‘Ebyaffe’:Asking for gombololas before regaining federal status is putting the cart before the horse

'Sir Edward with some of his children, Dorothy (Right) Sarah (left) and Ronnie in the middle.'

‘Sir Edward with some of his children, Dorothy (Right) Sarah (left) and Ronnie in the middle.’

The Traditional Rulers (Restitution of Assets and Properties) Act 1993 (Ch 247) lists the properties below as those assets to be restored to Buganda’s traditional leader. The “Akenda” and all that it represents in reality is none of those properties. Just for your information.
1. The Bulange
2.The Lubiri at Mengo
3.The Butikkiro
4.The Buganda Court Building
5.Kabaka’s official 350 square miles of land
6.Namasole’s ten square miles of land
7.Banalinya’s land
8.Kabaka’s lake
9.Former Omulamuzi and Omuwanika’s official residences of Mengo
10.Land adjacent to Lubiri on which three Buganda Ministerial houses used to stand
11. All Bassekabaka’s Tombs
12. Buganda Works Building at Kakeeka
13. Basiima House
14. Nalinya’s house at Lubaga

My intention is to give forumists an objective basis for constructive debate, instead of relying on subjectivity, emotion and conjencture. I do not care what the government of the day has failed to do, or what it needs to do. There are certain facts that Ugandans need to know. If they should disregard them, it should not be because they did not know.

The question of land is of crucial national importance and in all probability; its ramifications will outlive the many governments that will grace Uganda for years to come. It is a non-partisan issue and it requires a non-opportunistic, supraethnic and transcultural reflection.
The focus of my contribution to the debate thus far has been on the haze and falsification surrounding the so-called Akenda, and not whether or not the government of Uganda has upheld the law in regard to the Traditional Rulers (Restitution of Assets and Properties) Act 1993. It is very important that government hands back whatever the law indicates as properties/assets that should be returned; but this does not seem to be the issue at hand.

The current debate on Buganda assets does not seem to dwell on implementation of the law as it is; but forcing its amendment by stealth, arm-twisting/haranguing/black mail of the managers of the country to ‘return’ even what is not covered by the act. “Akenda” is talked about as though it is part of those 14 items. If it is felt that it should have been on the list then the priority now should be for amending that law to include the “Akenda” and everything else that those concerned feel should have been included. Bottom-line, have the law amended. Ask those that propounded and promulgated that law to explain why they decided to couch it that way…there must have been some rationale. Noise, name-calling, insults, Tutsi, Balaalo etc may not achieve much. Some in Buganda seems to think otherwise!

I suppose amagombolola/amasaza were not included on the list because they were not part of the assets that were personal to the Kabaka, but rather, they were part of the infrastructure for the political governance of Buganda. As long as political governance of Buganda continues to be a necessity, the authority that undertakes that task is the one that should have entitlement to use that infrastructure. If it is the federal state of Buganda, it will have that entitlement. If Uganda is overrun and occupied by aliens from Mars and they take over the responsibility of managing Buganda politically, it would be silly of Uganda to clamour for those gombololas. If the Martians are thrown out by aliens from Jupiter, the latter will be the ones with the sole entitlement to use that infrastructure. In fact, you should count your blessings over the ‘return’ of 1 and 4 in the act.

Up to 1966, the political authority in Buganda was the Kingdom structure under a federal dispensation. From that time, Uganda reverted to unitarism, the Kabaka lost political authority over the region and logically, he lost the right to using the infrastructure for the political management of the province. Gombololas are the counties where people reside. The physical infrastructure called Gombolola Headquarters is used by the political authority managing the gombolola. In 1966 the Mengo authority lost the right to manage Buganda politically, so it had to vacate that infrastructure and give way to the authority that was from then on, going to manage the province politically, i.e., the central government. Infrastructure for the political management of Buganda is not the personal property of the Kabaka. It is official property for the people of Buganda.

If you want the gombolola buildings back, the first thing to do is to launch a campaign for political authority over Buganda to be returned to the Kabaka, i.e., the reversion to federalism. Asking for gombololas before regaining federal status is putting the cart before the horse….or worse, putting the quart before the hearse (…or being fatally drank…). It is like a dismissed soldier who clamours for regaining his combat helmet, without first launching a campaign for being reinstated in service…i.e., turning logic on its head. The latter appears to me to be the pervasive failing of the pro-Mengo lobby.

There is need to urgently rethink that whole notion of “Buganda assets”. It is ill-thought out, it disregards the existence of the Uganda state, it is misguided, infantile and potentially problematic for Buganda herself.

Lance Corporal (Rtd) Otto Patrick



One Comment so far. Leave a comment below.
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