Keynote address: Working together to empower African children through safe water and good sanitation

By

Eric Kashambuzi

Let me begin by thanking the people of San Diego for the warm welcome. I also thank the organizers especially Ms Vickie Butcher for inviting me to participate in this 18th Annual Africa Trade & Business Conference on the theme: Building Sustainable Economic Bridges Back to Africa. This conference is taking place so soon after the historic USA-Africa Summit, thanks to President Barak Obama’s vision and after the United Nations General Assembly renewed its efforts to provide safe water and good sanitation between now and 2030.

While addressing participants during the Africa week at the United Nations that ended yesterday, the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Jan Elliason expressed his personal support to the efforts to provide good sanitation which he has championed in the Call to Action on Sanitation since 2013.

He reported that around the World two and half (2.5) billion people don’t have toilets and over one billion people practice open defecation.

As a keynote speaker, I am going to focus on the need for partnership between Africans and Americans in finding lasting and affordable solutions to the challenges of water, sanitation and hygiene in general that African children face.

Children everywhere are more vulnerable than any other demographic age group to the ill effects of contaminated water, poor sanitation and lack of hygiene. For instance, children under five years of age account for 90 percent of deaths from diarrhea.

To understand the challenges of water and sanitation and find lasting solutions we need to understand ourselves first and operate from the same page. Education and training especially of the youth on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean will play a key role in this endeavor.

It is well known that conflicts, misunderstandings and even wars as well as poor design and implementation of development programs often spring from poor communication.

But before doing that let me thank those Americans that have already collaborated with Africans on the critical issue of water and sanitation for African children. Water for Children Africa, Inc. which was founded in 1993 deserves special appreciation for its clear mission and work already done in Africa. For easy reference, the mission is to:

1. provide safe, sustainable water to rural villages through the transfer of appropriate technology;

2. Train recipients in repair and maintenance of equipment, public health education, and economic development;

3. Build an entrepreneurial bridge to improve the commercial relations between the U.S. and Africa; and

4. Help U.S. youth develop leadership skills and vision for the future development of Africa.

In her remarks at the 17th conference on Trade and Business Ms. Vickie Butcher said: “We inspire and educate youth to direct their creativity and skills to the development of the African continent”.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s when Africa was emerging out of colonialism I was a graduate student at the University of California at the Berkeley campus. At that time there was a shared feeling among African students that our African-American brothers and sisters regarded us as belonging to a lower social class that drove some of us to the other camp that painted African-Americans as lacking in many respects.

This divide made it difficult to work together even when we were taking the same classes.

The good news is that with time the perception is changing because as Americans visit Africa they have realized that the situation is different from what had been presented in the media.

There is also recognition that all human beings are born free and equal in rights and dignity regardless of race, class, gender or geographic location. We should therefore listen to and treat one another as equals.

Education and training, visiting Africa and interacting with one another more often as in this conference will help bring us closer together. Ms. Vickie Butcher hit the nail on the head when she stated that “Past trips to Africa, surveys, interviews, team experiences and lessons learned continue to be the building blocks for the future activities of our organization. We continue to strive for better approaches to provide safe water, sanitation, hygiene, housing and agriculture to rural villages”.

I urge Americans and Africans not only to continue to listen to one another but most importantly to hear what one is saying to the other and internalize the messages so that we find a common ground, shared vision or a framework within which to build sustainable economic bridges back to Africa.

All I can say at this juncture is that in rural Africa where levels of poverty, illiteracy and disease are very high we need to listen even more to what peasants are saying lest we are misunderstood as elites that know what is good for rural Africa. Let me add that even in this sad environment, African peasants know what they want and even what to do but need an enabling environment and effective participation in matters that affect their lives. Those with open minds and ears that have visited Africa or worked and lived among rural communities can attest to this.

Therefore African and American partnership should create an enabling environment that helps African rural communities to articulate the challenges they face in accessing safe drinking water and adequate sanitation at home and at school. Americans should therefore develop skills and creativity to respond appropriately to African needs rather than dictate what African peasants and their children need in water and sanitation matters.

Another point I wish to stress is that in our partnership we need to recognize that water and sanitation is an integral part of overall economic and social development processes. Thus, development will be retarded through poor health of Africans due to unsafe water and poor sanitation.

Fortunately the international community and increasingly other entities understand the link between safe water and good sanitation and rapid and equitable development and poverty eradication.

That this linkage has been appreciated water and sanitation was included in the Millennium Declaration and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were adopted by world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly of 2000. It was agreed in the MDGs to halve the proportion of people without access to safe water and adequate sanitation by 2015.

In 2006 the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) published a Human Development Report (HDR) on water and sanitation. It said in part “Throughout history water has confronted humanity with some of its greatest challenges. Water is a source of life and a natural resource that sustains our environment and supports livelihoods. But it is also a source of risk and vulnerability. … In a world of unprecedented wealth almost 2 million children die each year for want of clean water and adequate sanitation. Millions of women and young girls are forced to spend hours collecting and carrying water, restricting their opportunities and their choices. And waterborne infectious diseases are holding back economic growth and poverty reduction in some of the poorest countries”.

In his remarks on this report the former Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated that “Access to safe water is a fundamental human need and, therefore, a basic human right. Contaminated water jeopardizes both the physical and social health of all people. It is an affront to human dignity”.

And Kevin Watkins added that “Deprivation linked to water is a source of poverty, of inequality, of social injustice, and of greater disparities in life chances. That deprivation matters because water is a human right – and none of us should turn a blind eye to the violation of human rights. Nor should we tolerate a world in which over 1 million children are … dying for a glass of water and a toilet”. In developed countries safe water and good sanitation are taken for granted.

Given poor performance in the provision of safe water and good sanitation, the General Assembly has again in 2014 in its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the post-2015 development agenda from 2016 through 2030 stressed the importance of water and sanitation and established goal 6 and targets and means of implementation:

Target 6.1: by 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all;

Target 6.2: by 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all, and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations;

MOI 6.b: support and strengthen the participation of local communities for improving water and sanitation management.

You can clearly see that there are similarities between the work you are doing and what is being undertaken at the United Nations level on water and sanitation.

Ipso facto, Water for Children Africa, Inc. should be commended for deciding to focus on safe water and adequate sanitation in Africa for maximum impact rather than scatter limited financial and human resources over many sectors with minimum or no impact at all.

The urgency of providing safe water and good sanitation was highlighted in a special report published by African Business in December 2013. It underscored that “Without water, there can be no human existence. While easy and cheap access to clean water is taken for granted in developed and many developing regions, Africa is still lagging behind. Few African cities can claim to be able to provide water to all the people who live in them and rural areas fare even worse”.

The report added “An equally important related utility, sanitation, is often ignored but its economic cost to the continent is around $30 billion. The cost in terms of poor health, illness and wasted time is almost incalculable”.

In 2008 African government agreed to allocate and spend at least 0.5 percent of their GDP on sanitation and hygiene and to have other budget lines for water and sanitation to improve accountability and track progress. Notwithstanding, implementation has fallen far short of commitment. As a result around 2,000 children die daily due to diarrhea caused by lack of access to safe toilets and clean water. Money that could have been invested in productive activities covers health costs. “If everyone had access to adequate sanitation and water services, patients would save themselves $565 million and world’s health sectors would save around $12 billion every year”.

Contaminated water and inadequate sanitation have lowered school attendance and performance and work productivity with an adverse economic impact of about 3 percent of GDP.

Besides, children can’t learn when they are too weak as a result of morbidity associated with waterborne diseases. UNICEF has reported that only 33 percent of primary schools in sub-Saharan Africa have adequate sanitation facilities. Consequently where adequate facilities and services don’t exist waterborne diseases spread rapidly and affect children who either cannot concentrate in class or stay out of school altogether. The education of children especially of girls is therefore impaired.

