To unite Uganda we must know what divides us


This article has been written by popular demand as part of end-of-year reports. All Ugandans want a united, peaceful and secure country that guarantees civil rights (equal protection and opportunity under the law) and civil liberties (freedom of speech, press, religion and due process of the law). Yet the majority doesn’t want to know what divides us. Those who have attempted to explain have suffered abuse and intimidation. And those seeking political support prefer to remain silent. One compatriot advised that we should let sleeping dogs lie but when they wake up they may get mad when they see the condition they are in.

NRM took a dramatic step and outlawed talking about our religious and ethnic differences that have divided Uganda since before colonial rule. Accordingly, the anti-sectarian law was promulgated by parliament. This restriction has become counterproductive in the face of increasing sectarianism under the NRM government that is disproportionately favoring Tutsi and “tutsified” Ugandans (non-Tutsi men who have married Tutsi women).

Tutsi are dominating every aspect of Uganda society particularly the political, economic and security forces. With extensive intelligence networks, Tutsi or their agents and surrogates have penetrated every aspect of Uganda society at home and abroad to silence dissent against NRM wrongdoing. Ugandans need to understand that we have inalienable (God given) right to dissent and responsibility to hold public officers accountable that no government can take away. Rights are not privileges.

A country of religious diversity

Uganda since its creation as a colonial state in 1894 has been a divided country religiously. Before it became a state, Uganda suffered serious religious wars involving Catholics, Muslims and Protestants. The victorious Protestants were favored under the colonial and independence regimes until 1986 when NRM introduced some changes that have promoted the interests of Muslims and Catholics, putting the Protestants, according to them, in a disadvantaged position. While merit should continue to govern public appointments and promotions, every effort should be made to strike a religious balance. Creating equal opportunity for all Ugandans regardless of religion is the best way of leveling the playing field which NRM has ignored.

Economic, social and military divisions

Economically, Uganda was divided into economic and labor reserve areas with Buganda and Busoga serving as economic growth areas while the northern and western areas were set aside as labor reserves to provide cheap labor to growth centers. Social services and infrastructure such as education and health care services as well as energy and transport networks favored the growth areas. Labor migration of males from labor reserves undermined gender division of labor putting too much pressure on women who had to do men work besides their own. By setting minimum height requirements for entry into the security forces the colonial government favored the northern region especially Acholi and Lango districts.

Ethnic Divisions

Ethnically, Uganda is made up of two major groups. Bantu people are the majority with a concentration in Buganda and western region. They originated from the Cameroon/Nigeria border. The second major group is the Nilotic people who are sub-divided into Lake and River area of South Sudan or the Nilotic Luo-speaking people such as Acholi and their cousins the Tutsi; and Highland and Plain Nilotic people such as the Karamajong and Itesot. There are no Hamitic people and therefore no Nilo-Hamitic people (a mixture of Hamitic and Nilotic people). All Ugandans are black people although Tutsi have insisted they are white people, more intelligent and born to rule. Bachwezi were a Bantu aristocracy and not ancestors of Tutsi people. Bantu people had chiefs, states and adequate systems of administration contrary to popular belief that they were stateless before Tutsi arrived in the area bringing civilization with them. But we know that the nomadic nature of pastoralists like Tutsi doesn’t create settled conditions in which civilizations develop. Because Tutsi had no civilization of their own they adopted Bantu civilizations they found in the Great Lakes region. The Mwami (king) title of Tutsi kings was the title of Hutu kings before Tutsi arrived in the area.

Linguistic and ethnic differences

The Nilotic people who moved into southwest Uganda adopted local Bantu languages and local Bantu names but remained Nilotic in identity because they refused to intermarry with Bantu people in part to keep secrets to themselves. Therefore while linguistically all the people in southwest Uganda speak Bantu language, they are ethnically different. Tutsi are Nilotic and the rest are Bantu. So when we talk of Banyankole and Bakiga and Bafumbira we should always draw a distinction between Nilotic Batutsi and Bantu/Bahutu and Bairu people. With due respect, Ugandans should understand that many people who pose as Banyankole, Bakiga and Bafumbira are actually Tutsi mostly of refugee origin since 1959 who are holding key positions in Uganda government, security forces and private sector.

