Baganda must stop blaming Banyankole for their suffering

I am writing this story fully aware of the potential political cost. But the story has to be told in order to identify the cause of Baganda suffering and put the matter to rest for good.

Virtually every weekend you hear someone on Hollywood-based Radio Munansi complaining that Baganda are suffering because of Banyankole and when time comes the latter will pay a heavy price. I heard this narrative again when I was in London for the conference on federalism at the end of October, 2012.

I have written some articles on this subject demonstrating that Banyankole have nothing to do with Baganda marginalization and suffering. The majority of Banyankole are suffering like other exploited Ugandans under the NRM government. We also need to draw a distinction between Banyankole and the ruling Batutsi many of them Rwandese that have settled in Uganda particularly in Buganda (have adopted Luganda names and speak Luganda language) since the 1959 social revolution in Rwanda.

Discussing this subject of Batutsi in Uganda and their direct and indirect wrong doing has been made extremely difficult by anti-sectarian law and accusations of genocide promotion which Batutsi have taken advantage of to entrench themselves in Uganda and are in the process of taking over the country under the guidance of Museveni using most of the time Uganda citizens mostly Baganda in return for favors.

It is the Batutsi that have been “adopted” and put in power by Baganda that are using Baganda to cause Baganda marginalization and suffering. So it is Baganda themselves used by Museveni that are causing Baganda suffering. Museveni uses individuals to cause suffering of their kith and kin. Baganda must accept this bitter truth in order to overcome the challenges that face them. Blaming someone else isn’t a solution at all. And accusing me of anti-Baganda and anti-Batutsi rhetoric won’t help either.

Many people including politicians know this reality but won’t call a spade a spade for fear of losing Baganda political support. They will say what Baganda want to hear like giving them federo when some don’t even understand what federo is for the sake of buying Baganda support. I am going to seek Baganda support in a different way by telling them the truth so that together we can find a lasting solution to their suffering which is real. Here is the story.

During preparation for the 1980 elections, Museveni wanted to be DP’s flag bearer. Banyankole categorically refused. He then formed a political party Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM) and contested a parliamentary seat in Ankole and lost to Kutesa his current minister of foreign affairs because Banyankole didn’t like Museveni. UPM won one seat in the whole country, signaling that Museveni’s political career through the ballot box had run into serious trouble. He was not prepared to wait for the next elections and try his luck.

He opted for a military solution. He realized that Banyankole who had rejected him politically wouldn’t support him militarily against Obote and UPC II government. He then turned to Buganda where Baganda collectively were unhappy with the 1980 results that returned to power their arch political UPC and Obote “enemy“.

Thus, Baganda brought Museveni back to public life; “adopted” him and gave him all the support he needed including Luwero Triangle territory to wage a guerrilla war from against UPC and Obote government. The majority of Batutsi mercenaries that fought the guerrilla war were hired in Buganda particularly in the Luwero area.

Museveni promised Baganda and Catholics many things including federo as Sam Njuba reminded us in a conversation with Observer reporter. It was expected that the next president after removal of Obote would be a Catholic or a Muganda particularly the late Lule who was chairman of NRM. When Lule passed on a year before Kampala fell to Museveni guerrillas, he was not replaced. Instead Museveni became acting chairman and by default president.

Museveni was fully aware that Baganda who adopted him would be unhappy and would not continue to back him up. He decided to break their back using Baganda, indigenous and assimilated (non-Baganda who speak Luganda and use Baganda names but are essentially not Baganda).

Museveni hoodwinked them by giving Baganda high status positions like vice presidents, prime ministers, vice chairman of NRM, speaker of parliament, second and third deputy prime ministers and ministers of internal affairs, finance, foreign affairs and constitutional affairs and many others as well as chairman of Land Board. Catholics for the first time got into the cabinet like never before. Museveni was indeed their man and redeemer! They didn’t pay attention to the wrongdoing Museveni embarked upon.

Museveni then used Baganda to draft the constitution that introduced legalized free mobility and settlement and ownership of land anywhere in Uganda, to defeat Ssemogerere in 1996 elections and to pass the land law and Greater Kampala bills. Baganda had forgotten how Obote used them to defeat Kiwanuka. Obote and Museveni were not working hand in hand for the good of Baganda and the country but for themselves. And they hid their true motives by talking what Baganda wanted to hear.

When the first four year term of NRM government came to an end, Baganda were among the most vocal in supporting an extension. Badru Mulumba writes “… when the subject of terminating Museveni’s rule in January 1990 came up, Cardinal Nsubuga went public with his continued support for Mr. Museveni. He made a passionate but strong appeal for giving Museveni an extra five years in order to stabilize the country and arrange for orderly succession” (Daily Monitor February 16, 2006).