When women are educated, they acquire skills for productive employment, get good jobs, earn high incomes, reduce poverty and become empowered. Empowered women are able to manage their reproductive behavior without spouse pressure and end up with fewer children, contribute to reduction in population growth and lower child dependency and thereby increase savings for productive investments.

We know that the world has enough technology, expertise and financial resources to solve water and sanitation-related problems. What is needed is the will to do so within Africa and between Africa and her partners.

Investing in water and sanitation is also good business. The World Bank has shown that every $1 dollar invested in sanitation yields a return of $5 dollars. Furthermore investing in sanitation by encouraging communities to build toilets and water supply facilities and teaching children the basics of hygiene reduces morbidity and mortality from waterborne diseases considerably.

It has been shown that washing hands with soap in running water before touching food reduces the incidence of diarrhea by 50 percent. It has been recommended that where soap is not available, ash can be used (Facts for Life. UNICEF et al., Fourth edition, 2010).

Education and training will therefore play an important role in addressing the challenges of water and sanitation. Schools and community centers are the best places to create awareness of the impact of hygiene on health and economic development. Besides teaching hygiene schools need to provide separate clean private facilities for girls to be able to attend to their sanitary needs. Often girls miss classes during their periods because of lack of suitable facilities.

Investment in water and sanitation is not only good business; it is also relatively cheap. Studies conducted in Madagascar and reported in African Business in 2013 show that communities spend up to $9 for a basic model toilet with cement and wooden cover. An improved toilet with a ceramic slab and pan costs an average of $20. A sanitary mason reported that even when there were micro-finance facilities, some households chose not to borrow but pay cash once they understood the importance of toilets.

In my own home village in Uganda I worked with communities to tap spring water and construct latrines cheaply. The communities supplied labor and I paid for cement, sand, pipes and the mason to construct wells at an average of $15 each. Harvesting rain water was also achieved through using drums and water tanks made of sand and cement.

Communities were also assisted to construct latrines and trained in washing their hands in running water with soap or ash and to keep water in clean containers. Consequently, child morbidity and mortality declined considerably and their nutrition improved because of reduced incidence of waterborne diseases.

It is important to stress that awareness of the health and economic benefits of safe water and adequate sanitation has to be created in the community before sustained response is generated so that communities can choose to spend their meager resources on safe water and sanitation than on something else.

African and American partners need to understand that creating awareness must be a prerequisite for providing safe water and adequate sanitation.

Many worthy projects have not been sustainable largely because the so-called beneficiaries were not engaged and had no interest to invest in maintaining them. It is therefore very important that we keep in mind the necessity to engage African communities at all levels so that in the end these communities become the owners of the process and outcomes.

Thus, for this purpose human and institutional capacities for water and sanitation should be constructed within African rural communities.

To conclude, the overall lesson we have learnt is that education and training are and will remain the key instrument in creating awareness of the importance of safe water and good sanitation and in understanding one another better. Regarding the latter, the recently concluded and historic U.S – Africa Summit will play a critical role.

Thank you for your attention.

Money, propaganda and firearms won’t bring peace and security to Uganda

Since NRM government and its leader Museveni were identified as the darling of the west, much foreign aid money, experts and firearms have been poured into Uganda. At the same time Museveni agents have poured propaganda into western capitals and the media. It’s now close to thirty years since Museveni captured power by force with external backing financially, politically and diplomatically. Yet, western support appears to be steady, witness Uganda foreign minister’s election as president of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

I have maintained and still do that unless we come to grips with the real causes of Uganda’s problems, the country will continue to drift towards a revolution and subsequent civil war regardless of external support. There are two principle factors that we must deal with without fear or favor: intra-Nilotic fights for power and Baganda separatist attitude.

Intra-Nilotic fights for control of political power and access to resources

People who have covered Uganda as scholars or general commentators will tell you that Uganda’s main problem is ethnic conflict between Bantu and Nilotic people, the former in southern Uganda and the latter in the northern region. Nothing is farther from the truth. The fact of the matter is that since independence, political struggles have been intra-Nilotic. What Ugandans and foreigners didn’t know is that Tutsi, Bahima and Bahororo in southern Uganda speak Bantu language and carry Bantu names but they are ethnically Nilotic.

It is now well established that their Nilotic Luo-speaking ancestors came from Bahr el Gazal in the southern part of present day South Sudan, the cradle of Nilotic people in Uganda and western Kenya. Because Tutsi, Bahima, Bahororo and Banyamulenge men don’t intermarry with Bantu people, they have retained their Nilotic identity. One of the characteristics of Tutsi (Tutsi, Bahima, Bahororo and Banyamulenge) is their determination to control the political process and stay on top of others. They feel God created them to rule others. It is therefore their birth right. It is for this reason that political fights have been among Nilotic people such as Ibingira and Obote, Obote and Amin (it is reported subject to confirmation that Amin’s father was Nilotic), Obote and Museveni, Museveni and Okello. The current leaders of all major political parties in Uganda – NRM, FDC, DP and UPC are Nilotic. Increasingly in the Diaspora they are beginning to dominate witness the closeness between Sejusa and Amii Otunnu – both of them of Nilotic ancestry.

Baganda separatist spirit

It is well known that Baganda consider themselves separate from others. They have continued to falsely believe the British colonial administration made them a special group even when paragraph three of the Uganda Agreement of 1900 clearly states that Buganda is a province like any other. They rejected participation in Legislative Council (LEGCO) for fear their special status would be eroded. They rejected the 1959 recommendations about the future of independent Uganda. They boycotted the 1961 general elections.

Kabaka Yekka (KY) stated just before independence that unless Buganda and the Kabaka stand above everyone else Uganda will never see peace and prosperity. They facilitated the coup of 1971 and provided guerrilla facilities in the Luwero Triangle to Museveni to topple Obote II regime. In the Diaspora, they demand to lead any organization as was experienced at the Los Angeles conference in 2011. Baganda have established radio stations like radio munansi where you are allowed to broadcast only according to their agenda.

Now Baganda led by London-based Mutagubya, Gyagenda and Sempala are demanding Baganda only independent state. Radio Munansi carries these messages regularly calling on non-Baganda to leave Buganda as was done in 1966 when the Lukiiko decided that the central government should quit Buganda soil. Earlier in 1960 Buganda seceded but had no means of enforcement.

To sum up: unless Ugandans, our friends and well-wishers are ready and willing to address these two challenges head on, money, technology, expertise, propaganda and firearms won’t bring peace, security, stability, dignity, prosperity and happiness to Uganda.

Since 1987 Uganda has been the darling of the West. That has not prevented the country from becoming a failed state vulnerable to domestic and external shocks. Let us be realistic and act before it is too late. Uganda needs a peaceful and inclusive society at the political, economic and social levels. Continued NRM exclusive policies and practices will only consolidate the marginalized into forces that will destabilize the country and possibly worse. Let us be clear about that.

Eric Kashambuzi

Uganda is in a crisis: how did it get there and how will it come out?

That Uganda is in a serious crisis politically, economically, socially, environmentally and culturally is not in doubt. What are in doubt are the causes and possible solutions. This has given rise to a number of groups pointing fingers at one another. In the interest of time and space, I will focus on the salient points.

There are those led by Bishop Zac Niringiye and General David Sejusa who argue that it is Museveni and his family alone – his wife, son and brother that are responsible and should be held accountable. With Museveni and his family out of the way NRM will be able to get Uganda back on the right track and continue to govern under a new leadership. The term Musevenism has been coined to link all Uganda problems to Museveni.

There are those led by radio munansi who argue that Banyankole are responsible for the suffering of Uganda since 1986 and they alone should be held to account.

