Category Federalism


Thanks for welcoming me back although Abbey Semuwemba knew I had not fully abandoned you great Ugandans(The young man has a way of binding us together!!) I just tend to busy myself up and sometimes out. There is this non- resting American spirit of chasing air, so called great American dream(call it extreme competition for survival, may be fast paced America, etc, but it is bothersome) But again, I am here now to debate with you.

OK, surely Rwakasisi may not be a hero in Bushenyi where the party politics have been played on religious foundation. UPC for protestants and DP for Catholics.He of is an Anglican faith (pro) and yet the Catholics are more in number, probably more than the protestants and Muslims combined.If kony is real, then we shall never blame him for what he did but instead blame those that have been hunting him down. Why should you blame Rwakasisi who was hunting down Museveni and group, the rebels that were terrorizing Uganda then,moreover in the city surburbs. Do you know that Rwanda, Congo, sudan, Kenya have all enjoyed our Ugandan mundane blood baths because of Museveni? Shouldn’t Rwakasisi have done what he did to stop such a criminal? Since he failed to capture the rebel don’t you clearly see the repucursions in Uganda and our neighborhood? Why don’t you respect men and women of vision? Rwak- is a real Ugandan and a long time true nationalist. I salute him just like many people in Uganda would as long as they have the ability to discern the truth from lies and also having the ability to mount their vision on an anthill that is not common ground for treading. We need philosophers on this forum!!!!!

Why do people accuse UPC of killing people and exonerate Museveni and his Banyarwanda bandits that waged war on us, would kill your people and come lie to you the next day, you fed them, slept with them, and then now turn around and say UPC did it. Weren’t prominent Baganda like Samson Kisseka, Muwenda Mutebi, Cardinal Nsubuga etc, supporting and financing Museveni? Did he not go to war when we were still grieving the war losses of 1979? Did he not terrorize Buganda for 6 years, killed Luwerians and you still applauded him up to the present?

As for NRM in Bushenyi, it seems Catholics claimed its strength more than the protestants, as you can see how arrogantly confident Saverino Otafiire is , Tarasisiyo Kabwegyere is crowned, and of course among the protestants there are faithful servants or slaves, notably Okurut Karoro who covers crime in her annoying writings to reap from NRM, Richard Nduhura and the recent NRM rebel, Amanya Mushega.There are protestants who feel they must sell their professionalism to any political party for they either feel indispensable or the society deems them so, and Professor E.Kamuntu is one of them. For the rest, I need not say much for just the mentioned are my core home chaps.

As for federalism, I strongly support it, and I was so thrilled a few days ago when I learnt my home dispensary in Bushenyi district which was opened by the Ankole secretary, Mr. Bananuka(RIP) when I was a very little girl has been upgraded and some surgical procedures can be done there(has electricity at last) I even felt I could go around soliciting AID for it from the US, but I need to get more information about it, and when I go home this summer I want to visit it, take pictures, and surely feel at home there. And may be one day it will be expanded into a hospital, and that would be fantastic.

With federalism, some of us would remain in our homes, sending our children to near by schools we have constructed ourselves, attend churches with our people, advise and encourage people we know and connect with in our home communities, and the grow together economically as we combine forces, in thought or even practically.

I surely find it very, very great that in America people live in their childhood homes for generations, study, go to church or mosque and work in their local communities for the rest of their lives! Then I ponder on how many times I have formed homes away from home,and yet none is home mainly for search of an education, employment and the inevitable pains, risks and loss of money as well as roots that go with this wandering about.

Those who enjoy the federal system of life and governance have their internal set of rules that form a nice subset of the bigger federal father laws that encompass all the federal regions and are really happy. Sometimes I wonder when we all shall stop flocking to Kampala seeking to study in your grandfather’s school at Budo, which seems to be an eye sore for some ugly Ugandans setting it ablaze recently or looking for jobs at Mulago, Makerere, Entebbe, BOU etc. Looking for cheap and yet unsafe housing in Kampala, going to buy food in the markets when one would be picking matooke from their banana plantantion in Bushenyi or Obumonde (kigezi potatoes) from their own gardens.

As I grow older, I see the numerous advantages of federalism, how much it would increase on our regional economic development, scientific and cultural innovations as well as improving on the mutual respect for our different ethnic backgrounds for we all need one another. As for the country staying together yet under a federal system, we would have to adopt the American style of a unitary government,yet federal in nature where talent is tapped into through debates, personal achievement,good citizenship and responsibility and having a well trained police and army,navy forces that are well paid or catered for . We must enforce cultural rules and values such as one man one wife, so that we streamline family structure and responsibilities. Condemning rapists, child sacrificers/murders to firing squad would also probably depend on each federal region or state. (they deserve it) People would still be allowed to live where they want to but again such people would have to conform to the rules and laws within the federal region they go to, such as property taxes, carrying a driver’s licence or Id of that area etc.

I would say no one in Uganda is probably more ready for federalism than me, even when I know my home region, Bushenyi, does not have the natural resources that other regions have such as the rich alluvial soils of Toro, the Fossil Fuel of Bunyoro, The Great lake of Buganda and Busoga. Natural resources would be an added advantage,but can be ignored for the greater good. We still can capitalize on brain development and export man power within home regions or abroad and still earn big from monetary remittances. The benefits of federalism do not only limit themselves to one’s home pride but can be cosmopolitan, through export of man power. Residents of any federal state will get the right medical attention, education they deserve. It is easly to identify problems, solve them under federalism. Mwaana wagundi amanyi mwaana wagundi or so and so has migrated into the region, and is documented.As Simple as that.

All federal states/regions must be bound by an irrevocable constitution though, unless they all decide otherwise.

Jeniffer Biri
Originally from Bushenyi but living in NewYork

Seven demerits of federalism and five merits of unitarism…… I got them from S/Sgt Mwaipopo.

Dear netters,

When I was attending my Junior Non Commissioned Officers’ course from which I graduated as a Lance Corporal, they gave us Civics lessons which included a Doze Of Political Economy, DOPE, hence you will hear Mr Barigye rightly stating that Otto is on dope.