Before joining NRM government, Apollo Nsibambi wrote a lot about land privatization and inviting immigrants to own land in Buganda. In his article “The Land Question and Conflict”, Apollo Nsibambi argues that “We must have a clear land policy with an unambiguous ideological focus. Private ownership of land must be affirmed. … Evicted people must be compensated at market prices.

“The government should encourage those faced with a land shortage to move to places where land is abundant, through providing information. … It is gratifying to note that already many Bakiga [or Batutsi] who are facing land shortage have bought land in Buganda and Kasese. This trend should be encouraged” (Kumar Rupesinghe 1989). He was rewarded with premiership. And the chairman of the Land Board is Mayanja Nkangi when he left the cabinet where he served inter alia as minister of finance.

Major bills including the land bill and creation of Greater Kampala that has transferred administration from Kampala City Mayor to State House were passed by parliament when Edward Ssekandi was speaker. He was rewarded with a promotion to the post of vice president. There are also some stories (to be confirmed) that Gilbert Bukenya did a lot for Museveni in Buganda including re-electing him president and he too was rewarded with promotion and extension of the post of vice president. Many parliament members from Buganda have also been helpful in promoting Museveni agenda hopefully in return for a ministry appointment or travel allowances, etc.

These illustrations show unambiguously that it is mostly Baganda acting in self interest rather than in the interest of Buganda and fellow Baganda that have contributed in large part to marginalization of Buganda and suffering of Baganda that is spreading and deepening. Baganda have lost most of their land and without territory, you have no sovereignty. But it’s not too late to make corrections provided there is leadership that cares. That is why selection of the next crop of leaders needs to be undertaken carefully through reasoning and not romanticism or tribal or religious emotions.

Ipso facto, instead of blaming Banyankole who have had nothing to do with the suffering of Baganda, Baganda themselves must accept that it is Baganda leaders that have betrayed their people and allowed themselves to be used by Museveni to hurt their people. Once this sad situation has been accepted then a strategy to address it will be developed.

UDU is prepared to join hands with all interested parties to draw up a plan to arrest what is happening in Buganda and to reverse course to return Buganda to its “Golden Days”.

It is important to note that time has come to recast the method by which we have selected leaders. We had hoped that military leaders would ease suffering caused by civilian UPC and Obote governments. We embraced Amin and Museveni without understanding their origin and what they really stood for. Now it is clear that military leaders have disappointed Uganda. It is also clear that to develop you don’t need to be led by one of your own.

If that were the case Buganda would be far ahead of others since independence in 1962. Buganda has had five presidents: Kabaka Mutesa II, Lule, Binaisa and if Muwanga who served as head of the Military Commission and Museveni as adopted Muganda are included. Buganda has had four vice presidents: Muwanga, Kisseka, Bukenya and Ssekande. Buganda has had four prime ministers: Muwanga, Kisseka, Musoke and Nsibambi. Buganda has also dominated the ministry of finance and central bank. Yet Buganda is retrogressing as we hear in the media.

The conclusion that can safely be drawn is that Uganda needs a leader committed to lift all communities of Uganda to a higher level of development by creating an enabling environment like a federal system of governance that allows different regions, districts or communities to design and implement their own development programs with minimal central government involvement to set national standards and norms. That is the policy UDU would put in place.

Following the London conference on federalism in Uganda we are in the process of setting up a national working committee and a subsequent national convention to consult all Ugandans about the relevance of a federal system of governance as a replacement for the unitary system that concentrates power in the central government and hasn’t worked well in Uganda since 1967. Unlike in the past, we have finished talking and have begun implementation since the October 2012 London conference.
Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General & Chief Administrator, UDU



10 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Musoke Smart,

    As an intellectual Muganda and one who truthfully loves my Kingdom,the Kabaka and my Clan of which I am also illegible to be a clan leader in future. While I do agree that many Ugandans including my own tribe -the Baganda all feel marginalised due to the current trend of theft of public funds,corruption as well as giving jobs to family members and friends. To some of Ugandans including my self, we do not agree that all Banyankole are enjoying the fruits of NRA revolution of robbing Uganda under the Dictator Mu7.

    When a country is feeding just a few selection of individuals, it is imminent that the rest will feel disgruntled,marginalised and and indeed discriminated against by those enjoying the national resources as it’s the case now.

    However, again if we are to look critically at the recent OPM scandals of theft, some of those involved are not Banyankole but rather Baganda an Northerners .

  2. When we say Banyankole we dont mean the entire tribes men, we all ve Banyankole friends who are even worse off than some us, Its just a cliche because most Govt posts are headed or occupied by Banyankole .

  3. Eric good presentation. however what you are trying to show the people again u have used it in the body by generalizing that baganda have helped m7 to succeed in his moves. remember u have mentioned a few people in your article and not the entire kingdom. This means if a few people can represent others then , it dilutes your article because even even u , u have mentioned a few and not the kingdom. Even when they say banyankole , museveni, mbabazi, kaihura,nyakairima,tumwine,otafire,tinyefunza extra they don’t mean all but a few which sounds to generalize the whole tribe/region.
    Therefore, lets all agree that a few individual can be picked as a sample to generalise the situation but it doesn’t really mean that, all the people are victims of the circumstance.