There are those who think that Baganda that have never accepted integration into Uganda on an equal basis with the rest of Ugandans are responsible for a big part of Uganda troubles including the current debate about self-determination with secession as an option.

There are those who go back to the time of independence and argue that it is Obote and the people he groomed including Amin and Museveni that are the root cause of the problem. London-based Musaja Gyagenda has been championing this cause relentlessly. Any Ugandan whose political views he doesn’t like he associates him/her with Obote and UPC.

There are those who think that the main problem is the unregulated influx of foreigners – legally seeking work, illegal immigrants and refugees. Through his policy statements that Ugandan has plenty of unutilized arable land and water resources and needs foreigners to assist in Uganda’s rapid economic development Museveni has encouraged massive influx of foreigners mostly from the neighboring countries that have occupied good jobs and taken over the private sector and assets especially land from indigenous Ugandans.

There are those who think that inequality in access to education, healthcare and jobs have created social groups and tensions between the rich and poor, employed and unemployed and have contributed to the crisis.

There are those who believe that Museveni thinks the crisis is in his administration and has forced him to temporarily or permanently transfer some key advisers including Kutesa to the United Nations, Sejusa to London, Nyakairima to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Mbabazi who has gone on leave.

There are those who think that NRM as a whole is messy and must be unseated from power, with no allowance for a compromise to form a government of national unity.

The solutions also vary. There are those who want a military solution because that is the language that Museveni understands. This group is led by Sejusa and his confidant Amii Otunnu who previously advocated democracy and good governance as solutions and Duncan Kafero with the backing of radio munansi and foreign recruits in his outfit as he confirmed on radio munansi.

There are those in the footsteps of Gandhi that want non-violent resistance. Their argument is that more authoritarian regimes have been unseated by non-violent means than through violence. The Hague Process on peace, security and development in Uganda has adopted the non-violent approach to regime change in Uganda.

There are those who want significant reduction of central government power that has suffocated regional, district and community ability to take decisions that affect their lives. This group is calling for federalism or confederalism. Once agreed the 1995 constitution would be amended to reflect these new political dimensions that no one party can change unilaterally.

There is the extreme group of Baganda that want secession or independence from the rest of Uganda. This is the group that has been very disappointed that Scotland did not vote for independence from Britain. The recent decision that the government of Catalonia in Spain has also decided not to go for a referendum on its secession from Spain has added frustration to those Baganda that had hoped to use these two cases if they had succeeded in forcing NRM to grant Buganda independence.

There are those who think that the different groups in the opposition should stop criticizing one another regardless of their diverging philosophies and just get together to force NRM out of power and then address their differences once in power. History lessons don’t lend support to this approach. More often than not revolutions by different groups that have one common goal of unseating an oppressive regime degenerated into civil wars because there was nothing to bind them together after the revolution had been accomplished.

The group that I belong to is of the view that winner take all is not a wise solution. Instead let all Ugandans come together except those alleged to have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide and form a transitional government under a presidential commission with a representative from each of Uganda regions. The government besides conducting the normal affairs of state would organize a comprehensive population census to determine who and how many we are, identify development needs and use this information at a national convention that would debate and decide how Ugandans wish to be governed. To succeed in this endeavor we need to put the interests of Uganda ahead of personal ambitions. We are all Ugandans first and foremost. Our diversity if properly nurtured is a tremendous asset. Let us keep that in mind. We are stronger acting together than separately, explaining in part why Scotland voted against independence.

Eric Kashambuzi is an international consultant on development issues. He lives in New York

Ugandans need and must interact as equals

There are some Baganda, a few perhaps, who will tell you directly or indirectly that they are more equal than other Ugandans. They will even tell you that you can’t apply for a certain position because you will offend the superior group. If you insist they will attack you in public to bring you down to where they think you belong. They consider the late Obote as unworthy and up to now they blame him for all the problems in Buganda. And if Baganda want to destroy you they will create stories to associate you with Obote as London-based Musagya Gyagenda has tried to do to me. And they think they can say or write anything and get away with it because politicians can’t dare challenge them because they want Baganda votes. So they appease them.

These are the people who don’t believe in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and especially the article which says that all human beings are born free and equal in rights and dignity.

Three London-based Baganda namely Musagya Gyagenda, Michael Mutagubya and lately Aloysius Sempala have stood out in demanding that Baganda are above everyone else. They claim Baganda are rich, powerful and other Ugandans need them for a successful political career and therefore you have to say what they want to hear.

When you object they descend on you like a ton of bricks. When I objected to bow to pressure on radio Munansi they chose to tear me down. Musagya Gyagenda insisted I am a UPC supporter and implied that I participated in organizing the return of Obote from Tanzania through Bushenyi. He has done that knowing that Baganda will not support a Ugandan associated with Obote and UPC. In response Jessica wrote that Baganda will not vote for me because they don’t approve of what I am saying about them.

Michael Mutagubya has been accusing me of distorting Buganda history to make Baganda unpopular among other Ugandans. To prove him wrong I decided to put on record what I had been saying about Buganda to which Aloysius Sempala reacted in an inconsistent manner and often apologetic manner. I have written or said the following most of it based on materials found in Uganda and even taught in Uganda schools:

1. Buganda originally had three counties. It expanded its territory mostly at the expense of Bunyoro as the latter declined;

2. In its expansion Buganda used excessive military force especially during the kingship of Katerega and Mawanda. King Katerega installed war leaders as provincial chiefs over conquered territories (Robert W. July 1998).

3. The arrival of Arabs around 1844 brought to Buganda guns that Baganda used to ravage neighboring territories hunting for slaves and ivory. “Repeated predatory expeditions sent out by the Kabaka Suni who reigned until 1856, and Mutesa who succeeded him for another twenty-eight years, yielded rich rewards in the form of produce and cattle as well as slaves and ivory”(R.W. July 1998). Buganda thus became rich by plundering neighboring territories and as we shall show later by exploiting cheap labor from Uganda labor reserve areas and neighboring territories and as administrators under British colonial rule;

4. Baganda collaborated with Britain in conquering Bunyoro, Eastern and Northern parts of Uganda. Semei Kakuguru’s record is well known. Baganda were rewarded by Britain with Bunyoro colonized territory that doubled the number of Buganda counties to twenty for its support in suppressing a rebellion by king Kabarega who had been regaining from Buganda territories that had been lost during Bunyoro period of decline in military power (Kahangi 2003);

5. Upon conquering or ‘pacifying’ the rest of Uganda, Baganda were employed as agents of British administration and churches. Baganda arrogance, exploitation and corruption made them unpopular and were removed from some districts including Bunyoro and Kigezi. Paul Ngorogoza (1998), former Secretary General of Kigezi wrote that “They [Baganda] thought and at times they made it obvious, that the people of Kigezi were ignorant and incapable of ruling themselves, but the central government held a different view – it saw that the people of Kigezi were only handicapped by lack of education”. Ngorogoza adds “In dealing with cases they [Baganda] did not distinguish between criminal and civil cases, for the simple reason that they wanted all cases to involve fines so that they could acquire goats and cows. … After collecting all these [goats and cows] from fines, the [Muganda] chief would send them home to Buganda or to wherever he had his land”. Other fines included hens, honey, beer, potatoes and beans. “In short, it was exploitation” Ngorogoza concluded. Because of this exploitation and other developments Baganda administrators had to leave Kigezi after 19 years, although they would have liked to stay on (Ngorogoza 1998);

6. Baganda kings exercised absolute power over their subjects. For example, Mutesa I “had power of life and death over his people and maintained his authority by severe and brutal punishments, such as the destruction of homes and property, the selling of his subjects into slavery, mutilation, burning offenders alive, or hacking them to pieces”(Arthur Tuden and Leonard Plotnicov 1970);

7. Since independence Baganda have insisted that unless they dominate Uganda and their king is above everyone else in Uganda there won’t be peace and prosperity (Onyango Odongo 1993). This pronouncement can easily be detected in how Baganda treat others as inferior.