They taught us about systems of government and forms of government. The two systems highlighted were unitarism and federalism. They told us about the seven demerits of federalism and I list them here below for us to debate, if indeed we have the nerve:

1.It creates a deficient authority over component states and individual citizens especially in new states of the 3rd world where the process of nation building and state making is in its early stages.
2.It creates liability to dissolution by the seccession or rebellion of states especially when the core of the federation is an entity that enjoyed independent and hegemonic existence prior to the federation.
3.It creates liability to division into groups and factions by the formation of separate combinations of component states
4.It causes absence of the power of legislation on certain subjects where uniform legislation for the whole state is needed
5.It makes want of uniformity among the states in legislation and administration
6.It leads to trouble, expenses, and delay due to complexity of a double system of legislation and administration.
7.It weakens foreign policy

The Tanzanian military instructor (S/Sgt Mwaipopo he was called) also told us that, whenever you see one subnational unit out of several, singly and persistently and at times cantankerously pressing for autonomy while other subunits are not interested, then what you are dealing with is not federalism, but rather, the toxin called separatism or the early stages of secessionism. That staff Sergeant told us that the doctrine of nationbuilding and statemaking stipulates that, in such cases of suspect separatism, an NCO’s reflex response is to cork his rifle immediately!

He also added that, in the basic principles of political practice, federation happens through the path of separate state entities agreeing to come together and have some of their affairs managed by a central authority. That is to say, the central government is created by the constituent members through the act of federation. Individual political units do not beg/pester/nag/harangue/hector/armtwist/blackmail the central government to give them the federal status. The Staff Segeant told us that, asking for ‘federo’ turns logic on its head and that it is the central authority that is supposed to be at the mercy of the federal states and not the other way round!

I still believe him.

Also allow me to give you the merits of unitarism…… I got them from S/Sgt Mwaipopo.

1.It is a very effective and efficient form of government. The central government is all-powerful, and as such, it can take any step to meet the situation before it and is particularly effective in new countries that are still lacking in socio-political integration between groups and regions, i.e., countries that are very low on the scale of nation building and state-making.
2.It proves very successful in dealing with the conditions of emergency.
3.It is a flexible government. The constitution can be amended easily (yes!) by the central government according to the exigencies of the situation. It may delegate some of its powers to local units, or take them back without any difficulty (yes!) in the light of the obtaining circumstances.
4.It brings uniformity of administration and legislation. Since there is only one national legislature and since all powers are vested in the central government, there is uniformity in the spheres of law making and its implementation.
5.It is less expensive as compared to a federal system because there is no duality in the field of legislation, administration and adjudication. In other words, there is no duplication of work at the regional levels.


Feudalism or federalism for Uganda

for the Soroti Rock admirers - check this out - fantastic memories

for the Soroti Rock admirers – check this out – fantastic memories

There is a struggle between Ugandans in favor of feudalism and those in favor of federalism.

Feudalism is an economic and social system of lords or kings, knights (soldiers) and serfs (peasants). It dominated European medieval period but has occurred in other societies like pre-colonial Rwanda. The center of feudalism was the king who was also a warrior supported by knights. The king centralized power in his court and owned the land which he used to compensate knights for military service. The grant of land to knights was called ‘feud’ or ‘fief’ hence feudalism.

Feudalism was marked by hierarchy of rank (lords, knights and serfs). “In fact, feudal society was marked by a vast gulf between the very few, very rich, great landholders and the mass of the poor who worked for the profit of the nobility” (Robert Stewart 2002).

Federalism (which is federo in Luganda) simply means sharing power between central and provincial or local governments, giving the latter constitutional authority to plan their development according to their endowments, history and culture.

In Uganda the group led by Yoweri Museveni is trying to solidify feudalism with Museveni as the lord with full power to dish out land to his top ranking soldiers in return for military support reminiscent of medieval Europe.

Ugandans must understand that Museveni and his Tutsi advisers knew exactly what they wanted to do and how to do it long before they launched the guerrilla war and captured power. Grabbing land from Ugandans was on top of the list. So all talk of East African community or borderless East African community has one goal – metamorphosing land control and ownership away from indigenous Ugandans to foreign Tutsi. Once Ugandans lose land and are denied functional education, we are finished.

As soon as Kampala fell to NRA/NRM in 1986, soldiers began acquiring land immediately. Nyabushozi ranches and park lands were divided up and handed over to Tutsi. In 1989, the president was presented with a complaint that soldiers were grabbing land at break neck speed. In 1990, it was agreed that Tutsi should not own land in Uganda. This decision lacked enforcement and land has continued to be grabbed. Tutsi are coming into Uganda including from as far as South Kivu with promise of getting land even as refugees, displacing indigenous Ugandans.

People who pose as Bakiga settling in Toro, Bunyoro and other parts in Uganda are Tutsi who have been arriving in Uganda since 1959 Social Revolution in Rwanda. For humanitarian reasons some Uganda leaders allowed Tutsi to occupy land temporarily until the situation improved in Rwanda so they return home. It is reported that some Tutsi that returned to Rwanda since 1994 still own land in Uganda. This is abuse of hospitality and when we complain we shouldn’t be dubbed sectarian. This is a matter of patriotism and national security and no country anywhere else would allow such abuse.

The recent decision by the prime minister that all land in Uganda would be transferred to large scale farmers is to complete a feudal system of depriving indigenous people of their land. Ugandans are hoodwinked with arguments that large scale farmers will create jobs, use land more efficiently and more productively and transform Uganda into a middle income economy and society. This isn’t true.

There is scientific evidence that small holder farmers when facilitated with infrastructure such as roads, affordable energy and telecommunications; marketing and extension services and organizations like cooperatives as well as high yielding seeds, fertilizers and irrigation they are more productive, more efficient and more environmentally and more socially friendly than large scale farmers. That is why the international community including the United Nations and the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized countries has decided to support small holder farming including in Uganda.

Large scale farming is highly capital intensive in all stages of farming and doesn’t create jobs. Large scale farming destroys the environment by extensive use of tractors that destroy biological diversity (fauna and flora), use a lot of fertilizers and pesticide that pollute the environment (water and soil) and replace indigenous people to create large farms. If Ugandans accept what is being proposed we shall end up with “a vast gulf between the very few, very rich, great landholders [mostly foreigners since Ugandans don’t have enough money to purchase large chunks of land] and the mass of the poor [who will be landless, jobless or massively under employed languishing in urban slums]”.