We need in the opposition leadership Ugandans particularly from southwest Uganda who know how Tutsi have positioned themselves to govern Uganda indefinitely using local Uganda names and languages in all parts of Uganda. Museveni has hired some of the best historians and other relevant professions to identify Tutsi in Uganda and outside to be hired in key positions of Uganda society and thereby marginalize Bantu people who don’t get tutsified to serve the interests of Tutsi people.

Foreign workers in Uganda

From the 1920s, Uganda became a center of economic growth and attracted workers from neighboring countries especially from Burundi and Rwanda. Hutu worked on cotton and coffee farms mostly in Buganda and Tutsi worked in all cattle herding parts of Uganda. Tutsi are therefore more widely distributed in Uganda than Hutu. Many of these workers chose to stay permanently.

Refugees in Uganda

The independence political instability in Congo, Burundi and Rwanda as well as Sudan witnessed massive flow of refugees into Uganda. The Tutsi from Burundi and Rwanda concentrated in Ankole and Kigezi and later moved to other parts of Uganda where they joined those that arrived earlier as cattle herders. Therefore Tutsi are more scattered in Uganda than any other ethnic group. So when we talk about Banyankole, Bakiga, Baganda, Bateso, Bacholi and Batoro etc we must remember that there are many Tutsi in these areas. NRM under Tutsi leadership has identified all Tutsi in all parts of Uganda and appointed them to key and strategic position in all areas. Therefore when considering ethnic groups in public institutions and private sector we should draw the distinction between Tutsi and non-Tutsi Ugandans. For example, some people who speak Luganda and carry Luganda names may be Tutsi people promoting Tutsi interests versus Buganda interests. Or, people who pose as Acholi may be Tutsi, as Langi may be Tutsi, as Bakiga may be Tutsi and as Banyankole may be Tutsi. And since Museveni and his core group are focusing on promoting Tutsi interests to dominate Uganda indefinitely we need to know who is who in our midst. If you add on tutsified Ugandans you can see why Tutsi are dominating all aspects of Uganda society at the expense of majority Bantu people. Tutsi have so much money acquired through corruption that they are able to buy any political office. We need to be aware of this otherwise the minority is going to rule the majority forever. This is not sectarianism or conspiracy theory as some would argue, it is a fact.

Negotiations for independence

Negotiations for independence resulted in the 1962 constitution that gave Buganda a federal status, the kingdoms of Ankole, Bunyoro, Busoga and Toro a semi-federal status and the rest a unitary status. For this reason, Uganda was neither a monarchy nor republic. The Queen remained the head of state until 1963. Uganda was simply known as “The Sovereign State of Uganda”, sowing the seed for potential conflict, leading to the 1966/67 constitutional and political crisis.

Nilotic domination of Uganda politics

Contrary to popular belief, Bantu have played a minor role in Uganda politics. Ignatius Musazi the founder of Uganda National Congress (UNC) from Bantu group was eased out when a breakaway group led by Nilotic Obote joined with Uganda People Union (UPU) to form UPC in 1960. Ben Kiwanuka leader of DP from Bantu group was eased out when UPC and KY formed a coalition that formed the first post-independence government with Nilotic Obote as executive prime minister.

Internal politics within UPC were led by Nilotic Ibingira from Ankole (Ibingira group) against Nilotic Obote from Lango (Obote group). At the Gulu UPC conference in 1964 Nilotic Obote and Nilotic Ibingira worked together and ousted Kakonge from Bantu group as secretary general of UPC.

The 1966/67 political and constitutional crisis was triggered largely by the feud between Nilotic Ibingira as secretary general of UPC and Nilotic Obote as president of UPC.

Nilotic Obote was overthrown by Nubian Amin also close to Nilotic group whose ancestors came from South Sudan. With Amin out of the way, the fight was between Nilotic Museveni and Nilotic Obote. Nilotic Museveni worked with Nilotic Bazilio Okello to overthrow Nilotic Obote from power. Nilotic Bazilio and Nilotic Tito Okello overthrew Nilotic Obote from Power in July 1985 and they too were overthrown by Nilotic Museveni in 1986. Since 1986 Nilotic Museveni has been battling Nilotic Kony in northern Uganda and Congo forests.