8. Baganda have tried secession twice unsuccessfully in 1960 and 1966. They want to try again and that is why they have drifted away from federalism because that will not allow them to dominate other Ugandans and put the Kabaka above everyone else in the Republic. I have vigorously opposed secession because it will be catastrophic, hence the increased but unconvincing attack on my postings.

We can now see that:

1. Buganda expanded from a small nucleus of three counties by military conquest and use of military provincial chiefs to suppress resistance;

2. Buganda became rich by plundering neighboring territories, exploiting Ugandans where Baganda served as administrators under colonial rule and exploiting workers in Buganda cotton and coffee farms and on ranches. The exploitation of non-Baganda laborers in Buganda was revealed by Christine Obbo who wrote that Rwandese who came to Buganda were reported wearing tattered and patched clothes by Richards in 1954. By 1972 they were still wearing tattered and patched clothes and were treated like ‘rotten tennis shoes’(lussejjera envundu) (W A. Shack and Elliott P. Skinner, 1974);

3. Mutagubya has been conducting a program on radio munansi on Buganda past glory that needs to be restored to keep Buganda great. He has accused me of distorting Buganda history. By this note I am informing Sempala and others like him how Buganda became rich and asking Mutagubya to write his story so the people of Uganda decide.

Eric Kashambuzi

Why and how Buganda expanded from three to twenty counties

Gordon Kamugunda Kahangi a former teacher and administrator of Uganda schools and universities tells us that Buganda started with three counties of Mawokota, Busiro and Kyadondo. Later it incorporated parts Butambala, Busujju, Bulemezi and Ssingo. In the 19th century Buganda added Kooki, Mawogola, Buwekula and Buruli.

Kahangi stresses that the expansion of Buganda was achieved at the expense of Bunyoro, not so much because Buganda was gaining in military strength but because Bunyoro was declining (when the British arrived Bunyoro was in the ascendancy and regaining the territories it had lost to Buganda but Britain stopped that expansion). “As Banyoro became weaker, Baganda became stronger and acquired more territory from Bunyoro” (Kahangi 2003).

Baganda are believed to have come from the Mt. Elgon area through Busoga in 1200 AD with Kintu (Kahangi 2003) but found some Bantu that had settled in the area around 1000 AD (Benson Okello 2002). Other Baganda came to the area with Kimera either from the north or from Bunyoro-Kitara (Benson Okello 2002).

Since the 1920s Buganda has been the magnet attracting people from the Horn of Africa and from the Great Lakes region in search of work and security. By 1959 Baganda constituted half of the total population in Buganda. With the influx since Museveni came to power it would not be surprising if we found that some 60 percent of the people living in Buganda are non-Baganda, a point to be taken into serious consideration when Baganda think of secession.

Buganda expanded by conquest; surrender and by a large reward of Bunyoro conquered and colonized territory from British. Regarding Bunyoro territory Robin Hallettt (1974) writes “In 1894 Bunyoro was invaded by British and Ganda forces and the ruler, Kabarega, driven from his kingdom. The Ganda were rewarded for their part in the victory by a large slice of Nyoro territory, an award that created an issue – the fate of the ‘lost provinces’”. The reward from Britain to Buganda of Banyoro land doubled Buganda counties from ten to twenty.

The methods of expansion varied. As noted already Buganda expanded by getting a reward of Bunyoro territory from Britain that had defeated and colonized Bunyoro. Some counties perhaps by virtue of weakness militarily simply surrendered like Kooki. Others were acquired my massive military force.

Katerega played a big role in the expansion of Buganda but was a dictator who used violence and almost wiped out a whole clan. Then came Mawanda who conquered some counties including the invasion of Busoga where many people were killed, houses burnt and property looted. Kimbugwe also invaded Busoga.

The Arabs and Swahili entered Buganda with guns that helped Buganda to expand. By 1880 Kabaka Mutesa I possessed one thousand guns. “The possession of guns as well as the Anglo-Buganda alliance strengthened Buganda and enabled her to acquire more territory from Bunyoro …, and from Ankole (Kabula in the 1890s”(Kahangi 2003).

It is important to note that Buganda has succeeded to expand and sustain herself because of external help. The decline of Bunyoro helped. The arrival of Arabs and Swahili with guns helped. The arrival of Britain with guns helped. The support of Obote helped Mengo get rid of Kiwanuka. Amin helped Baganda get rid of Obote and Museveni helped Baganda get rid of Obote.

There is virtually no record of Buganda acting alone and facing tough competition. You see Baganda now rallying behind Sejusa whom they see as assimilated Muganda to help them get rid of Museveni.

Baganda are not interested in leaders that don’t have military backing. That is why Baganda are also in favor of military means because they are not able to command strong political support in the rest of Uganda.

Most of Buganda kings ruled ruthlessly. The example of Mutesa II will suffice. “He [Kabaka Mutesa] had power of life and death over his people and maintained his authority by severe and brutal punishments, such as the destruction of houses and property, the selling of his subjects into slavery, mutilation, burning offenders alive or hacking them to pieces”(Arthur Tuden and Leonard Plotnicov 1970).

Is this the society and traditions Michael Mutagubya want Baganda to return to?

We urge Baganda and others to be careful about that group of Baganda led by Mutagubya with his ideology or else you could end up under conditions similar to those that prevailed during Mutesa I time. This is part of our civic education.

Eric Kashambuzi

The role of Baganda in Uganda politics

I have been accused especially by Michael Mutagubya on radio munansi and Aloysius Sempala on face book that I am deliberately distorting the history of Buganda to sow the seeds of disunity and isolate Buganda from the rest of Uganda. The truth of the matter is that it is Baganda that have always wanted to secede and are now mobilizing for independence. Some Baganda with good and others perhaps with no good intentions have advised me to refrain from writing and talking about Buganda the way I am doing because Baganda may not support me should I seek a national public office.

I have stated many times over that you can never solve a problem without getting to the root cause. In Uganda for various reasons we have failed to tackle one of the root causes of Uganda’s political problems. The attempt of Baganda to isolate Buganda from the rest of Uganda is in large part responsible for the political difficulties Uganda has experienced. The British appeasement policy towards Buganda which has continued since independence contributed to Baganda feeling they are special and Buganda is a state within the state of Uganda.

Paragraph 3 of the 1900 Uganda agreement is very clear on the status of Buganda in relation to other regions. It states “The kingdom of Uganda [read Buganda] in the administration of the Uganda Protectorate shall rank as a province of equal rank with any other provinces into which the Protectorate may be divided”(J.V.Wild 1950).

The message can’t be clearer than that. Nonetheless, some Baganda have vehemently insisted that Buganda is a state within a state and have the right to secede. Because I have challenged this false position, I have been branded anti-Baganda that must be opposed and forced to surrender.

As Uganda moved towards independence a Constitutional Committee was established under the chair of J. V. Wild to consult with Ugandans on the form of government – unitary or federal – they prefer and write a report with recommendations on the way forward. Because “A very great majority of people in the Eastern, Northern and Western Provinces … favore[d] the unitary system of government for Uganda”, Buganda feared that it might be dominated by a coalition from the Eastern, Northern and Western provinces (Report of the Constitutional Committee 1959).

The Buganda government rejected the Wild Committee recommendations. During 1960 Buganda tried to negotiate with the colonial authorities for an autonomous federal status; independent army; a separate high court; a separate police force and control of Kampala and Entebbe.