Federalism is in a way designed to stop feudalism by reducing absolute power of the president and increasing the power of provincial or district governments to manage their resources including land ownership and plan their economic, social and ecological development. Federalism is different from decentralization or any other form of governance because once decisions have been taken on how to share power under federalism those decisions are enshrined in the constitution and the central government can’t change them at will. On the other hand, decentralization enables the central government to retain vast powers over provincial or local governments through the office of the president or minister of local government and decentralized power could even be withdrawn.

The discussions on federalism culminated in the London conference held on October 27, 2012 to which UDU was invited and attended. It was a well attended conference by representatives from all the four Uganda regions and demographics (men, women and youth). The keynote address laid a good foundation upon which to build.

It was agreed that a national working committee be established to consult comprehensively with all Ugandans at home and abroad. A national convention would follow to discuss the way forward. A flexible arrangement should be worked out so that different regions are given the opportunity to choose the kind of governance system that best suits them.

It is hoped that the NRM government which so far has shown resistance to federalism will join with the rest of Ugandans in the working committee and national convention. UDU supports federalism and will participate actively in the working committee and national convention.

Eric Kashambuzi
Secretary General & Chief Administrator, UDU


It sounds preposterous but the world must move on from the small battles about human rights’ abuse, police brutality, electoral malpractices and corruption, because those are automatic consequences of autocratic rule. Show me dictatorship, from time immemorial, and I will show you those vices. Uganda has suffered oppression, brutality and lack of accountability for over 130 years, yet, save for temporary relief that comes with the occasional change of regime, our suffering has continued. Surely, do we so lack imagination that we cannot work out that the solution to Uganda’s problem must be more complex than mere regime change? Museveni will go at some point, as did colonialism, Mutesa, Obote 1, Amin, Lule, Muwanga, Obote 2 and Lutwa, but if conditions that turned those once idealistic revolutionaries into dictators continue to exist, his successor, be it Beti Kamya, will become a dictator and will visit on us the vices for which all past leaders are hated, because they (the vices) are automatic products of dictatorship! We must move onto the big war and fight conditions that create dictators, instead of fighting offshoots of dictatorship.

“All power belongs to the People…..who shall express their will and consent on.…who shall govern them through elections….” says Article 1 of the Constitution of Uganda. “There shall be a President of Uganda…” says Article 98. “All executive authority of Uganda is vested in the President…” says Article 99. Hence, Article 1 gives power to the people, but Article 99 takes it away from them and gives it to the President.

In exercise of the executive authority given to him / her by the constitution, the President decides how the national resources are used, appoints the Vice President, Prime Minister, Ministers, Chief Justice, Judges, Ambassadors, Heads of Govt Depts and their deputies, Permanent Secretaries, Resident District Commissioners, District and Regional (in the case of the “Regional Tier”) accounting officers. The President appoints Commanders of the armed forces and promotions are his prerogative. Uganda’s constitution makes the President the sole employer, provider and benefactor. Give Angel Gabriel this kind of power and Heaven will have a problem, because too much power is the main ingredient that makes dictators. Police brutality, human rights’ abuse, electoral malpractices and corruption are logical consequences NOT the cause of dictatorship.

Uganda’s sustainable peace lies in re-designing the governance system that gives State House too much power, having been so deliberately designed by its pioneer occupants, to exploit a colony without being accountable. It was of necessity undemocratic, dictatorial, oppressive and exploitative. This is the system we inherited at independence but have not dismantled, so it remains oppressive and exploitative, as it was designed. Mind you, this is not the system the British use back home, where the objective is to serve, not exploit!

UFA is advocating that Ugandans, without firing a bullet or throwing a stone, evoke Article 255, through which they can recall their power for one day, and through a referendum, dismantle the autocratic system, devolve power to the regions and re-instate presidential terms limit, because, surely we have learnt that mere change of regime will be another change of guards, as has happened eight times, since independence.

Heads of functioning democracies such as the USA, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, and the Nordic States do not have such power as the President of Uganda. Kenya woke up to this fact and have redesigned their constitution, significantly reducing the powers of the president. In Malawi, if the late President Mutharika had powers to fire the Vice President, Joyce Banda, having disagreed with him, would not be President today. In South Africa, the ANC was able to force President Thabo Mbeki to step down! Uganda must to wake up and move with the new democratic order and Article 255 provides the cheapest route!

Beti Olive Kamya-Turwomwe


Uganda Federal Alliance

FDC Should drop its Millitaristic approach to politics as people see no difference with NRM

It is true that the army is keeping Museveni in power but so is the Ugandan opposition. Yes that hurts but it is the truth. The Ugandan opposition is a big letdown. It is actually a major problem to good governance. Granted there are some fine people in the opposition but overall, they have performed very badly.

Let us be honest and tell them the truth. What the Ugandan opposition lacks is clarity. One of the few bright lights is yes, Ms Beti Kamya and what does she get for her clarity. Abuse. Talk of nnugu.

It is not true that because the opposition MPs are few, they cannot articulate with clarity Uganda’s problems and provide credible alternatives. They are just as greedy as NRM Mps when it comes to public money, 130 millions for cars! I have looked and looked for credible or if you will mainstream alternatives on serious national questions but wapi. Yes, give credit to YKM’s personal army for keeping him there, but also blame the opposition for doing so badly when real issues and opportunities for growth are everywhere.

Just imagine if the opposition could just focus on five issues and hammer those away. The economy is crying out for clarity. The health sectors, the education sector, agriculture/land sector, name it. Because the opposition lacks clarity the peasant has done the most logical thing: choose his or her best interests. Yes they are poor they tell us but at least they can sleep after indulging if they can afford it their beer, malwa, tonto etc. Funny we ridicule the peasants that they do not know their interests. No. they know. It is the elite opposition people who have no clue. Why should the peasants put their lives on the line for a bunch of people who have no clue what it is they want to push? What is the difference between YKM and the opposition on major policy issues?

How come I never hear of policy conferences by the opposition? Not in Uganda and nothing in the Diaspora. How do they expect to generate ideas? Without ideas how can the opposition have hope?

It is about time the journalists moved away from asking opposition people personal questions and pin them on policy questions. I watch Kenya’s Jeff Koinange on the bench I believe outside Norfolk Hotel grilling government people including ministers and those who matter in Kenya. Who will do the same thing for Uganda?. Too many FM radio stations but nothing concrete getting through. Why?

