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

Uganda needs a transitional government under collective leadership

Uganda is slightly over fifty years old since it attained independence in October 1962. Uganda had been slated to achieve independence ahead of then Tanganyika and Kenya. However, internal political conflicts prevented that from happening and Tanganyika got there ahead of Uganda. Even with this delay, we were not able to resolve all the outstanding challenges. In a rush to beat the Catholic-based Democratic Party (DP) that won the 1961 elections and formed the self-government administration, the Protestants rushed into a UPC/KY coalition.

The constitutional negotiators at Lancaster House could not agree on the head of state so we ended up with the Queen represented by the Governor-General. In 1963 the constitution was amended and created the post of a constitutional head of state which was occupied by the Kabaka of Buganda in an election that was considered unfair by contenders from other regions, leaving executive power in the prime minister from the north to the discomfort of Eastern and Western regions. A disproportionate share of the benefits of independence went to the central and northern regions. The executive presidency created in 1967 put too much power in the hands of one president and contributed to the military coup of 1971 that concentrated even more power in the northern region in one military leader.

The problem of having one head of state was recognized during the interim government after the overthrow of the Amin regime in 1979 when a three man presidential commission comprising Wacha Olwol (northern region), Justice Musoke (Buganda region) and Nyamuchoncho (western region). The eastern region was left out. The personal ambitions of Obote and Museveni recreated the post of head of state and government under one leader and eliminated the institution of a presidential commission.

The disadvantages of excessive concentration of power in Museveni as head of state and government; commander-in-chief of the armed forces and chairman of the ruling party are so well known that they don’t need repeating here. Suffice it to say that the institution of a single person as head of state has not served Uganda well in its ethnic, cultural, economic, social and demographic diversity. Accordingly, we need a collective arrangement that will accommodate all the four regions and Uganda diversity as proposed below.

At the political level dissatisfaction has also been expressed beginning with blocking DP from electing representatives to parliament in Buganda in the 1962 elections to the movement system that essentially became a one party political arrangement and the winner-takes-all since the multiparty system was launched in 2005.

Democracy at gun point in addition to bribery by NRM in an environment lacking a level playing field has rendered elections in Uganda an exercise in futility. Ugandans are being disenfranchised in large numbers while foreigners are voting with NRM against the Uganda constitution that bans them from voting. Thus, Uganda’s political and central administration institutions that have benefited a few Ugandans and concentrated power in a small geographic area and one ethnic group at the expense of the rest is setting the stage for a political explosion.

What we are seeing in Uganda in terms of concentration of power and resources is similar to what obtained in France before the 1789 revolution, before the Mexican revolution in 1910, before the revolution in 1917 in Russia and the Ethiopian revolution in 1974. Uganda is thus ready for a revolution – peaceful or bloody. What is missing is a spark whose arrival can’t be predicted. It could occur next week or next month. But we can stop it if there is political will and common sense among Ugandans. We need to do the following to avert a catastrophe.

1. Ugandans must agree on abroad-based transitional government excluding those who are alleged to have committed crimes against humanity whether still in NRM government or out of it. The government must be equitably represented by region, demographics, faiths and ethnicity.

2. The transitional government must be led by a presidential commission so that each region is represented by one person. Care must be taken to ensure that we don’t end up with people from the same ethnic group or religion dominating the commission. There are some ethnic groups that have settled in all parts of Uganda.

3. The public service commission must also be managed by a commission instead of one chairperson. This proposed arrangement will minimize sectarianism in recruiting, reassigning and promoting staff.

4. A formula must be designed to ensure that the security forces (the army, the police and the intelligence) are similarly managed on a collective basis to ensure that power is not concentrated in one person or a group of persons from one region or ethnic group.

5. The cabinet must be similarly constituted so that there is a balance in the distribution of posts regionally ensuring that the most important and strategic ministries of defense, internal affairs, foreign affairs, finance and attorney general don’t go to one region or one ethnic group

6. Separation of powers among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government must be strictly observed through transparency and accountability to the people of Uganda that must participate effectively in decisions that affect their lives.

Apart from the day to day management of state affairs, the presidential commission (or council whichever sounds better) should conduct a comprehensive population census to determine exactly how many we are and who we are. The data would be useful for planning purposes. Then a national convention should be convened for Ugandans to debate and decide how they wish to be governed.

This collective arrangement has the potential of introducing peaceful and inclusive conditions for economic and equitable growth, job creation, poverty eradication and ultimately attainment of state security and individual freedom from fear, freedom from want and freedom to live in dignity.

