Who is ruling Uganda since 1986?

This question keeps coming up in our discussions. So let me try to answer it hoping that this time everyone will be satisfied. As noted earlier, Uganda has entered the age of asking questions and demanding answers. Uganda has also entered the phase when citizens are determined to exercise their natural rights and freedoms in political, civil, economic, social and cultural areas. In this we have received support of development partners that have warned the NRM government to refrain from violating rights and freedoms of Ugandans. The age of taking things for granted and maintaining rulers and ruled status quo is coming to an end. Adjustments on the part of authorities used to handing down instructions and using force to ensure compliance are needed. Let it be known to those still in doubt: Uganda is moving forward and the message is clear for all to read. Those attempting to stop or turn back the clock are only inviting trouble. When the French and Russian mobs led by women demanded government relief from food and fuel shortages, the respective governments ignored their calls and summoned police to disperse them. By the time they realized that the situation was serious it was too late. The rest we all know. Museveni and his team should not underestimate the power of unemployed, hungry and angry masses.

Ugandans will not allow a minority group in concert with foreign investors and supporters to enjoy the fruits of Uganda’s economic growth disproportionately while the majority of Ugandans wallow in abject poverty. It is a moral outrage! It is this mass poverty that has raised the question about who exactly is in charge of Uganda affairs. Are these true Ugandans? To answer this question adequately, we need to visit briefly the Great Lakes history for easy reference. Let me add at this early stage that those who critique the work of others should do so constructively and stick to the message instead of introducing their pet ideas and confuse readers.

Generically Uganda is ruled by Batutsi (Banyamulenge who are Batutsi from DRC under the overall leadership of Bahororo who are Batutsi from Rwanda with Museveni as their head). Bahima who are cousins of Batutsi will also be included in this generic term of Batutsi. The ancestors of Batutsi are Nilotic Luo-speakers who entered the Great Lakes region including Uganda with long horn cattle from South Sudan (not Ethiopia as originally reported). Wherever they settled, they adopted local names and local languages (Lukiga, Lunyankole, Luganda, Luteso etc) but remained Nilotic in identity and retained their secrecy because men don’t marry outside their Nilotic ethnic group and therefore don’t integrate socially and economically. They integrate politically in order to dominate other ethnic groups because they still believe they are born to rule although Museveni’s record has shuttered that myth beyond reconstruction. They have impoverished other Ugandans in the process. That Museveni is presiding over a failed and decaying state is no longer in doubt.

For example in Rujumbura, Bahororo have dominated politics by deliberately marginalizing Bairu in part through marrying their influential men leaving Bairu leaderless. Further, in order to keep Bairu poor and powerless, these wealthy Bahororo don’t invest in Rujumbura (I am not aware of any even UN sponsored project in some parishes I have visited like Rwentondo except one UNICEF borehole). Their huge investments are elsewhere. They don’t interact socially except during political campaigns when they superficially organize events of roast meat and beer to get Bairu votes and then disappear until the next campaign. Yet Rujumbura has had some of the most important leaders in Uganda since independence. These are sensitive and controversial issues that must be discussed and a mutually acceptable solution found. The issue of land ownership must be part of the agenda.

What has happened in Rujumbura is being extended to other parts of Uganda. Since independence there has been a surge of Batutsi women marrying influential non-Batutsi men primarily for political domination. Non-Batutsi men who marry Batutsi women get integrated into Batutsi society as junior partners (they keep them away from their secrets about how to continue dominating Uganda). In this new environment they cease to lead their relatives who become leaderless and marginalized. That is in large part how Batutsi have captured power and retained it to this day by using one dimensional ‘love’ of Batutsi women marrying non-Batutsi men while no Mututsi man marries a non-Mututsi woman (if it has occurred that a Mututsi man married a non-Mututsi woman there must be a very good political reason). Because Batutsi are a minority they have also relied heavily on foreign support. That is why Uganda’s economy and administration is controlled by foreigners when its seasoned citizens are locked out or marginalized at home to give room to foreigners that don’t understand Uganda however well intentioned they might be.

Originally Batutsi from Rwanda and Burundi entered Uganda since the 1920s in search of work. With specialization in cattle herding they settled in all parts of Uganda where the main economic activity is cattle herding (the cattle corridor runs from north east to southwest Uganda into Rwanda and Burundi). Many of them stayed and married from Bahima or brought Batutsi women from Rwanda and Burundi. Another wave of Batutsi entered Uganda since the Social Revolution in Rwanda in 1959. They have scattered to all parts of Uganda. Being nomadic, it is easy for them to move and settle in different places unlike agriculturalists that tend to stay in one place.