Why does the peasant prefer sleep over anything else? Is it not because the opposition has not made the case against the status quo? And the journalists too. Many are either NRM or opposition supporters. Hello! Think about it if the opposition and the journalistic community in Uganda are part of the problem, where will the solution come from?

In politics, it is better to be lucky and YKM is very lucky. Iam a vey faithful member of the opposition but we must do more. It is true that there is some kind of turmoil within major opposition parties. I wish the turmoil was ideological.

Now some people raise one area where the opposition should take notice: the militarization of politics. The ideal thing for the opposition is to do the opposite. But what have they done? Some, although not all, have tried to imitate YKM on militarization. When they do that the peasant sees no difference. I know some will take issue with me but here FDC is the number one culprit which is why many call it NRM/ B. Sure some FDC folks will respond without blinking that they just won Jinja East.! Each time they do so, they play into YKM’s hands. The opposition should shun violence of any form. They should preach peaceful change and stick to it. Non-violence takes time but is far superior.

I do not think peasants fear YKM in the villages. They fear the unknown. What has the opposition got to offer? I have said here on UAH forum that the opposition should pass the security test. The moment they sound credible to appeal to the peasant, NRM will be in trouble.

I hope you are following developments in Libya. It is bad. And will get far worse before it ever gets better. The opposition should pay attention to policy. I look forward to the day we in the Diaspora will attend a policy platform by opposition parties. We should help our parties test ideas and develop platforms that have the appeal of the majority.

Do you remember the story of Amalinze the cat, Okonkwo and Madume? What Iam asking the Ugandan opposition to do is the exact opposite of what NRM is doing. If NRM goes violent, we should do the opposite and not follow them. Let me again use FDC which is the most militarized of the opposition parties, surprise. What has it reaped? Because of their stupidity, ok, lack of judgment they always pray into YKM’s hands. He sets them up for beating and they go at him without thinking and they get whacked. Why do you think FDC members get beaten more regularly than other opposition party members? It is because of their militaristic style of trying to imitate YKM. And he loves it when they do that.

So the strategy for smart opposition anyways is to do the opposite. Shun violence and take the high moral ground and stick to issues. That is harder for FDC given that it has a sizeable number of retired military men within its ranks. As they say old habits die hard.

I claim that part of the reason the opposition is failing in rural areas is the militaristic approach which scares the peasants. If the opposition is peaceful and non-violence, they would have made progress with the masses who are fed up with violence and militarism. But see what the opposition or at least FDC does, it threatens violence and further militarization of Ugandan politics.

They should study Gandhi and Martin Luther King and how their non-violence means delivered enduring results than anything before. But they should also be identified with a few issues. They have attacked Beti Kamya for picking federalism and sticking to it. They could the same and choose a few issues and hammer away. It frustrates me to see a very erratic opposition in Uganda. I hear they have strategists, oh, boy.

The opposition squandered the biggest and in my view most important issues when they dismissed USE and UPE outright. The moment they did that they became elitist who preferred the pyramid where most kids drop out while a few proceed. How does that appeal to the peasant? They should be telling the peasant that this is what we shall do to fix UPE/USE so that the kids can become literate.

It is really a pity that with so many issues crying out for help and attention, the Ugandan opposition dos not generally give a damn.

Pray for our motherland.

UAH forumist in New York

Betty Kamya must abandon the idea of having a national referendum on federalism

Ladies and Gentlemen of good will,

Federalism is a concrete manifestation of the right to internal self-determination of specific communities in a multi-ethnic or multi-national state. A federal structure of the state has the potential to accommodate the legitimate aspirations of all ethnic, linguistic or religious communities for self government and protection of their distinct cultural and religious identities, while at the same time guaranteeing equal participation by all communities and by all citizens in the political and economic affairs of the country as a whole

For that matter therefore, Betty Kamya is very wrong to call for a national referendum on our right to internal self determination in Uganda. This is because it is every region’s responsibility to determine the nature of political arrangement that they so wish in their respective regions. It is utterly wrong, abusive, fallacious, unreflective, and thoughtless for Kamya to call for a national referendum on federalism, and it shows a clear lack of careful thinking on Betty Kamya’s part. Indeed, the Odoki’s commission recommended that in regions where people desire a federal system of government, they should be allowed to adopt it. Odoki never called for a referendum because he knew that it abuses the people’s right to internal self-determination.

How just is it for someone in Bunyoro, through his/her vote, to dictate on the political system which West Nilers (People in West Nile) should have?. Let each region be allowed to exercise its right to internal self-determination and no region should dominate another either directly or indirectly.
Betty Kamya wrote that because the constitution says that we can have a referendum, so she is asking for one. Well, this argument is seriously flawed. You cannot just follow the rules as they are written. Betty must learn that a constitution is not only there to be followed but also, to be challenged. We are not living under the world of Sharia where certain people’s hands have to be cut off because the rule so says.

Kamya’s reasoning on this issue is akin to the fallacy of composition or the fallacy of mediocrity which assumes that any given member of set (rules) must be limited to the attributes that are held in common with all the other members of the set. In other words, we can have a referendum on other things but not on our human rights because they are given unto us by God and by the virtue of the fact that we are human beings. That is what Betty has to understand and probably learn.

Federalism, it should be considered as a “first resort” before any other system is adopted because it is an appropriate form of internal self-determination as articulated in the UN instruments. Therefore, before imposing any other system of government on any region, a sensible leader must have to consult with the people in different regions and allow them to internally self determine. It is until they say no to this proposition that any other system of government should be imposed onto them. Today, people different regions should allow deciding how they want their respective regions to be governed internally. To achieve this, you do not need a national referendum. Actually, if any it should be a regional referendum because internal self –determination is a regional matter.

Many people do love the federal system of government. However, we must be watchful of the self seeking politicians who want to use federalism for their political relevance. Anyway, let me move on to the concrete issue of adopting a federal system of government.

Experiences in many parts of the world have demonstrated that federal arrangements can diffuse tensions and mitigate conflicts between different ethnic communities. Federal arrangements can provide a fundamental basis for the peaceful co-existence and co-operation of diverse ethnic or linguistic communities. These experiences nurture expectations that a new flexible structure of the state and a mode of governance based on the principles of federalism could transform the ethnic conflict in Uganda from violence to constitutionalism and restore the unity of the country that at present is marked by de facto divisions, exploitation, over centralization of power, manipulation, and corruption among other evils.