  4. ToneyRed,

    The banyankole are not a tribe like the rest of Ugandans, but a caste based society.

  5. Peter Okello Maber,

    Let me join this debate by disagreeing with the assertion that Baganda are marginalised under Museveni. Assuming we take the elites in government, the second largest, if not the largets sinlge group, in top government positions are Baganda. This fact alone disapproves the assertion that Baganda are marginalised by Museveni.

    In the private sector which gets a lot of money from the government, the largest buinesses which get juicy contracts from government are owned by Baganda. Based on this fact alone, one can not say that Baganda are marginalised.

    If you come to Kampala now, you will learn that most of the shopping acardes are owned by Baganda businessmen and as a group they are richest fellas in the country. They control the most lucratives businesses in the country. This fact also dispels the claim that Baganda are marginalised by Museveni.

    In terms of corruption as somebody mentions, Baganda can not be left out among the big players. The fraud in the pensions office involved Baganda as well eg Kiwanuka Kunsa, Lubega the IT man etc. The same is true about the scum in the OPM.

    If by marginalisation of Baganda, it is meant that Museveni has not adhered to the dictates/demands of Mengo, then we may have something to debate about here. But is also true that some Baganda see a Uganda where Buganda is not given a previleged position like in the past, as the marginalisation of Buganda.

    If Baganda who are well placed in Uganda due to historical factors, can say they are marginalised, what will other groups like the Acholi, Karamojong, Sebei, Bamba etc say?

    I believe that as a country, we should identity the challenges we all face regardless of our tribes and try some solutions to those problems. Currently, we are faced with a serious challenges of corruption, poor service delivery etc. These problems know no tribe!

    Even if we assume that Baganda are marginalised, we must be careful to separate the previleged Baganda from the down trodden ones. These two groups belong to different classes and can not always be taken as the same. The interests of the previleged groups are miles apart from those of the peasants just like in the rest of the country!!

  6. obee,

    @Musoke. Oloka and obeyi are not northerners but rather From the east(Tororo). Not every one who’s Name starts with O is a Northerner.

  7. Kasozi (London),

    Naye banange temulaba nga ekintu ekigenda oku malawo emitaawana gye gwanga lyaffe bebantu abaagatibwa awamu olweempaka nga bo benyini tebeesimidde okwegatula buli bantu nebabera boka nze ndaba kyekisinga tweyawule tubere munsi yaffe buganda eyo butonde naababalala bakole bwebatyo emitawana bwegigya okukoma


  8. Peter Okello Maber,

    Obey comes from western Uganda – Ntungamo to be specific.Oloka comes from Tororo (Japland) to be specific again. Corruption knows no tribe, region or religion!!!!!!!!!

  9. Emmy,

    Mr Eric K you said Baganda must stop blaming Banyankole for their suffering, Banyarwanda, Corruption, Museven, Sectarianism and Puplic Service. You said Banyankole are suffering like other exploited Ugandans. You said ruling Batutsi many of Rwandese whom are using Baganda after settling in Buganda adapted Luganda names and speak Luganda language since 1959 after social revolution in Rwanda are the problem. I was hoping to hear some these Banyarwandas names. You started V Presidents then the Primer ministers you yourself say they were all Baganda helping M7. Who was munyarwanda among them. Listen you are doing the same mistake Rwakasisi and Rurangaranga did, they call their political opponents Banyarwanda etc What happened plus the result go ask them if you don’t know. You did not call a spade a spade sorry my friend. You can’t be a Catholic than a Pope. I mean you can’t be Ugandan than Obote, Amin, Lule, Binaisa, Lutwa Museven and all former Presidents. I may be wrong but I never been in a first family, doesn’t matter how they came in power.

  10. Mukasa Tome,

    Uganda has tested long enough the unitary systems of governess. This system can work well societies that are multi-ethic. What Uganda has goon through all these years is simply natural these social management problems tribalism, nepotism, name them are natural what does the bible say about sharing or what do humans do when they get something good? it is your brother you have to think about first. This is only natural we can blame Obote, blame Amin and today Museveni but what did you expect them to do. What will a Muganda do when he gets the same chance or what do you expect an Ateso to do when he lands a chance to run Uganda? Your guess is as good as mine. Uganda is fighting to keep what has failed in the former Soviet Union, in Yugoslavia, the UK and recently killings by Mr. Misovic and his friends. Why is Europe divided according to languages? There are the boundaries that make up Europe, these countries are formed out people who speak the same language. The Katogo we have in Africa is only good for fueling the problems we have seen in Uganda. There is one solution to all this let all work for our regions and compete in developing as opposed to robbing Uganda’s resources. Federal system of governess is what this country needs.

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