Iain Macleod rejected the idea of negotiating with Buganda. Having failed to achieve the goal, the Lukiiko unanimously passed a resolution on December 30, 1960 and declared the independence of Buganda. The Protectorate government ignored the resolution and went ahead with preparations for direct national elections to the National Assembly. The Buganda government ordered a boycott (T.V. Sathyamurthy 1986). Elections went ahead in 1961 including in Buganda, albeit with a low turnout, and the Catholic-dominated Democratic Party led by Ben Kiwanuka won the elections.

The Kabaka’s government participated in the Lancaster House constitutional discussions but failed to get all they had asked for including retention of all the lost counties and making the Kabaka to be above the Prime Minister. In frustration, the Kabaka Yekka (KY) issued a statement which included a section that “We of Kabaka Yekka cannot hesitate to state that if Uganda is ever to be a prosperous and peaceful country, the Prime Minister must always be subordinate to the Kabaka and other hereditary rulers…”(Onyango Odongo 1993).

In 1963 the Uganda constitution was amended and Kabaka was elected the first president of the Republic of Uganda but the executive powers resided in the office of the Prime Minister. This unsatisfactory arrangement to Baganda and their loss of the 1964 referendum on the lost counties triggered events that led to another attempt at secession. “On the 20th of May, [1966], three saza chiefs … proposed a radical motion in the Lukiiko which was unanimously carried. The Lukiiko thereupon served an ultimatum on the central government which was asked ‘to remove itself’ from the soil of Buganda before the 30th of May 1966”(T.V. Sathyamurthy 1986).

The central government regarded the ultimatum as an act of rebellion to be stopped. “On the 24th of May, the Kabaka’s palace was surrounded by troops under the command of colonel Amin. Obote’s justification for ordering a direct frontal attack on the palace was a large cache of illegal arms had been found hidden in the grounds”. Be that as it may, “After an engagement lasting about twelve hours, the Lubiri was razed to the ground, the Royal Drums were burned, the Kabaka’s flame was extinguished, the resistance of the Baganda inside the palace was crushed, and the Kabaka and the Katikiro were put to flight”(T.V.Sathyamurthy 1986).

Baganda did not give up. They continued to agitate and in the process contributed to the environment that led to the overthrow of the UPC government under the leadership of Obote in January 1971. Amin who led troops that destroyed the Lubiri was warmly welcomed by Baganda when he became the head of state.

That Baganda were happy is revealed by statements from some Baganda religious leaders of major denominations. “The Catholic Bishop Adrian Ddungu of Masaka made a speech hailing Amin as a liberator – which apparently anyone who overthrew the Anglican Obote and his ‘socialism’ had to be.

Likewise, Baganda Anglicans welcomed Amin: Bishop Lutaya of West Buganda diocese is reported to have hailed Amin as ‘our redeemer and the light of God’”(Paul Gifford 1999).

During the guerrilla war from 1981 to February 1986, Baganda provided the largest support to Museveni and his National Resistance Army. They even offered the Luwero Triangle to wage his war from. Prince Ronald Mutebi lent his full support to Museveni as well as church leaders. “Emmanuel Cardinal Nsubuga and Haji Badru Kakunguru’s resistance to the Obote II government and their blessing of the five-year bush war was not a big secret”. When it was felt that there was strong resistance to giving Museveni a second term “… 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).

As a reward for their support, Museveni has appointed Baganda to very high and prestigious offices including three vice presidents, three prime ministers, speaker of parliament, two deputy prime ministers, vice chair of NRM, inspector general of police, army commander, chairperson of national land board, the key ministries of finance, attorney general and education etc. NRM members of Parliament from Buganda have solidly stood behind the chairman of NRM who is Museveni. The relations between Mengo and Museveni are very warm, witness the signing of the so-called Memorandum of Understanding and current plans to discuss the federal arrangement for Buganda alone.

It is worth noting that some 80 percent of Uganda’s National Income (GNI) is generated in Kampala and its vicinity with a population of less than two million out of 35 million Ugandans where the majority in the Greater Kampala region are Baganda and most likely getting a disproportionate share of the national income.

With all these benefits going to Baganda and the role they have played in crowning and sustaining Amin and Museveni one wonders why they continue to complain that Baganda are discriminated against and stories are distorted to separate them from the rest of Uganda and marginalize them even more when as the evidence above amply shows it is Baganda that have always wanted to secede – a move that I have opposed very vigorously.

Eric Kashambuzi is international consultant on development issues.

What the people of Uganda need to know

Correcting distortions: The history of Uganda was and continues to be distorted. And there are people who are comfortable with the status quo. London-based Michael Mutagubya is leading a protest on radio munansi that I am distorting the history of Buganda and Baganda should dismiss what I am doing in civic education.

The second champion of dissent is another London-based Aloysius Sempala who is leading a protest on face book that Baganda are not a multi-nation but one nation (same ancestral origin and same indigenous language). He even observed that he has never heard of the clans of Kimera. For him all Baganda are clans of Kintu.

He too is urging Baganda to ignore the confusion I am creating. However, research findings do not support Sempala assertion. Let us refer to only two sources by Ugandans (I have been accused of using materials written by white people).

Christine Obbo who has done extensive research in Buganda says that “… since it has been easy for foreigners to become Ganda, the Ganda make a further distinction between ordinary citizens and the pure Ganda, whose clans supposedly helped the first king of Buganda, Kintu to consolidate the Ganda state at Kiwawu. However, the people belonging to the clans that supposedly came with Kimera, the third king of Buganda according to oral tradition, claim that the legend of Kintu is just-so story and that the Ganda kingdom began with Kimera, and that it is their clans that are pure Ganda”(William A. Shack and Elliot P. Skinner 1979).

Benson Okello adds that “The Baganda were one of the Bantu clans which had been living within their present homeland since 1000 AD. Some clans joined them later. These clans claimed to have come with Kintu. Kintu was the founder of the Buganda kingdom. He came from the eastern direction, probably from the Mt. Elgon area. However, some clans claim that they came to Buganda with Kato Kimera who, according to Bunyoro-Kitara tradition, was a brother to Isingoma Rukidi Mpuga. Although some historians (especially Baganda historians) disagree that Kimera came from Bunyoro-Kitara, Kimera might have come to Buganda from the north as a result of the Luo invasion”(Okello 2002).

Clearly it is difficult drawing on these authors to avoid the conclusion that Buganda has more than one nation – clans of Kintu and Kimera and foreigners that have easily entered Buganda and become citizens.

As an aside, there are Ugandans who are advising me not to disturb Baganda because they need their political support in post-NRM regime. Let me be clear: what I am doing is civic education and should not be mixed up with politics or sectarianism.

In this presentation I will be selective because there is much ground to cover and many readers don’t like long articles. I have even been advised to make my sentences and paragraphs short for easy reading.

Uganda ethnic groups: Who are we ethnically? Some authors give four ethnic groups namely Bantu people; Nilotic people made up of River Lake Nilotes that originated in Bar-el- Gazal of South Sudan and Plains Nilotes also called Paranilotic; Sudanic people and Nilo-Hamitic people.

Two observations: First, there is no group called Nilo-Hamitic for the simple reason that there are no people called Hamite that would have intermarried with Nilotes to produce Nilo-Hamitic (For details read Zamani edited by Bethwell A. Ogot and John A. Kieran 1967; The African Experience by Roland Oliver, 1991 and African History by Philip Curtin et al., 1978 on the Hamitic Myth).

The second observation is that contrary to popular belief, Bachwezi were not ancestors of Luo but a Bantu aristocracy. According to Ogot “Bachwezi were not Bahima or Luo: they were a Bantu aristocracy who emerged in western Uganda in the fourteenth and fifteen centuries”(Building on the Indigenous by Bethwell A. Ogot 1999).