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

The likely impact of Buganda secession

Some Baganda – probably a few but very vocal – are calling for an independent kingdom for Baganda only. They argue that non-Baganda have devalued their culture, impoverished Baganda economically, socially and environmentally and dispossessed them of their assets and that there are some non-Baganda who are confusing Baganda. For example, a friend contacted and told me that around 12:15 pm on Sunday, September 14, 2014 London-based Michael Mutagubya stated that he is on radio munansi to make sure that people like Kashambuzi do not confuse Baganda. Apparently he did not elaborate which he should be asked to do. Mutagubya is focusing his sessions on Baganda culture presumably preparing Baganda to demand a return to their pure traditions as the rapidly globalizing world is adversely affecting Buganda culture. One would like to know what Mutagubya advised the Katikiro regarding Buganda independence during the latter’s recent tour.

This group of Baganda is demanding that non-Baganda must quit Buganda soil and go back to their areas (every goat must return to its peg) and has divided Baganda. This is reminiscent of what three Saza chiefs in Lukiiko forced on other members of the Lukiiko to demand in 1966 that the central government quit Buganda soil within 9 days. Here is what happened. “On the 20th May, three saza chiefs – two of them, Lameka Sebanakitta of Kyaggwe, and James Lutaya of Ssingo, close associates of the Kabaka (the third being the saza chief of Buddu) – 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 30th May 1966. … On the 28th May, five of the Kabaka’s ministers, obviously unhappy with the Lukiiko resolution of the previous week broadcast a message from Kampala appealing for calm and an end to the fighting. It was clear that though the embattled and embittered Kabaka was in favor of the Lukiiko motion, his Katikiro was opposed to it”(T.V.Sathyamurthy 1986). Similarly Baganda are again divided on the issue of secession.

Secession alone is a complex matter. Baganda only secession and independence is even more complex. Who is a Muganda? How did Buganda acquire its territories? Has self-determination been fully exercised in Buganda by communities and individuals? If not, should secession allow individuals and communities to exercise their right to self-determination and decide whether to remain part of Buganda or drift away? What will happen to territories that have more non-Baganda than Baganda as happened in Kosovo where Albanians exceeded Serbians and demanded independence?

It must be understood by Baganda and non-Baganda alike that the location of the central government and implicitly the massive attraction of non-Baganda to Buganda was dictated by Baganda. The Kabaka Yekka Movement issued a public statement which reads:

“As from 1st March, 1962, the seat of Uganda Prime Minister will be in Buganda at Entebbe, and the National Assembly of Uganda will also be in Buganda in Kampala. We of the 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 as shown by the Kabaka in the picture opposite”(Onyango Odongo 1993).

What are the legal implications, if any, should the central government and non-Baganda be forced out of Buganda?

The first problem Baganda will face is to define who a Muganda is and who is not. The second is what to do with all the non-Baganda in Buganda that demographically exceed those who consider themselves Baganda. In a democratic society this matter should be voted on. In the unlikely event that non-Baganda quit Buganda how will compensation be handled? Furthermore, Baganda and non-Baganda alike need to know that there are many Baganda living outside Buganda in virtually all parts of Uganda. What will happen to those who may not want to relocate to Buganda?

A settlement that will result in people being relocated will lead to serious humanitarian challenges as happened when India and Pakistan split in 1947. The split between India and Pakistan was agreed upon by all parties but was immediately torn apart by the bloodshed of partition. “This led to a bitter religious war and mass migrations as over 15 million people moved between the two new states”(Neil Morris et al 2001). “The rioting and dislocation associated with the partition led to horrendous inter-communal violence between Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims, with the death of between two hundred thousand and one million people. Since then, India and Pakistan have gone to war three times over control of the Kashmir region (1947, 1965, and 1999) and once over East Pakistan’s (now Bangladesh) secession from Pakistan (1971). Tensions between the two nuclear-armed countries remain high and further conflict is always a possibility – a situation exacerbated by fundamentalists on both sides”(Chris Abbot 2012).

The split of India and Pakistan resulted in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi considered the father of India, “On 30 January 1948 he was shot and killed by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist who held him [Gandhi] responsible for weakening India”(Chris Abbot 2012).

The civil war in Nigeria from 1967 to 1970 might also give a hint about what might happen in Uganda should Buganda insist on secession. Nigeria became independent on October 1, 1960. The elections leading to independence were contested at regional and national levels. Ethnic rivalries were also reflected in the national armed forces, resulting in coups and counter-coups. At that time many Ibos were serving in the north as civil servants. The January 1966 coup was led by Ibo junior officers. The coup was followed by anti-Ibo riots and many people were killed. The disturbances demonstrated Hausa dissatisfaction with Ibo dominance at the federal level that was seen to exclude northerners. In July there was a counter-coup and General Ironsi, an Ibo, was killed and was followed by massacring of Ibos that were still in the north.

