, and national elections campaigns and on forums such as UAH. Stating merely that “we shall give federalism to Buganda” is no longer enough.
4. Parliament should in due course come forward with the necessary law authorizing a new Constitution that addresses all the particularism of the different “tribes” and regions of Uganda. The Odoki Constitution Commission found that 68% of Ugandans were in favour of a federal constitution. The time to implement these wishes is now.
Pilipo Oruni Oloya
An Acholi and a UAH forumist residing in London