Settlement of different ethnic groups in Uganda

Several authors have simplified the settlement of Ugandans within Uganda along the Bantu in the south and Nilotics in the north and East divide. For example in Uganda: From the pages of Drum edited by Adam Seftel and published in 1994 it is stated “Bantu-speaking peoples live in the southern half of the country… The Sudanic-speaking people such as Lugbara, Madi and Kakwa live in West Nile and the Luo-speaking peoples live in northern and eastern Uganda”. That is the broad picture presented which is far from the truth.

Baganda in Uganda: Because of conflicts within Buganda and deployment of Baganda as civil servants and religious leaders, Baganda are found in virtually all parts of Uganda especially in western and eastern regions.

Tutsi in Uganda: As we know by now Tutsi are descendants of Nilotic Luo-speaking pastoralists that migrated from Bar-el-Ghazal area in southern Sudan. Bahima, Bahororo and Banyamulenge are all Tutsi cousins (we shall use the generic term of Tutsi to refer to all these groups). They adopt local languages and local names wherever they settle but men don’t marry outside Tutsi ethnic group. They have therefore retained their Nilotic Luo-identity (this might explain why Amii Otunnu and Sejusa both Nilotic Luo descendants might have decided to work together to lead Ugandans in the Diaspora and form the next government).

In western Uganda migration from then southern Sudan brought Nilotic Luo-speaking pastoralists who settled in Ankole as Bahima (a Tutsi clan as reported by Gerard Prunier 1995) and ruled Bantu people they found in the region and called them Bairu – slaves or servants. Another branch of Tutsi settled in Rwanda and Burundi where they dominated Bantu they called Bahutu – slaves or servants.

In mid-17th century, a group of Tutsi left Rwanda and founded Mpororo kingdom in present day northern Rwanda and southwest Uganda in present day Ntungamo district and northern parts of Kabale district. The Bantu who lived in the area were defeated and converted into Bahororo/Bairu. The Tutsi rulers became Tutsi/Bahororo, a distinction that must be kept in mind when discussing who has benefited under Tutsi/Bahororo regime led by Museveni who is a Tutsi/Muhororo.

Around mid-18th century, Mpororo kingdom disintegrated from internal conflicts. In Ankole Bahinda rulers took over parts of former Mpororo kingdom and the rest was given to them by the British that doubled the size of Nkore which became Ankole.

After disintegration, some Bahororo stayed in former Mpororo as commoners, others returned to Rwanda, yet others under Rwebiraro migrated to Rujumbura around 1800 as refugees and settled at Nyakinengo. They came with a standing army and defeated the Bantu clans who were subjugated and called collectively Bairu – slaves or servants.

At the time of colonization Makobore a Tutsi/Muhororo and chief of Rujumbura decided that all the people of Rujumbura (Tutsi/Bahororo and Bairu be called Bahororo for colonial administrative convenience). So in Rujumbura we have Tutsi/Bahororo led by Jim Muhwezi now in power and Bairu/Bahororo who are trapped in poverty under the NRM regime and increasingly being dispossessed of their land, a form of genocide in time of peace as such a decision will result in reduction of Bairu numbers through ill-health and forced birth control because of economic hardship.

Another group of Tutsi/Bahororo stayed in northern parts of Kabale and became Bakiga.

Beginning in the 1920s, many Rwandese and Burundians both Hutu and Tutsi migrated to Uganda in search of work. Some mostly Tutsi settled in Ankole as cattle herders and others spread to all parts of Uganda where livestock herding is found including in Buganda, eastern and northern Uganda and many of them settled permanently adopted local names and languages. Hutu workers concentrated on crop cultivation and settled mostly in Buganda.

Then came the 1959 social revolution in Rwanda that drove many Tutsi and their cattle into Uganda. Immediately upon arrival one third of them settled with their kin and kith and became Ugandans especially in Ankole and Kigezi. As independence was approaching in Uganda the British authorities did not want to be saddled with a refugee problem. They discouraged refugee camps and instead encouraged Tutsi and their cattle to filter into all parts of Uganda.

The Kabaka government driven by humanitarian concerns allowed Tutsi and their cattle to settle in Buganda and return home when the political situation normalized. Instead they have settled permanently, adopted Luganda language and names. They are therefore counted as Baganda free to enjoy all that Buganda provides on equal footing with indigenous Baganda and other foreigners that settled in Buganda – a source of conflict with indigenous or pure Baganda that is driving a desire for secession.

Thus, a combination of power conflicts and economic hardship in Rwanda and to a lesser extent in Burundi forced many people to migrate and settle in Uganda. It is important to note that Uganda became a hostile territory to Hutu refugees or workers since NRM came to power in 1986 and most of Rwandese and Burundians coming to Uganda are Tutsi.

Since the 1920s Uganda has received many Banyarwanda. By around the time of independence they formed about 40 percent in Buganda alone. For more information read Rwanda Conflict by Dixon Kamukama, 1997 and Administrators in East Africa by B. L. Jacobs, 1965).

Who are Banyamulenge? They are Tutsi pastoral people who fled Rwanda in mid 19th century as a result of instability during the reign of King Kigeri Rwabugiri (1853-97). They settle in DRC near a hill called Mulenge – hence the name Banyamulenge – the people of Mulenge Hills (Ben RawLence 2012). It is believed that some of them have found their way in Uganda and are participating in many aspects of Uganda politics, economics and society.

Thus when we talk of Batutsi (Tutsi) we include Bahima or Hima of Ankole, Batutsi/Bahororo and Batutsi/Banyamulenge. The leaders of Uganda under Museveni have come mostly from this group.

But there is still confusion as to who has benefited

You will hear people especially Baganda telling you or writing like Amii Otunnu has done that Banyankole and increasingly Bakiga have taken all the good jobs, have killed other Ugandans especially Baganda and northerners and easterners and must pay when the time comes.

First of all in trying to understand who is ruling Uganda we must draw an ethnic distinction, sad but necessary.

Ankole: In Ankole tell me how many Bairu the large majority in that area are in power and in important business in Uganda? Those called Banyankole who have benefited tremendously are Tutsi (Tutsi from Rwanda and Burundi, Bahima and Bahororo led by Museveni).

Kabale: Many of Ugandans from Kabale who register themselves as Bakiga are actually Tutsi that remained behind as Bahororo and those that entered Uganda after the social revolution of 1959 (that was triggered by Tutsi when they assaulted a newly appointed Hutu sub-chief) and since then.

Rujumbura: In Rujumbura the prominent personalities in Uganda politics, army and civil service are Tutsi/Bahororo. Jim muhwezi, Aronda Nyakairimama, Tumukunde, two women presidential advisers, Allan Kagina of Customs Department and Keith Muhakanizi Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance.

Tell me how many Bairu/Bahororo hold prominent positions and yet we have the largest number of educated and experienced people.

Thus in former Ankole and Kigezi districts where Bantu/Bairu people are the majority and have the best trained have not benefited from the NRM regime. So when Museveni government collapses and you descend on Ankole and Kigezi to settle scores you are going to kill innocent people who have suffered under Museveni regime. Tutsi will have run out of the country with their money. So keep that in mind.

Who has benefited in NRM government from Northern and Eastern region?

What I want to say here briefly is that there are many Baganda and Batutsi living in these regions. They have adopted local names and languages. We therefore need to do our homework to make sure that these regions are not disproportionately represented by Baganda and Batutsi.

Baganda in Museveni government: Since NRM came to power, the prominent and prestigious jobs have gone to Baganda possibly dominated by Tutsi (I have not yet analyzed the ethnic composition). Three vice presidents have been Baganda (Kisseka, Bukenya and Ssekandi and before then Speaker of Parliament), three prime ministers have been Baganda (Kisseka, Kintu Musoke, Nsibambi). Ssemogerere second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Internal Affairs and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Abu Mayanja third Deputy Prime Minister and Cabinet Minister. Mukiibi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ponsiano Milima Minister of Finance. Mayanja Nkangii Minister of Finance and Chairman: National Land Commission. Overall the ministry of finance has been dominated by Baganda including Milima, Mayanja Nkangi, Ssendaula and now Mayanja. Moses Kigongo has been Vice Chairman of NRM.