The military governor of the Eastern Region, Lt-Col Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu declared that the region had seceded into an independent Ibo state known as the “Republic of Biafra”. This announcement was followed by a brutal civil war from 1967 to 1970. The federal troops won. In January 1970 Biafran forces surrendered. During the war military casualties reached 100,000. However, between 500,000 and two million Biafrans lost their lives largely from starvation (Europa Publication 1998).

The two examples should make Baganda, their friends and well-wishers and indeed the rest of Ugandans to take another and possibly a harder look at the likely impact secession of one group or another would cause. To avoid the likely catastrophe, let us keep Uganda together, imperfect as it is, and debate and decide how Ugandans wish to be governed. To do this, we need patriotic and visionary leaders willing and ready to cede powers to the regions except defense, security, foreign affairs and national currency. This would require abroad-based post-NRM transitional government managed by a presidential team to conduct a comprehensive population census and organize a national convention to debate and decide how Ugandans wish to be governed.

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

Political marriage of convenience hasn’t worked in Uganda

Pressure is building up for the opposition at home and abroad to come together and remove NRM from power and establish a new government. We are already witnessing a lot of travelling between Uganda and Europe and North America and groups being formed overnight in readiness to take up their seats in the new government. For some what is important and urgent is removal of the regime and the rest will follow.

This rush to form coalitions or political marriages of convenience reminds us of what happened in Uganda shortly before independence in 1962 with UNC (Obote branch) joining UPU to form UPC and then UPC forming a coalition with KY and in Moshi just before the overthrow of Amin regime in 1979.

In the latter case, Ugandans in the Diaspora who had nothing in common except to defeat and replace Amin administration gathered in Moshi and agreed to form a new government with nothing else in common. As expected trouble started immediately they arrived in Kampala: innocent people were killed and others fled. Lule’s government was overthrown after 68 days in office. A hurriedly organized election was rejected by those who lost and led to a bloody guerrilla war that left some 700,000 people dead in the Luwero Triangle alone.

In an attempt to unseat NRM government, opposition groups are rushing to form coalitions that may end up as temporary marriages of convenience. There are two major challenges at the moment that need to be addressed comprehensively.

The first one is about the method to apply in removing the current regime from power. One school wants armed violence in the first instance, reasoning that fire must be met with fire. This school is only focusing on mobilization for war. The second school is advocating civil disobedience or non-violent dissent in the first instance using a wide range of methods that have been circulated by The Hague Process that go beyond regime change, to be tailored to local circumstances. A meeting of the minds needs to be reached to avoid a winner-take-all situation that will destabilize the post-NRM regime period.

The second challenge is what to do the morning after a new government is formed. There are groups that have already produced blue prints on economic and political matters and there are those that are focusing on regime change and hope to do the rest after regime change. The third category includes those who are hoping that another occasion similar to the Moshi conference will develop and all groups with or without any mission and vision will be invited to form the next government. The Moshi model should not be repeated under any circumstances.

UDU that was founded in 2011 has prepared a National Recovery Plan (NRP) widely circulated and available at www.udugandans.org. The Hague Process (THP) has prepared a political road map of non-violent resistance and formation of a broad-based transitional government led by a presidential council.

We urge groups that have not done so to begin without delay. In this regard, we suggest that for the sake of coherence and coordination for efficiency and effectiveness they use as a base what UDU and THP have already produced, enrich them as appropriate instead of re-inventing the wheel so that in the end we have one common document.

Failure to address these two challenges and to stick to agreements among various groups might lead to political chaos and possibly a civil war that followed revolutions including in France, Mexico, Russia, Ethiopia and Iran.

As a reminder of what could go wrong if the advice is not heeded we shall look at Mexico in and after 1910 and Somalia in 1991 and after when a promise was broken.

In Mexico three men got together in a hurry and ousted the repressive government of Porfirio Diaz who had been in power for thirty-five years and then disagreed about how to work together in the new government, plunging the country into a bitter civil war.

We shall also outline how three opposition groups in Somalia agreed in a hurry to work together, overthrow the repressive government of Siad Barre and form a new government after all three had consulted but one of them chose to form the government alone and triggered a political crisis. These lessons should help Uganda opposition groups to forge a common platform and stick to promises or decisions taken.

