We offer below our preliminary thoughts to be updated as developments unfold. This is done to help Ugandans at home and abroad to consult and take informed decision to support or not to support Sejjusa and his infant organization hurriedly established two months ago with carefully selected individuals.
1. The timing of Sejjusa’s defection is suspect, coming so soon after NRM government expressed deep concern about the growing strength of the opposition in the diaspora;
2. Fearing that there might be disturbances and obstructions at the conference launching his Freedom and Unity Front (FUF) organization in London in December 2013, Sejjusa issued private invitations to carefully selected individuals instead of a public invitation which would have attracted many participants. Either by accident or change of mind at the conference one participant raised disturbing issues about Sejjusa and was forced out of the conference hall, giving the organization a memorable bad start;
3. To disguise the true purpose of his mission, FUF has been described as ecumenical but there is nothing religious in the Manifesto that has many deficits as outlined already and posted on face book and Ugandans at Heart Forum among other channels of communication;
David Sejusa (formerly Tinyefuza) has refused to answer legitimate questions. Either he is unwilling or unable to do so presumably to avoid implicating himself in what has gone wrong in Uganda over the last 30 years in which he played a pivotal role in the military, security and legislative branches of government.
Sejusa gives the impression that we are still living in the 17th and 18th centuries that were dominated by absolutism, scheme of things and divine right of rulers that considered themselves as God’s representative on earth and were answerable only to Him and not to the people they ruled.
Let us remind Sejusa that we are living in the age of Enlightenment dominated by reason, dissent, asking questions and demanding satisfactory answers. Therefore setting the clock back isn’t an option. The earlier the questions asked are answered the better for Sejusa and his FUF.
Attacking others using unfortunate language in the hope that pressure to answer questions will be reduced could end up revealing Sejusa’s Achilles’ heel.
Meanwhile it would be helpful if Sejusa could present evidence that he is a refugee registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Failure to do so could be interpreted that Sejusa is still working for NRM government to destroy the opposition in the diaspora.
Reading the Manifesto gives the impression that it was prepared in a hurry by a narrow range of specialists without practical experience. Some areas especially in the social and demographic sectors, regional and external relations appear to have been forgotten or remembered as the Manifesto was going to the press. For example, the East African economic integration and political federation are just mentioned in passing without indicating the benefits and costs to Uganda. The economic sector does not refer to the general shortcomings of the Washington Consensus launched in 1987 and why and how it came about and what was sacrificed in the process.
The Manifesto is largely a description of what has gone wrong in Uganda since NRM came to power in 1986. There is little mention of what needs to be done to right the wrongs with virtually no mention of how it is to be done. The focus on institutions and separation of powers among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government is not enough. In the absence of capable and patriotic leadership and democratic governance institutions can’t work.
This is the third time that Baganda have suddenly demanded independence from Uganda. On December 30, 1960 after Baganda failed to agree with the colonial secretary on a formula for independence acceptable to them, Lukiiko decided to secede. On May 20, 1966 Lukiiko once again demanded independence by giving the central government an ultimatum to quit Buganda on or before May 30, 1966.
The colonial government ignored the decision and went ahead with elections in 1961 for the independence of Uganda which the Democratic Party (DP) won under the leadership of Ben Kiwanuka and became the first prime minister of self-governing Uganda. The second decision for independence was interpreted by the central government as a rebellion that had to be prevented, resulting in the 1966/67 political and constitutional crisis that abrogated the 1962 constitution under which Buganda enjoyed a federal status.
Since the abrogation of the independence constitution, Baganda have consistently demanded its restoration and return of the federal system of governance. The demand received considerable attention at home and abroad including a debate on Radio Munansi for two consecutive weekends.
Buganda was founded around A.D 1200. It consisted of three counties of Busiro, Mawokota and Kyadondo.
Baganda were originally divided into six clans, each with a separate totem. Although the six clans were equal, the leader of Civet Cat (Ffumbe) clan was leader of all clans, making him the first leader of Buganda.
The first Kabaka of Buganda was Kato Kintu. Kabaka Kintu deprived clan heads of their political and judicial powers, leaving them with cultural powers only. He created thirteen clans to counter the original six and made himself the leader of all clan heads (Ssabataka).
Baganda were divided into royals and non-royals. The non-royals were subdivided into three groups: clan leaders (Bataka), civil/political leaders (Bakungu), and peasants (Bakopi).
All the land was entrusted to the king for use by all without discrimination. (The 1900 Buganda Agreement between Buganda and Britain changed this arrangement giving land to the Kabaka, saza chiefs, few prominent Baganda and the Crown, leaving peasants who constitute the majority of Baganda out in the cold. Land ownership in Uganda including in Buganda is currently changing hands once again). The Kabaka was supreme ruler.
The purpose of my writing and speaking is to get people to realize that we are – to use a metaphor – sitting on an active volcano that could erupt any time. Those who are living in comfort at home and abroad do not want to be bothered. They have told us to leave them or their regions alone as though they live in a world of their own completely detached from everything and everyone else. They have told us many times that we should let sleeping dogs lie. Our fear is that should these dogs wake up and are hungry they may tear us apart.
Thankfully, there are many Ugandans – and the number is increasing – who share our concerns and have encouraged us to continue the work we are doing in civic education. It is hoped that those in denial will soon realize that Uganda is about to catch fire and will join with us to save it. Those of us guided by patriotic principles and long term development trajectory will resist an appeasement approach that contributed to the Second World War and provide information truthfully to enable Ugandans take an informed decision. We are fully aware of the political costs involved. Saving Uganda for present and future generations is more important than pursuing a short-term political goal.