Buganda and Luwero War: The location of Buganda has made Baganda suffer needlessly. I have spoken about this matter perhaps more than anyone else. Baganda are being dispossessed of their land. But this is happening everywhere. Poverty and unemployment are happening everywhere. On statistics alone one would think Baganda are doing relatively well economically considering that over 80 percent of Uganda Gross National Income (GNI) is generated in Greater Kampala where the vast majority of Baganda live or work.

Does Baganda suffering call for secession?

Secession of Buganda from Uganda has two major hurdles. First, do Baganda have the numbers and/or the will to carry it out? The 1959 census showed that Baganda and non-Baganda were in a tie of 50:50 that is Baganda were half of the population in Buganda. Since then Buganda has experienced unprecedented immigration and occupation and settlement. If you add on the human loss during the guerrilla war and the many Baganda that have fled into exile and taken on dual citizenship you begin to wonder whether Baganda who are calling for secession from exile have the numbers to wage a war of secession. Christine Obbo observed in 1979 “There was fear [among pure Baganda] that the assimilated Ganda might one day dominate the political structures”. That was 1979 and it is possible the number of non-Baganda has grown faster than that of pure Baganda. If conducted professionally the 2014 population census will give us the exact information.

The second hurdle Buganda faces is the rising consciousness for self –determination by several nations or sub-nations. Advocating secession may open a can of worms that could result in the disintegration of Buganda. Therefore those who are advocating secession need to consider the costs that might exceed the benefits. Instead of secession, Baganda may wish to look at the advantages of a federal or confederal arrangement that give regions and communities power to manage their own affairs except in matters of defense, security, foreign affairs and national currency. What lesson can Baganda learn from Scotland?

This brief presentation is designed to open debate so that Ugandans are fully aware of what challenges we are up against and design policies, strategies and programs that would iron out these distortions. All Ugandans must participate in these debates so that no one is left behind.

Eric Kashambuzi

The nations of Uganda should define how they want to be governed

A nation is defined by two main characteristics: a common ancestry and a common indigenous language (in Spain for instance people are questioning the idea of the ‘Spanish nation’ that carries negative connotations. They would rather discuss a grouping of 17 autonomous regions – Andrew Whittaker 2008).

Nations or people are the ones, not governments that decide how they want to be governed including declaration of independence, federation or confederation etc. The principle of the people determining how they should be governed was contained in the 1941 Atlantic Charter between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. The charter supported the right of all people to choose their leaders (Roger Matuz 2009).

In 1945 the Charter of the United Nations was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. It states: We the people of the United Nations are determined to develop friendly relations among nations large and small based on respect for the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples (UN Charter).

In 1960 the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 1514 (XV) on Self-determination. It reaffirmed that “All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”(United Nations 2002. Human Rights Part I Universal Instruments).

As we examine how Ugandans should be governed in post-NRM period we need to be sure we know what constitutes a nation and the extent to which these nations are independent and free to pursue their political, economic, social and cultural affairs. There are some Ugandans that have come up with 15 nations as a basis for determining how Ugandans should be governed. They have for instance classified all people in former Ankole as one nation; people in former Kigezi as one nation; people in Buganda as one nation and people in former Toro as one nation etc. We need to understand what criteria were used and to be convinced that that those were the right criteria before moving forward.

What we know is that for administrative convenience, the many independent clans that existed in pre-colonial communities that formed Uganda were compressed into “tribes”. For example in Rujumbura the many Bantu/Bairu clans were joined with Nilotic/Batutsi groups and collectively called Bahororo because Makobore who was chief decided all the people of Rujumbura be called Bahororo. That is how the “tribe” of Bahororo came about and has caused so much confusion.

This collective designation of Bahororo was for purposes of administrative convenience. That it was so can be seen since Museveni came to power. It is Batutsi/Bahororo that have enormously benefited from the NRM regime and not Bairu/Bahororo including those that supported him during the guerrilla war. It should not have surprised those who knew sectarianism in Rukungiri why Tutsi people who openly supported or led UPC during the guerrilla war were the first to be protected by NRA when Museveni captured power and the first to get jobs in NRM government or compensated for their properties that were destroyed during the 1981-85 guerrilla war.

Timothy H. Parsons (2010) has cleared this confusion about tribe or nation by stating that “Confused by the range of fluid and often overlapping ethnicities of pre-conquest Africa, British officials concluded that Africans lived in unchanging tribal societies. In the imperial imagination, a tribe was a lower form of political and social organization that, with proper paternal guidance, might one day evolve into a nation. … Working in the service of colonial governments, anthropologists mapped tribal languages, social institutions and customary laws to fashion the tools of imperial administration for district officers. … However, British officials actually knew very little about the local institutions and customs they claimed to protect. Their ignorance created opportunities for individuals [like Makobore of Rujumbura] to convince imperial officials and ethnographers to make them chiefs with the vested authority to define the tribal customs that became the basis of imperial administration”(Parsons 2010). That presumably is how the present so-called 15 nations of Uganda came about.

Through this administrative convenience some clans were placed under hostile chiefs or unacceptable names. For example the people of Bufumbira that were called Banyarwanda changed the name after independence to Bafumbira.

Buganda absorbed parts of Banyoro in part as a reward for supporting Britain to “pacify” Bunyoro and in part because to the British officials the Banyoro and Baganda looked the same, shared similar ecological conditions and spoke a similar (Bantu) language. So they did not anticipate the problems of “Lost Counties”.

As researchers and objective politicians there are issues that need to be addressed fairly in order to find a lasting solution in Uganda. The issue of nations is very delicate and politicians governed by personal gain don’t want to touch. Patriotic Ugandans who are more interested in laying a solid foundation for present and future generations than in gaining a public office should address these issues provided they are fair in research, analysis and recommendations.

For instance, the antagonistic history of Bunyoro and Buganda is still with us today. Robin Hallet (1974) wrote that “Between Bunyoro and Buganda there was a long tradition of conflict into which the British inevitably found themselves drawn. In 1894 Bunyoro was invaded by British and Ganda forces and the ruler, Kabarega, driven from his kingdom [and Bunyoro was colonized]. The Ganda were rewarded for their part in the victory by a large slice of Nyoro territory [that had become colonized], an award that created an issue – the fate of the ‘lost counties’ destined to trouble Uganda…”.

Ipso facto, technically these ‘lost counties and nations or peoples’ are still colonized. According to the UN Charter and UN Resolution on Self-determination, the people in these lost counties (Banyoro and others) have the right to decide how they want to be governed and choose their leaders. The enumeration of people living in those territories that gave one nation the edge over the minority nation(s) was the wrong measure of self-determination.

It is important to note that after Bunyoro was defeated and colonized “Baganda chiefs then demanded all of Bunyoro, claiming that it was a former vassal state. After a careful consideration, the British decided these claims were not fully substantiated, but they permitted Buganda to assimilate a portion of Bunyoro… On assuming administration of the territory, Buganda chiefs attempted to compel the people [conquered and colonized Banyoro] to remain as laborers, thereby inciting a struggle that broke the peace periodically…. Still a major issue today, this conflict is known as ‘the lost counties dispute”.

For the record it is important to note that it was Buganda that at one time was a part of Bunyoro and not the other way around and Banyoro were regaining their territory lost to Buganda when the British arrived. It is also important to note that Bahororo of Ankole who felt they had been colonized by Bahinda chiefs of Ankole demanded a separate district at independence but failed like in Bunyoro to get it. Bunyoro got back only two counties out of eight counties in the 1964 referendum. There are many pending conflicts of this kind in other parts of Uganda including in Rukungiri district.