Three Mexicans – with different perspectives – namely Francisco Madero a conservative who presented himself as a liberal and called for a revolution against Diaz was joined by Francisco “Pancho” Villa a bandit believed to have killed somebody, became a fugitive and survived by robbing the rich and Emeliano Zapata whose main interest was to get land and liberty back to the peasants. The revolution was successful and Madero became president. Diaz fled the country. Sadly, the revolution was followed by a civil war because the three men had no common strategy.

Madero stalled on land reform which he had promised Zapata as a condition for joining him. Zapata who had no patience demanded that land reform be initiated without further delay. When that did not materialize he left the government and formed anti-Madero army.

In the political chaos that followed, Pascual Orozco, the army commander mounted a counter-revolution. Pancho Villa joined General Victoriano Huerta and defeated Orozco. Huerta got Madero murdered and became president.

Huerta was hated by both Villa and Zapata who joined Alvaro Obregon and Venustiano Carranza against him. Huerta was defeated and fled into exile to Spain. In turn, Obregon and Carranza hated and feared Villa, the bandit-revolutionary. Zapata refused to recognize Carranza as the new head of state. Zapata, the socialist land reformer and Villa arranged to join forces and oust Carranza but disagreed on how to run the country after they captured power.

Before capturing state power, Villa had suggested that he become commander in chief of the forces of the two men. Zapata refused to go along. Two days later both men leading their separate forces entered Mexico City and proceeded to the presidential palace that had earlier been vacated by Carranza. Villa and Zapata disagreed the second time over sitting in the presidential chair. Villa who was apparently more interested in power than Zapata sat in the presidential chair first and then called on Zapata to take his turn. Zapata refused arguing that “I did not fight for that. I fought to get the land back”. He added “We should burn that chair to end all ambitions”.

Notwithstanding these differences, the two men complemented each other. Villa had a stronger army but no coherent political goals while Zapata had a clear political vision and a weaker army. If the two had been able to come together, “Mexico would have been spared much bloodshed”(Joseph Cummins 2008) during the civil war.

The lesson for Uganda here is that we should come together and utilize our talents for the common good according to our comparative advantages, not fight for positions we may not be qualified for and then start learning on the job. To test the quality of leadership in The Hague Process, we have arranged to rotate the post of chairperson.

Somalia presents an illustration where three opposition groups: Somali National Movement (SNM), Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM) and United Somali Congress (USC) came together and agreed to fight and remove the repressive government of Siad Barre. They also agreed they would consult one another before the new government is formed. When the government fell, there were no consultations. Instead, Mohammed Ali Mahdi, leader of one of USC factions formed the government alone. “The USC, a Hawiye-based movement began ruthlessly killing all non-Hawiye living in Mogadishu in an attempt at ‘clan cleansing’…. For the northerners, who already disliked their southern brethren’s behavior during the war, this was the last straw. In February and March 1991, a shir (assembly) was held in Berbera in which the Issaq, the major northern clan family, decided that union with the south was a bad idea”(Current History May 1998). A second shir held in May 1991 proclaimed the independence of Somaliland, a former British colony.

While proclamation of independent Somaliland may have solved one problem, it created another one. In Somaliland, the Issaq make up 70 percent of the population, meaning that the new state would be dominated by them. The four smaller clans (Issa, Gadabursi, Dolbahante and Warsangeli) had fought with Siad Barre because they feared that if Siad Barre’s government were defeated and Somaliland seceded, they would be dominated by Issaq. The proclamation of Somaliland independence was therefore greeted by dissent and armed rebellion by different clans and sub-clans. The sub-clan controlling Berbera area refused to share port revenues with other clans. The dominant Habr Garhadjis group attacked Berbera “in the interest of the state”(Current History May 1998). All this would not have happened if the three parties had stuck to the promise of consultation before a new government was formed.

One lesson is pertinent: in whatever we do we must respect human rights and fundamental freedoms of Ugandans wherever they reside in the country. There must be no room whatsoever for ethnic cleansing in Uganda during and after regime change as happened in Mogadishu.

To recap the two illustrations have demonstrated that political marriages of convenience have not worked most of the time, undermining security of persons and properties. It happened in Uganda in 1966 and 1969. The four lessons (two from Uganda, one from Mexico and one from Somalia) should guide us in designing a common platform for regime change and what to do the morning after in a transitional phase.

Guided by these and other lessons of history, The Hague Process (THP) has adopted a road map to unseat NRM regime by peaceful means in the first instance and to create a broad-based transitional government led by a presidential council with each region represented.

This arrangement if embraced by all has a better chance of delivering better results in a more secure environment than if we rush individually to capture power, leaving many behind. UDU and THP are prepared to enter into a constructive engagement with those interested in the messages contained in these pages, resulting in the formation of a governing structure to lead the process to the formation of a transitional government.

Eric Kashambuzi