Consequently, a workable federal arrangement would render secession unnecessary and invalid. But, there are unfounded fears and suspicion that the non territorial minority communities or the smaller tribes can become the orphans or step children, or even the losers of a future federal structure of the state. Ugandans must dispel these fears as hogwash. They should reflect on the critical thinking fallacy of a slippery slope argument which falsely assumes that should one even occur, so will other harmful events. Well, there is no proof made that the harmful evens are caused by the first event. Because federalism was abolished by Obote in 1966 and then tribalism, state inspired violence, torture etc occurred and some Baganda called for total independence from Uganda, it does not mean that it is going to be the same scenario.

Actually, one of the advantages of federalism is that it is characterized by the distribution of power over regional entities. The overarching state, the federation, is divided into territorial sub-units (called states, provinces, Boroughs or Cantons), and State Power is dispersed over these federated sub -units.

Territorially concentrated ethnic or other population groups benefit in such a traditional federal structure in the following four ways:
· They are represented in the national parliament or first chamber as they would have been in a unitary state.
· They are represented in the executive, legislative and judiciary of the federated sub-units where they constitute a majority, enjoying their internal right of self-determination.

· They are represented as well in the second chamber which voices the concerns of the sub-states in national policy making, and

· They are an active part in the intergovernmental policy networks which are typical of federal arrangements.


Some people argue that federalism is bad because of the costs which may be incurred in its implementation. Now, these two individuals are just using every single flimsy excuse to portray federalism as unworkable in Uganda. In fact, they are struggling with ideas, thus ending up waffling between hidden ignorance, hatred for Buganda, and their love for the current abusive system/ regime/government.

First of all, in the current unitary system which is being used in Uganda, 75% of the national budget goes into administrative costs. The government only uses 25% of the national budget to pay for the direct services which people directly benefit from. These services include health, road construction, justice, education etc. The country has so many useless administrators e.g. RDC,s DISOs, LC5s etc. In a federal system of government, we shall cut all this waste down. Secondly, these individuals have not even examined the costs in the unitary system in comparison to what the federal system will cost. Ask yourself, do you think that RDCs, DISOs etc will be needed in a federal system?

Another concern which I have identified in our so called Ugandan intellectuals is the issue of ignorance on social policy development. Most of them assume that money must be the driver of social policy development. This kind of reasoning is seriously flawed because effective social policy development has to be driven by a needs-led approach. One must identify the need to change the existing policies/ systems, develop the new policies/ system and then, in the development process, that is when resources come into play. Lack of resources does not take away the actual need for change in policy. Rather, it motivates the policy developers to use systems in policy development that use evidence of needs to plan the delivery of services in a cost effective manner. In this debate of federalism, we need people to “an outcome perspective” within “a works mind-set”.

To ensure that you understand what I’m saying, let me use the analogy of UK social care laws. In UK laws, it is deemed unlawful for a local authority to take resources into account in determining the level of any service provision resulting. This was emphasized in R v Lanarkshire Council ex p MacGregor where the judge pronounced that resources are not relevant to an assessment of need but it was relevant when deciding how to meet that need. In relation to Uganda, it has a need and because of that, we must focus on how to use federalism to meet the need and then, discuss cost management after designing the plan.


The Belgian model

Belgium is an interesting example of a country with a combination of territorial and non-territorial federalism arrangements.

This small European country – small than Uganda – has developed by long process a dual form of self-government for its citizens who belong to 3 different linguistic or cultural communities, Flemish, Walloons and Germans.

Belgians are both members of territorial units and members of autonomous non-territorial communities. While the regional councils represent the interests of the people living in the different regions, the community councils represent the interests of the different ethno-linguistic communities from all regions. And this constitutional architecture, though it has not eliminated the conflicts between the 3 communities, has made them manageable and has avoided violent conflict.

Therefore, the Belgian model may be instructive and give some inspiration for the discussion in Uganda.
Does federalism lead to separation?

Many people in Uganda have the fear that a federalization of the unitary State would sooner or later result in the disintegration of the State and finally in the partition of the country. It is certainly true that there have been cases of breakup of federations. But unitary States have experienced secessions as well. And comparing secessions from unitary countries with secessions from federal countries, the danger of secession seems to be greater in a unitary than in a federal State.
In advanced democracies with divided societies, including Switzerland, Belgium, Canada and Spain, federalism has helped to keep states unified and democratic in the face of possible secession by territorially based minorities. Outside the advanced industrial societies, federalism also gets good reviews. Countries whose histories of electoral competition are long (India), short (Mexico), or mixed (Nigeria) have all evinced the positive effects of federal structures. In Russia, the fluid nature of the federal system and the constitution’s lack of specificity have created a number of bilateral relationships between the centre and the regions, but have also managed to eliminate the threat of regional secession – with the obvious exception of Chechnya.

Of course there are cases of countries where federal arrangements failed, like Sudan and Eritrea. Examples of failed federations are also Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. However, those three communist countries were federations only by name, but not in substance; de facto, they were highly centralized and authoritarian States, which kept their different nationalities together by force. Therefore, the dissolution of these formally federal countries after the fall of communist regime should not be considered as a failure of the federal system (which in reality did not exist), but as a failure of the de facto unitary state, which had disguised itself as a federal state.

It is also true that federal countries like Canada and India are still facing separatist threats, but it seems to be equally true that they are able to resist these centrifugal forces and preserve the unity of the country because of the federal structure. Without federalism, most probably the forces of secession would be more successful.

From all these examples we can draw the conclusion that federalism is no cure-all prescription for the elimination of the secessionist claims and the disappearance of ethno-political conflicts.
In federal multi-ethnic states conflicts and tensions between different ethnic or linguistic groups will not disappear. Multi-ethnic federations like Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Canada, Belgium and Spain are still facing severe challenges by ethnic or linguistic rivalry or secessionist claims.
But the point is that conflicts and tensions between different ethnic groups in federations are in most cases fought out non-violently and thus become politically manageable. In consequence, the risk that such inter-ethnic conflicts result in intra-state violence and attempts for secession is certainly lower in a federation than in a unitary state.

