One UAH forumist asked me two things; firstly whether I was “justified to apply lessons learnt and not learnt by EW Mutesa with what will bounce off RM Mutebi’s head, and secondly “what does Mmengo want”?
Regarding the first question, what I had in mind when I stated that HH Kabaka Mutebi has shown that he has carefully studied the options that faced his late father is that it appears to me that the present Kabaka Mutebi is handling similar (but not exactly the same)conflicts better than his late father Sir Edward Mutesa. How do I justify this? I will give you two examples to illustrate my point.
In March 1961 following the DP victory in the self government election, Ben Kiwanuka the DP leader said from Entebbe, and I quote: ” My first step is to work towards an agreement on Buganda. I shall try to meet the Kabaka, if possible, and see what we can do in the ending of the present impasse.. The Kabaka is known to me personally, and if he agrees to have personal talks we might come to understanding”. Kabaka Mutesa, or rather his government reacted by issuing a statement saying that it would not be possible for Mr. Kiwanuka to see the Kabaka “in the manner and the spirit in which he made the statement”. Thus personal ego prevented Kabaka Mutesa from meeting with Ben Kiwanuka, and an opportunity was missed when Buganda might have made a settlement early and not waited until when it was too late and then tried to make a deal with the UPC. The outcome of a Kiwanuka v Mutesa meeting might have impacted differently than a meeting of Obote v Mutesa. We will never know the answer because Mutesa ignored the first option. Faced with a similar call by the head of state for a personal meeting last week Kabaka Mutebi accepted and met with President Museveni even if the invitation was made publicly and in somewhat bad mood. Thus Kabaka Mutebi showed that on this occasion he was interested in substance and not personal ego. Mutebi has thus averted a bad situation from becoming worst, at least for the time being.
The second example is from the Buganda crisis of 1953 which led to the deportation of Sir Edward Mutesa to England by Governor Sir Andrew Cohen. The conflict started over the issue of the East African Federation when on 30 June, 1953 the Colonial Secretary Oliver Lyttleton made a statement during a speech saying, and I quote: “Nor should we exclude from our minds the evolution, as time goes on, of still larger measure of unification, and possibly of still larger measures of federation of the whole of the East African territories”. Buganda Kingdom had always been very sensitive and opposed to the East African Federation because it was viewed that an EA federation would greatly diminish Buganda Kingdom. On this occasion Buganda was alarmed and Kabaka Mutesa through his ministers wrote a protest letter and sought clarification from the Governor. The following day before the Governor had even replied the Mengo letter on EA federation Mengo sent another letter to the Governor asking for Buganda independence, “within a specific stated time”. A few days later still, the Lukiiko refused to nominate Buganda representatives into the Uganda Legislative Council. When the governor asked Sir Edward Mutesa to advice the Lukiiko to drop their demand for independece Mutesa refused, and went further to state that in fact he would publicly demand for independence before the Lukiiko, and that he would discourage the Lukiiko from changing its mind on the Uganda Legislative Assembly. Thus what started as a small misunderstanding quickly snowballed into a full blown crisis. On 30Th November 1953, the Governor Cohen finally asked the Kabaka to give 100% assurance that he would cooperate with the Colonial Government as per 1900 Agreement. Mutesa refused and he was deported. On the other hand we saw during the recent stand off over Kayunga things quickly got out of control with rioting etc. How did Kabaka mutebi respond? By abiding with government prohibition on his trip to Kayunga, by appearing in Masaka a few days later and calming the situation and by meeting with President Museveni yet a few days later. These were two different conflicts but it appears to me that Kabaka Mutebi this time handled his conflict with President Museveni better than his father did his with Governor Cohen.
Does it mean that Kabaka Mutebi is any softer on Buganda’s demands than his father was? My answer would be absolutely NO, as far as the substance of the demands are today.
This brings me to your next question of what does Mengo want? It would appear at first glance that Mengo’s demands are obviously in the public domain. I have myself posted here what I have seen from public documents published by Mengo as a list of their demands which include, firstly, restoration to the Kingdom of Buaganda the 9000sq mile of land currently held by the Uganda Land Commission, which in turn has decentralized authority over to various districts in which the lands are found, secondly, the City of Kampala to become part of Buganda Kingdom area, thirdly, Uganda should become a federal state with proposed 13 states, forthly, recognition of special status of HH the Kabaka, to include immunity from prosecution, immunity from personal taxation, to rank third in national protocol in national activities happening within Buganda, and lastly, the Land Act 2005 to be reviewed to give greater protection to land lords . These are the five major demands that Buganda has stated publicly. However, with Mengo experience has shown that nothing is straightforward or should be taken for granted. So, for instance under the demands for the Kabaka immunities and protocol ranking, Mengo could still smuggle in at a later date a notion that by ranking third in protocol after the president and vice president respectively during ceremonies held in Buganda, the Kabaka was therefore regarded as “the figurehead of Buganda”. This would completely changethe dynamics of the notion of a cultural figure, as the kabaka is at present.
So, if you asked me to state entirly all that Mengo wants, I could not with certainty say what they are. I much less can say categorically that I know all that Mengo wants, because with Mengo you just never know for certain. Mengo is full of surprises.