Intensification of Tutsi rule

Since before he became president, Museveni has worked hard to recruit and promote Tutsi in all branches of Uganda society. Because of numerical inferiority of Tutsi people, they have decided to use their Tutsi women into political marriage with influential Bantu people and tutsify them so they promote Tutsi interests. The Tutsi interests include finding land in Uganda to settle Tutsi from densely settled Great Lakes region. That is why Museveni has regularly preached liberal immigration policy and that Uganda has plenty of unutilized arable land to convince Ugandans that more people won’t be a problem although Ugandans at the same time are being advised to practice birth control because there is no more land for population expansion. Uganda is now firmly under the control of minority Tutsi. This has been done in part by keeping Bantu in the diaspora and marginalizing or retrenching Bantu from the public service.

The role of the military in Uganda politics

In Uganda the military was invited into politics by civilians as a result of the conflict between Nilotic Ibingira and Nilotic Obote groups. Ibingira group invited army commander and Nilotic Opolot to join them leaving Nilotic Obote with no choice but to invite Nubian Amin the deputy army commander.

After the Moshi conference in 1979, the failure of the executive to agree with the legislature resulted in the ouster of two civilian Lule and Binaisa presidents and replaced by a military commission led by Muwanga with Museveni as deputy.

The military commission helped Obote return home and win the 1980 elections. The military sent ten representatives to parliament setting the stage for Museveni to repeat it since 1986.

The emboldened military officers have now decided to replace civilian politicians as head of political parties and president. Military officers are retiring from the military service and entering politics and easing out civilian politicians at the ballot box. Now the two major political parties are dominated by military commanders and officers. NRM is led by General Museveni who is grooming his son Brigadier Muhoozi. FDC is led by former commander General Muntu. While we appreciate their service as military professionals whose main duty is to protect the nation against external aggression, the general consensus is that they are not qualified to run governments. Amin and Museveni records have demonstrated that they are not qualified. Obote a civilian head of state has performed by far the best and the record he set in 1970 in general living standards still stands. Uganda in 2012 under Museveni leadership since 1986 is sliding backwards although Uganda has received unprecedented amount of foreign aid and remittances from Ugandans in the diaspora. This poor performance confirms that soldiers with much due respect don’t appear to run governments well. Soldiers in Latin America also performed poorly and voluntarily handed over to civilians.


Uganda has had a difficult history dominated by Protestants until 1986. Since independence in 1962, Nilotic people of Batutsi from Ankole and Kigezi and other parts of Uganda as well as Nilotic people from northern region have dominated politics and security forces. Since 1986 Tutsi and tutsified Ugandans have dominated the political theatre with Bantu languishing in the backyard. Uganda main political parties are under Nilotic leaders with Olara Otunnu president of UPC and Nobert Mao president-general of DP, Museveni chairman of NRM and Muntu president of FDC. These are facts.


Uganda is at a crossroads. Politically, economically, socially and ecologically, Uganda is in bad shape. The country is now described as a failed state and in economic crisis, corrupt, sectarian and divided under military dictatorship. The four political parties are run by Nilotic people two from Ntungamo (Muntu and Museveni) and two from Acholi (Mao and Otunnu).

NRM has suggested that to revamp the economy, peasants should be dispossessed of their land and hand it over to rich farmers to increase production. But large scale farmers are less productive and less efficient than small holder farmers when properly facilitated. We recommend that small holder farmers who are endorsed by the international community including the Group of 8 (G8) industrialized countries and the United Nations should continue to be the backbone of Uganda’s agriculture with increased funding, extension services and modern methods of farming.

What is needed in Uganda is leadership in the opposition that understands how Tutsi govern, expose their tricks and force formation of a government of transition government of national unity to prepare for free and fair multi-party elections. The next elections should hinge on an independent electoral commission and standardized campaign finance. A vetting committee should also be established to screen candidates at presidential and parliamentary levels. The role of the military in politics and government needs to be reviewed based on Uganda’s experience with military governments and the general conclusion from Latin America that military governments lack comparative advantage in civilian administration. Above all we need to compromise and reach balance that is acceptable to all stakeholders. Military force and Tutsi domination won’t last forever regardless of outside support.