So federalism is no absolute guarantee against secession. But federalism has the potential to moderate nationalist political passions and channel armed conflicts towards peaceful discourse and transform warfare into conventional politics.

Thus, in a federal state, it will be easier than in a unitary state to manage such conflicts through non-violent means, by negotiation and compromise. Hence, the dangers of not devolving power are greater than of doing it, and the probability of secession is higher in a unitary state than in a federal one.


Federalism is an expression of both unity and diversity within a single political system. But federalism per se is not automatically a recipe for democratic governance, partnership and ethnic harmony. Its success is not guaranteed. Federalism is only a framework and a mechanism for distribution of power that can lead to a solution to ethnic conflicts in a society. What matters is substance rather than labels.
Successful federalism is premised on the willingness of all parties to co-operate as partners with each other while respecting their differences through constructive compromises between particular and common interests. Without such a will, federalism becomes an empty promise and will not work in reality. Therefore, for a coherent and cohesive federal arrangement that would stand the test of time, more important than the structures and institutions of federalism are its principles, fundamental values and rules, the “culture of federalism” as expressed in the consciousness, beliefs and attitudes that determine the political behaviour of political parties, and the broad citizenry. For federalism to flourish it requires the will for partnership and a sincere commitment to permanent association by all parties involved. So the federal culture seems to be the Achilles’ heel of federalism

No matter what form federalism takes, how federal institutions are designed, and what federal principles are emphasized, it is generally clear by now that where there is a positive attitude towards federalism and a will to build a federal system, where the political society involved rests on sufficient trust, sufficiently widespread to allow the many leaps of faith that must be taken to make federalism work, where political culture is either favourable or at least open to federal arrangements, where all of this leads to a wider understanding of liberty as federal liberty, then federalism has a good chance of succeeding when used for peace-making. It may have almost as good a chance if most of those elements are present and some chance even if one or two of them is. But it seems quite clear that without any, the chances of success are extremely limited.

Richard Mukasa
UAH Forumist in London


In his article published in The New Vision of 23 Jan 2012, Dr Besigye shocked Ugandans when he asserted that “Federalism is not a solution to Uganda’s problems” given that his presidential campaign received substantial boost from Ssuubi Group, based on his assumed support for federalism. In the article, Besigye cited flawed examples of where federalism has failed, not where it is working, and where unitarism works, not where it has failed. Clearly a self-styled federalist who does not believe in federalism, Dr KB struggled in his true unitary colours, but Edith Mpanga, Vice Chairperson of UFA (UK) Branch, in her usual well-informed style, provided useful lessons on the history and good performance of federalism throughout the world, in her article “Dr Besigye’s understanding of federalism lacking”, published in The New Vision of 1 February 2012.

Dr KB listed informed citizenry, high official competence, fiscal transparency, political will to lead by example, strong legal and enforcement mechanisms etc , as “the bedrock of democratic governance…” – but these can all be achieved under “good” dictatorships as is happening in Rwanda, Cuba and colonialism – only they are guaranteed to last as long as the “good” dictator! Federalism, on the other hand, prevents dictatorship by limiting the capacity of any person from taking overall control of government.

The purpose of this article, though, is to warn those “asking / negotiating” for federalism, and those promising to “give” it to them, that the system is not even enshrined in the constitution of Uganda!

Article 69 of the Constitution of Uganda recognizes (i) The Movement and (ii) The Multiparty systems. All other systems (federalism, monarchism, feudalism, oligarchies, communism, socialism etc) are lumped in a mixed grill known as “Any other…..system”. Hence, only the Movement or Multiparty systems are readily available on Uganda’s political systems’ menu. The “Mixed grill” option requires a long process that includes evoking subsection 19 of “The Referendum And Other Provisions Act 2005”, which requires a parliamentary approval of the choice system out of the mixed grill, which, in turn, takes one via “The Other Political Systems’ Act 2000”

Recently, Dr KB rubbished UFA’s call for a referendum on federalism, arguing that the matter had been settled through the Odoki Constitutional and Ssempebwa Constitutional Review Commissions, both of which established that most Ugandans favoured the federal system. Therefore, according to Dr KB, to get federalism, all Uganda needs is to elect a federal-inclined president (read himself), to “give it” to them! Surely, Besigye, a delegate in the Constituent Assembly (CA) that discussed the Odoki Report and promulgated the 1995 Constitution knows that through manipulation, federalism did not make it to the Constitution. Since then, Uganda is governed by the constitution, not the Odoki Report! Dr KB should not take advantage of his supporters’ goodwill and ignorance to make them think that the constitution does not matter and that they should focus on the Odoki Report for federo.

With or without M7 or anybody else as president, federalism must first go through the constitutional process and be enshrined in the constitution before it can be “given”, and anybody who does not like the constitution, must amend or overthrow it as Obote and M7 did in 1966 and 1986, respectively.

UFA’s call for a referendum is one way to begin the process to get federalism recognized as a constitutional alternative political system in Uganda. I invite those disinclined against the referendum to join us to get federalism on the constitutional menu first, then argue whether or not it is a good system and certainly before anybody can promise to “give” it to anybody!

Beti Olive Kamya

E mail:

Tel: 0783 438 201 / 0751 590 542

Beti Kamya’s UFA Engagement With Electoral Commision

Tuesday 10 January, 2012




Eng. Dr. Badru M. Kigundu,


Electoral Commission,

Jinja Road,






Please accept our cordial regards and good wishes for the New Year to you, personally, and to the entire community of the Electoral Commission.


We thank you for honouring our request for a meeting with the Electoral Commission by inviting us here today. The names and designations of our delegation are at the back of this document – please turn to the last page as I introduce them to you.



As you are no doubt aware, Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA) subscribes to federalism believing that it is the most equitable political system for Uganda given our country’s history, geography and aspirations. This subscription is premised on Uganda’s turbulent forty nine years of independence from colonial rule, largely characterized by a vicious cycle of turmoil, conflict, war, human rights’ abuse, electoral malpractices, corruption, disease, hunger and illiteracy, among others. During the forty nine years, except for the first Prime Minister of Uganda, Dr. Obote, who was elected under the auspices of the colonial government, the successive seven Heads of State assumed power through force of arms and left through the same route. Currently, the departure of the incumbent Head of State is a subject of speculation and controversy, rather than a known or predictable variable!


