Bahima were painted a picture opposite of who they actually are

In geography we were taught to match what we read with what was on the ground. Besides reading widely, we studied maps, interpreted areal photographs and conducted field visits. I carried with me the geography methodology of matching reading with observation into the history subject. The history I read about Bahima (read Batutsi, Bahororo and Banyamulenge as well because they are cousins and behave the same) did not match what I knew about them. I grew up, studied and worked with them.

Because of racial theories aristocratic Europeans had concluded that black people (Negroes) were intellectually inferior to have a civilization or history of their own. Without history Africa was a ‘Dark Continent’. The first Europeans to visit what later became Uganda were from aristocratic families. They were shocked to find sophisticated civilizations. Instead of admitting that they were wrong about black people and give them credit for the civilizations they found, they decided to ‘invent’ Europeans who would be credited with that remarkable history. They looked around and found Bahima who looked like Europeans physically. They concluded that Bahima were of the white race and responsible for these civilizations.

Bahima were dubbed born leaders, intelligent and superior white people with gorgeous physical features including long, pointed and narrow noses and thin lips like Europeans, and wonderful white teeth. Bahima and their descendants have since then accepted these attributes at face value. Bahima or their spokespersons get angry when they are described otherwise. Ephraim Kamuhangire and Pheonah Kesaasi hurled insults at me because what I wrote about Bahima and Bahororo was not acceptable to them. My studies of and experience with Bahima led me to draw different conclusions from those of aristocratic Europeans and those who have continued to think like them. And here is why I have painted a different picture.

Good leader. A good leader does not call his subjects slaves. Bahima coined the epithet (term of abuse) Bairu which means slave and they still use it in reference to Bantu people. Slaves exist to labor for or execute orders from the master and get canned when the master is not satisfied. Canning of Bairu by Bahororo is reported to be happening in Rujumbura. A good leader does not boast that he is worth 1000 subjects. This has been heard in Ntungamo where a local leader boasted in broad daylight that he is worth 1000 Bairu. A good leader would refrain from misusing public property for private use. The case of Uganda’s presidential jets does not confirm this. A good leader helps his subjects to acquire better knowledge instead of castigating them for being bankrupt.

A good leader focuses on improving the welfare of all the people in the country not on economic growth and export diversification that benefit a few people mostly relatives or close friends. That is the situation in Uganda right now. Over 30 percent of Ugandans go to bed hungry, some 40 percent of Ugandans have developed neurological disabilities including insanity, 40 percent of children under five years of age are undernourished, 12 percent of infants are born underweight because their mothers are under-nourished and infant mortality rate has increased from 75 to 78/1000 live births signaling deterioration in overall standard of living. Instead Bahima/Bahororo leaders are concerned about boosting the sale of food to WFP and others to increase foreign exchange earnings to meet the rising demands of their relatives and close friends. A good leader would be concerned about excessive alcohol consumption and set limits, a good leader would lose sleep over human sacrifices and arrest the criminals and have them punished to the limit of the law. To the author’s knowledge neither is happening.

Ugandans do not enjoy Bahororo/Bahima leadership. It is imposed on them by the barrel of the gun and donors who pump money in Uganda that is stolen or used on patronage and virtually nothing gets done. This conclusion can easily be picked up in the local and increasingly international media. So it is not a secret.

Intellectual superiority. Without any evidence, aristocratic Europeans concluded that Bahima and Batutsi were intellectually superior over Bairu and Bahutu. The former were offered education and the latter denied because educating them would be a waste. However when education was opened to all children first in church schools on a level playing field Bairu children in spite of poverty constraints performed much better especially in science subjects. From grade one through eight Bairu and Bahororo studied together at Kinyasano secondary school and I was among them. If the records are still available, you can see that Bahororo were left far behind by Biru classmates. Bahororo dressed better. Some of them had shoes! Bairu compensated by performing much better than Bahororo academically especially in mathematics and sciences.

At university level Bairu did better than Bahima. Many Bairu went for advanced studies while many Bahima joined Museveni in the bush war or did not qualify for graduate education because their first degrees were not good enough. At that time a pass degree was tantamount to a failure. And a second degree was essential to enable sufficient understanding of the subject pursued. Let me add that there were smart Bahima students but these were very few and specialized in arts particularly English and History not science subjects. Thus given a level playing field Bantu perform much better academically than Bahima.

I am not a boastful person by nature. I am doing this to stop Bahima and Bahororo from abusing Bantu and Bairu in any form from now on or we shall be forced to defend our integrity.

I cannot compare Bairu and Bahima in leadership quality because Bairu have never had a chance to demonstrate their quality. But I do not think that they can perform worse than Bahima/Bahororo-led government under President Museveni since 1986.

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