To resolve these conflicts Uganda should avail ourselves of instruments and decisions in the Atlantic Charter, United Nations Charter and the 1960 United Nations resolution on self-determination. Short of this Uganda will remain a troubled part of Africa and the world.

As Ugandans (nations or individuals) understand their rights and freedoms they will not rest until justice has prevailed. The post-NRM government should take bold steps and address these issues through convening a national convention to discuss everything within the framework of Uganda because in diversity and good governance Uganda is stronger than splitting into small economically unviable communities as has been ably but sadly demonstrated by dividing Uganda into over 100 districts.

Eric Kashambuzi

People power sent Marcos into exile

Ferdinand Marcos was elected president in 1965 and re-elected in 1969. To overcome a two-term limit and stay in power, he declared Martial law in 1972. He made promises like land reform, end corruption and large-scale foreign investments which he did not meet. Opposition grew by civilian non-violence and armed rebellion. In 1983 the opposition leader Benigno Aquino returned home from exile and was assassinated at Manila airport on arrival, an act of desperation.

In 1986 Marcos called snap elections which he rigged and supporters of the opposition leader Corazon Aquino objected. “When Marcos moved toward his own inauguration, the people of Manila took to the streets and physically surrounded the presidential palace in a non-violent protest. Fearing a civil was the Filipino army abandoned Marcos, who fled the country”(Arthur Cotterell 2011).

Why do Ugandans want to live separately?

I have been conducting research on this subject from primary and secondary sources for a long time. By and large, the desire to drift into separate communities or states is driven by a sense of insecurity not only in Uganda but in many parts of the Great Lakes region as well. There was a time when suggestions were made that the Tutsi and Hutu in Burundi and Rwanda should be separated so that the Tutsi live together in one country and the Hutu in another. The idea did not advance to the stage of negotiations because ethnicity is not the primary source of conflict. For example, from 1962 to 1994 conflicts in Rwanda were not inter-ethnic but intra-ethnic between Hutu in the south and Hutu in the north.

In Uganda there is a strong sense of post-independence injustice on the one hand and insecurity on the other hand. During colonial days some regions and communities benefited at the expense of others. The indirect rule system benefited chiefs and their relatives at the expense of their subjects. Areas that were designated labor reserves in northern and western Uganda suffered economic and social injustice at the expense of those that were designated growth poles in Buganda and Busoga. By way of illustration, let us examine this injustice and insecurity with reference to Rukungiri and Buganda respectively.

In Rukungiri where I was born and grew up Bairu/Bahororo to which I belong were dominated by Batutsi/Bahororo under the indirect rule system that benefited the latter at the expense of the former. Notwithstanding this inequality, there was some sense of shared responsibility and caring that nurtured social cohesion especially during hard times. Inter-ethnic differences were softened by social relations that existed in many areas of human endeavor.

During my school days, some of my best friends were Tutsi including the late Rwekitama and Hindi. I stayed with Hindi in Kampala en route from Nairobi University to Rukungiri. Karahukayo and I were great friends. At one time we shared a bed because they could not find extra space where we spent a night in Rukungiri town after an evening social event. Rwabugaire and I played soccer together and he took good care of me when we went to Kabale for sports competition. Kabateraine Ruhinda Gombolola chief who owned a vehicle gave me free rides. While visiting Rweshama, a small fishing town, I met Bahinguza who invited me to lunch at short notice. Tabisa and Magoba took good care of me at Rwamahwa dispensary when I fell sick and was admitted. Kitaburaza Rukungiri saza chief and later Secretary General of Kigezi district was a good man at least in terms of giving us Bairu students a ride in his car when there was space. These are Tutsi people (some of them have departed and rest in peace) that took care of Hutu people.

The situation drastically changed when politics was introduced as independence approached that allowed Bairu and Tutsi to compete on an equal basis (By the way there are no Bahima in Rukungiri. There are Batutsi/Bahororo people who fled former Mpororo kingdom after it collapsed and Bahima replaced them).

Notwithstanding Tutsi numerical inferiority to Bairu, the former were determined to dominate the political theater by dividing Bairu. Bairu who opposed Tutsi hegemony were branded meat eaters (that they stole and slaughtered the cow of the Kigezi constitutional head). Firebrand Bairu were isolated and targeted for harassment. Many Bairu even migrated to other areas of Uganda.

The situation got worse under the NRM government, using impoverishment and dispossession as a tool of domination. Bairu have no jobs even when, on balance, they are better educated. Bairu are losing their land under the so-called willing seller and willing buyer concept when actually transactions are largely conducted at gun point or under cover of darkness. Bairu area has been incorporated into Rukungiri municipality without consultation and municipal taxes which Bairu can’t afford are forcing them to sell their land and other assets at throw away prices. It is this sense of insecurity and dominance that is causing Bairu to wish they could live alone in peace. At the same time inequality between Tutsi and Bairu is causing instability that is threatening the comfort of Tutsi. There are stories – subject to confirmation – that the Tutsi in Ntungamo and Rukungiri want to secede and join Tutsi in Rwanda and Eastern DRC.

The geography and history of Buganda put the kingdom in a strategic position and gained disproportionately over other regions, a situation some Baganda contest as on radio munansi. As negotiations for a unitary independent state approached, Baganda feared they might lose to the poorer regions. According to the Wild Constitutional Committee report of 1959, “A very great majority of people in the Eastern, Northern and Western Provinces … favor[ed] the unitary system of government for Uganda”. On the other hand “… it seems that the feeling in Buganda for a greater and greater degree of autonomy and for a federal arrangement derives from a fear that Buganda might be dominated by a coalition from the Eastern, Northern and Western Provinces”(Wild Report 1959). When Baganda did not get what they wanted they declared Buganda independent in December 1960 but had no means of implementing the decision. Baganda reluctantly participated in the Lancaster Constitutional conference where fear of DP winning forced UPC/KY, strange bedfellows, into a coalition.

Buganda loss of a referendum on two lost countries to Bunyoro in 1964 led to another attempt at secession when in 1966 Lukiiko decided in a hurriedly drafted resolution that the central government quit the soil of Buganda within ten days. This was another secession that did not materialize.

The deteriorating conditions under which Baganda and indeed all Ugandans not connected to the center of power are living since 1986 have rekindled the idea of secession. While Bairu of Rukungiri and Baganda and others we did not examine in this brief have a genuine need for self-determination and separate political existence, it is important to draw lessons from those that have attempted: some have failed and others have succeeded.

Katanga and Kasai in DRC attempted and failed. Biafra attempted and failed. Chechnya tried and didn’t go far. Somaliland that seceded in 1992 has not been recognized by any country. South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Kosovo have not received adequate recognition for ideological reasons. “Not surprisingly, its [Russian] recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia drew swift condemnation from the United States and the European Union, just as these two powers’ recognition of Kosovo … drew condemnation from the Kremlin ”(World Policy Journal Spring 2013).

The record in Eritrea and South Sudan, the two countries that succeeded in gaining sovereignty appear not to be functioning as expected and don’t serve as role models for emulation.

This leaves us with one option: to work out a governing system that keeps Uganda together but allows different regions and communities within regions to be responsible for managing their own affairs except in areas of defense, security, foreign affairs and national currency that would remain central government responsibility.

Ugandans should agree to establish a broad-based transitional government managed by a presidential team after NRM has been unseated. The transitional government should conduct a comprehensive population census to give a sense of how many we are and who we are. The census results should then form the basis for holding a national convention to debate and agree on how Ugandans should be governed, allowing flexibility to avoid a one-size-fits-all model. This undertaking requires cool mind, forward looking and a patriotic spirit to succeed.

Eric Kashambuzi