A casual glance at Uganda’s post-independence history shows that in-coming Heads of State are always warmly welcomed by a sizeable number of Ugandans, but their performance has, without exception, left a lot to be desired, leaving Ugandans no choice but to resort to unconventional means of deposing them. Unfortunately, merely deposing  the Heads of State and replacing them with others, has not provided this country with any respite. This leads to the logical conclusion that the problem of Uganda is more complex than just the Head of State and therefore the solution more sophisticated than merely deposing him.     


It is a historical fact that the different communities that came to make up Uganda all lost their power to the British, by force, towards the end of the nineteenth century. The historical wars fought by Omukama Kabalega of Bunyoro and Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda were fought to resist British rule. It was only after both Kings were defeated and exiled to the Seychelles that we lost our power to the British, who established a governance system  suitable for their objective of exploiting colonies. Such a system was necessarily dictatorial, undemocratic, oppressive and exploitative. Needless to say, it provoking the struggle to regain our power through independence. Sadly, even after independence, the people of Uganda have never, really, regained their power, because it was just inherited by post independence rulers, who have carried on pretty much as the colonialists did, by abusing and exploiting Ugandans.


Although the declaration of independence on 9th October, 1962 is commemorated as an event, it should have been the beginning of a process through which Ugandans would regain their power. unfortunately the process has never taken off, because successive post independence governments did not dismantled the over-centralized colonial system of administration, which had been deliberately so designed to anchor colonialism in order to support the colonial objective of exploitation. After independence, the Governor’s absolute authority was just passed onto successive Heads of State, while the oppressive colonial system remained intact!   


UFA believes that the process of independence began and ended on 9 October, 1962, when the British lowered their Flag at Kololo Independence Grounds, and the First Prime Minister of independent Uganda, Dr Apollo Milton Obote, hoisted Uganda’s Flag. The oppressive and exploitative system continues to this day, hence the need to overhaul of the system in order give back the people of Uganda their power!


Examining the various political systems round the world – socialism, communism, monarchism, feudalism, oligarchies, colonialism, unitary and federalism, the latter is the system that nearest gives people their power. It is therefore not surprising that former British colonies including the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Malaysia and more recently Kenya, opted out of the unitary system after independence, for the federal system.


UFA believes, like those former British colonies, that federalism is the most equitable governance system, and it is for that matter that we resolved to evoke Article 74(1) C) & (3) to change Uganda’s system to federalism through a referendum, by submitting to the Electoral Commission at least five million signatures of petitioners who are determined to settle the matter of change of political system to federalism through a referendum.



The functions of the EC are laid down in Article 61 of the Constitution of Uganda, so we must work closely with the Commission in pursuit of our aspirations, through Article 74. We would, therefore, like to discuss the following issues with the EC in order that we may foresee and plan for any hiccups that may hinder the smooth management of the referendum process that began on 30 November, 2011, when the UFA NEC resolved to call for a referendum:


1.       The EC’s capacity to verify more than 5,000,000 (five million) registered voters, whose signatures we intend to submit to you as petitioners in May 2015.

2.       The EC’s capacity to organize a credible, free and fair referendum in a period of four (4) months (May 2015 and October 2015), given that nominations of Presidential and Parliamentary candidates are likely to take place in October and November 2015, setting off the process of the General Elections that will end in March 2016.
We are mindful that during the presidential candidates’ nomination exercise of 25 / 26 October, 2011, each of the eight (8) candidates submitted about 200 signatures from each of the 117 districts, which totaled to about 187,200 voters, but the EC had advised early submission to avoid being caught by time. If the EC took one week, working full time, day and night, having deployed all the Commission’s personnel and facilities to verify 187,200 voters, using simple arithmetic, to verify 5,000,000 voters, the EC will need about 6 months, working day and night, using ALL the EC facilities. How feasible is that?


3.       Update of voter register in preparation for the referendum to include those who wish to sign up as petitioners but are not yet registered.


4.       Your plans to formulate and implement the voter educational programme relating to the referendum.


5.       The possible impact of Articles 5(2), 176(1),(2), 178, 179, 183, 186, 188 etc on the call for a referendum


6.       Legislation that need to be amended or created to support a smooth referendum exercise

7.       Funding of the referendum process.


8.       Issues raised by Elections’ Observers in respect to all elections held since 1996 and the two Court rulings in the Besigye Vs Museveni Judgment of 2001 & 2006.


9.       Will the EC provide us with standard forms on which to collect signatures as happens during elections?


10.   At what point does the EC’s responsibility begin once citizens express their intentions to call for a referendum, what is the scope of that responsibility and under which authority does that EC derive that responsibility?


11.   Inclusion of the Ugandan Diaspora in the decision making process by arranging for them to vote.


12.   Please urgently furnish us with certified information of registered voters per constituency






1.       Mr. Peter Mayeku Malesi                                                   – Party Chairman

2.       Ms. Beti Olive Namisango Kamya                                      – Party President

3.       Mr. Boniface Oniba Ekanya                                                – National Party Vice President

4.       Mr. Yosam Baguma                                                              -Chairman, Federal System  

                                                                                                   Development Commission

5.       Eng Jimmy Mayanja                                                              – Vice Chairman (Buganda Region)

6.       Lt (Rtd) Frank Matovu                                                         – Vice President (Buganda Region)

7.       Mr. Richard Sebunya Sanjula                                             – Secretary General

8.       Ms Annet Namusuba                                                           – Deputy Secretary General

9.       Dr. Waiswa Kibumba                                                           – National Chief Mobilizer

10.    Ms. Christine Kisubi                                                             – Chairperson, Electoral Commission

11.    Mr. Emma Kamara Twinomujuni                                        – Secretary for Labour, Employment &
                                                                   Public Service

12.    Haji Abdonoor Kitandwe                                                    – Secretary for Defense, Security &
                                                                    Public Order

13.    Mr. Ndugu Omong                                                               – Secretary for Finance

14.    Ms Genevieve Abwata                                                        – Secretary for Information & Party                                                                                                      Spokesperson

15.    Ms Winfred Nakajubi                                                          – Chairperson, Women’s League

16.    Mr. Kennedy Oluma                                                            – Chairperson, Youth League



We look forward to fruitful and cordial engagement with you.