Museveni who believes in Batutsi superiority born to rule, traced them with help of historians in all parts of Uganda. By way of emphasis, let us repeat what we have said already. Most if not all key and strategic positions in business, government and security forces are dominated by Batutsi. It is difficult to understand that unless you have studied the situation for a long time. You will find, more often than not, that MPs and LC V chairpersons and other leaders in government we take for granted as Baganda, Basoga, Bakiga, Batoro, Banyankole, Bacholi etc are actually Batutsi.

To confirm this domination just inquire silently – without raising suspicions – in your community and someone will tell you that so and so parents came from Rwanda or Burundi or DRC. And ask whom they married. They will tell you all their wives are Batutsi. And ask whether a Mututsi woman has married a non-Mututsi man in the community. The answer is likely to be yes. Then ask the social status of this non-Mututsi man and you will learn he is one of the most politically influential in the area and also economically well off. That is how I have conducted much of my research but you need to invest a lot of time because answers don’t come so easily especially when you need to confirm from a second source.

Listening to Radio Munansi which I do on Saturdays and Sundays and following debates on Ugandans at Heart Forum, you can’t fail to realize how Baganda in particular are disappointed with their leaders who have been vice presidents, prime ministers, speaker and other key ministries and yet Baganda have not made commensurate progress under the NRM government. On closer examination you may realize that people you have all along taken for granted as indigenous Baganda are actually Batutsi who represent Buganda but are actually not interested in Baganda’s development interests as has happened in Rujumbura described above. They know that creation of a middle class is not good for them because it will raise demand for participation in politics. The growth of the middle class in France contributed to the French Revolution. That is why Museveni is not keen on developing social sectors of education, healthcare, food security and housing because implementation of these programs will ultimately lead to the creation of the middle class. Museveni likes to keep Ugandans unemployed, sick, hungry and poor. Then he buys them at election time. That is why towns with middle class people are difficult to bribe and dominate. And to keep the rural poor in their place and permanent supporters of NRM, subsistence farmers who make up 70 percent of Uganda population were neglected as Museveni revealed during the last State of the Nation address. Museveni believes in a feudal system of lords and serfs. The creation of municipal constituencies is designed primarily to keep rural constituencies safe for NRM.

The issue of who rules Uganda would not have arisen if Batutsi leaders had been wise enough and shared equitably the benefits of Uganda’s economic growth. But because they still believe in feudalism, they didn’t bother perhaps even to read about peasant revolts in Europe. They thought they would contain the situation by military means and violating human rights and freedoms of indigenous Ugandans as they did to Bairu and Bahutu of southwest Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi and continued doing so under British indirect rule. Many Batutsi still boast – even today – that one Mututsi is equal 1000 Bairu people! Bairu education and expertise are meaningless. You are a Mwiru and therefore inferior. That’s it! If you don’t believe me find out and report your findings.

Because of complacency and underestimating the intellect of others, they thought that nobody would discover their motive and strategy. When you do they descend on you with all sorts of names. Those who have followed comments on my articles in Uganda Observer, New Vision and Ugandans at Heart Forum, you have read the abuses that have been hauled at me. The incriminating language of genocide, sectarianism and tribal hatred is used to lay a trap to arrest me under Anti-sectarian law should they catch me and lock me away or worse. Some of you have suggested I change my name to stay out of harm’s way while others have encouraged me to continue the struggle regardless of these abuses. I thank you all for your support. I thought hard and long before I took the first step. You reach a level where retracting becomes counterproductive. As I reported at the UDU conference in Los Angeles last year, I have dedicated the balance of my life on earth and my soul wherever it will rest to continue the struggle until Uganda becomes a comfortable place for all Ugandans where equality of opportunity will reign supreme.

Hopefully, it is now clearer who is ruling Uganda. It is Batutsi scattered in all parts of Uganda. They speak local languages and use local names. They interact with different communities for the sole purpose of extracting their vote and use it to enrich themselves and keep voters down like the lords in Europe exploited and kept serfs down. However, when the serfs got tired they rebelled and eventually destroyed the feudal system. Ugandans have no choice but to rise up, protest, demonstrate, go on strike and stop cooperating with authorities until Uganda becomes ungovernable and NRM accepts terms for a transitional government. You should not be afraid because Museveni has been sternly warned against using force on innocent demonstrators. In your demonstrations avoid indiscipline which Museveni might use to crush you and get away with it. UDU has done a lot of work in bringing NRM brutality on innocent people to the attention of the international community. An increasing number of development partners are extending a helping hand towards UDU. Change is coming. Help to accelerate it by joining hands with others. Don’t sit on the fence, come and participate in the forces that are shacking NRM which has begun to crack. Museveni’s early declaration of another term is designed to put out fire that is raging in his kitchen and might engulf the whole house. That is the beginning of Uganda becoming ungovernable thereby paving the way for a transitional government. With good champions and coordination, non-violent resistance will work in Uganda. Force will be applied only in self-defense. We hope that won’t be necessary.

For God and My Country

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General & Chief Administrator, UDU

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