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.
Secretary General & Chief Administrator, UDU