Beti Olive Namisango Kamya


Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA)



UFA president Beti Kamya addresses the party’s Nec meeting in Kampala recently. PHOTO BY FAISWAL KASIRYE

Sunday 15 January, 2012

The Daily Monitor’s Editorial of 12 January 2012 titled “Can federation cut national cake fairly?” raised issues, questioning UFA’s motives for promoting federalism -: (i) “…parochial desire to supplant centralized governance with divisive Buganda nationalism?” (ii) a platform for “uncharitable Ganda nationalists…to secede? (iii) the unlikely answer to “equitable re-distribution of resources” (iv) “unmindful of the economic plight of “marginal and depressed regions…?”. This response is intended to put those reservations to rest.

UFA’s brand of federalism slightly differs from ‘federo”, which, admittedly, looks like a hi-breed of monarchism and federalism. UFA advocates for federalism for the entire Uganda, and in this, differs from FDC, DP and UPC, who, in their respective manifestos, promised federalism for only those regions which want it. UFA believes that federalism is good and should be promoted throughout the country, even among regions that do not want it, because we believe that their abhorance for federalism is premised on ignorance, arising out of calculated distortions of the system’s values, by self-seeking politicians, hence, UFA’s deliberate policy to de-Bugandanize and Ugandanize federalism.

During the 2011 Elections, UFA fielded 65 Parliamentary candidates, only 24 of whom are from Buganda, 125 Local Governments’ Councilors, only 55 of whom are from Buganda. There is not a district in Uganda where UFA did not field a candidate, but more importantly, we won District / Sub county councillorships of Bukedea, Moyo, Manafwa, Bulambuli, Ntungamo, Luweero, Kumi, Pallisa, Malera, Kagadi, Kotido, Kaberamaido, Aleptong, Kalangala and others.

UFA’s Chairman, Peter Mayeku is from Bugisu, Vice President, Boniface Oniba is from Acholi, National Chief Mobilizer, Dr Waiswa is from Busoga, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Christine Kisubi is from Budaka, Chairman of the Federal System Development Commission, Yosam Baguma is from Kigezi, Minister of Finance, Ndugu Omong is from Lango, Chairman of the UFA Youth League, Kennedy Oluma is from Arua, Chairman of UFA UK Chapter, Akim Odong is from Acholi – how can all these people be working to promote “Ganda nationalism and secession?

Personally, with Banyankore children, a Kikuyu mother, Langi first cousins and Japadhola nieces/nephews, not only would I find life hard as a secessionist, I also happen to think it is defeatist. My view is that if you are not getting your fair share of anything, fight for it, but do not run to hide, which secessionism look like, to me!

As for regions that are “marginal and depressed”, Uganda does not have to re-invent the wheel, because old federal states like the USA, Canada, Australia, Malaysia and Nigeria already invented the “equalization grant” strategy, where, the better-off regions pay a special tax to support less endowed ones. This strategy is even provided for in the Regional Tier Act, which foresaw that regions are never equally endowed.

It is worth noting, though, that federalism is not just about resource sharing but more about policies and priorities. Japan does not have oil, but invested in human resource development. They are now world suppliers of electronics and vehicles. Dubai, one of seven Emirates in the UAE, owes its success story not to natural resources, but to a tax-free-trade policy. Sharija, another emirate, has oil but does not have the free-tax policy, and is not quite as rich as Dubai. Federalism creates space for creativity and innovation by different regions, instead of the socialist-like system where all regions wait for the center to think and plan for them.

Uganda will be better off with federalism for Uganda, than with “federo”, which Buganda, FDC, UPC and DP favour.

Beti Olive Namisango Kamya


Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA)

0783 438 201 / 0751 590 542

E mail:

Besigye Meeting in UK , activist chase NRM Robert Egwea like a rat.

UPC was represented by youth Leader and Okello Lucima. NRM representative, Egwea, who had been cajoled and nearly ripped apart by boos and hisses. UFA was represented by Akim disagreed with the theme “Uganda at cross road”, instead he argued that Uganda is in a cul e sac. Effectively, it had already, gone past too many crossed roads. He also said M7 is not a hero to all Uganda and his motive from day one was war, to which he had the chances to talk on two occasions but resorted to war, Akim also said Byesigye, though was like M7, he had exonerated himself by rejecting M7.

Federalism was the word uttered most and in principle, the keynote speaker, Dr Byesigye; weighed down by flu agreed with federalism, but contends that it’s not, on its own, the solution.

He said Uganda was a conglomerated and until we break down these tribes and renegotiate our co existence, will always be problems.
He rejected in part, the use of force, arguing that the use of the gun to remove a warmonger like M7 could only mean that, one gun replacing another.

Lukwago, the breakaway DP leader, was brilliant, he spoke eloquently and showed it. Dressed in a grey suit, he did not mince his words, he clearly wants M7 out by any means there is. He called upon Ugandans to unite and go for it. He did not mention Mao.

Dr Obonyo, said, federalism is the only solution to Ugandan’s problem. He urged Ugandans to go back to history when people of Buganda and the Madi-Acoli had demanded for federal status as it had been suggested, at the London conference, pre independence. He said without which Uganda will never heal.

Colonel Monday, well received by the audience, he said M7 is a tyrant that needs removing, he also endorsed federalism, albeit agreeing with Byesigye that it’s not a panacea, but a viable option.

There was also a group of people, mainly Baganda, who have decided that war was the only solution and that they were ready for action and all they are waiting for, is Byesigye’s orders. A tired looking Byesigye did not look impressed. London based Ugandan Political activist Mego Apira, asked what Ugandans were still waiting for? Said Ugandans should prepare for war, without which M7 will not leave power. She sighted the wrong doing in the north and overstaying as justification.

The audience also decried the political leaders in Uganda for their disunity. They said, it was what cost Ugandans the election. They called upon the leaders to unite. International community are fed of disunity among Ugandans to unseat NRM government they have demanded for unity.

Federalism was endorsed by the major opinion leaders and effectively, putting it at the core of the debate.
Its no longer a fringe topic.

The only drama is that political activist made it clear to NRM representative, Robert Egwea; who was booed and eventually forced out of the hall. He nearly got beaten outside the door as I am made to know. Otherwise, the debate was a success; the turn over was brilliant and the general consensus was that Uganda needed an overhaul!

The debate yesterday set the tone for future political debates and the attendance clearly showed that the appetite for change is unquenchable.

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