Uganda: complicated birth; difficult upbringing

Uganda, the size of the United Kingdom, was born after a complicated ‘pregnancy’ following the Berlin conference; border adjustment negotiations among the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium and France; religious and colonial wars that left some parts devastated. The outcome was compression into one country of segments of society with different cultures, hostile neighbors, different government systems and levels of economic and social development. Indirect rule using former oppressive chiefs over their subjects and employment of Baganda advisers to other parts of Uganda complicated the situation. Buganda was rewarded with territory taken from Bunyoro for cooperation in subduing the latter, a deal that Bunyoro never accepted. Through the 1900 agreement, Dundas reforms of 1944 and the 1955 agreement, Buganda was accorded a status of a state within a state. Because of various local administration ordinances, the colonial administration introduced a strong decentralized government system at provincial and district levels at the expense of central administration. Collaboration between colonial administration and the Protestant Church at the expense of Catholic and Muslim Faiths also created complications.

National Recovery Plan (NRP)

Executive Summary

The NRP is based on a vision of free, united and prosperous Uganda and a mission of rule of law, equality and justice for all Ugandans.

Despite its natural resource abundance, resilient people and strategic geographical location at the heart of Africa, Uganda has remained a poor country with over 50 percent of its population of some 33 million living in absolute poverty because of inappropriate policies, political instability, wars and, above all, rampant corruption, sectarianism and mismanagement of public funds. Uganda has been declared a failed state under military dictatorship disguised as democracy. The country is in deep political, economic, social, spiritual and environmental crisis. Corruption has spread and deepened becoming endemic and a principal constraint in Uganda’s development process. NRM has lost the will and capacity to address these challenges. It has resorted to electoral malpractices to stay in power and use of force to frustrate Ugandans demanding change. Consequently, Ugandans and increasingly development partners are losing confidence in the NRM government.

Message for NRM legislators (MPs) on East African cooperation

I have learned that one of the principal purposes of the just concluded Kyankwanzi week long seminar for NRM legislators was to discuss acceleration of the East African economic integration and political federation. I have written extensively on this subject and posted articles on Ugandans at Heart Forum and on Therefore the message to NRM legislators will be brief.

As a majority party in parliament you have a special responsibility to promote, defend and protect the interests of Ugandans in whatever you do. Any negotiation must bring net gains to Uganda. The history of the East African cooperation appears to have yielded fewer benefits but more losses to Uganda. This must be avoided in the current and future negotiations. To prepare yourselves well you may need to look at what has happened or is happening in other parts of the world engaged in a similar exercise.

Regarding political federation MPs are urged to study why the following failures have occurred:

1. The Central African federation of Northern and Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland;

2. The Yugoslavia federation;

3. The czechoslovakia federation