Money, propaganda and firearms won’t bring peace and security to Uganda

Since NRM government and its leader Museveni were identified as the darling of the west, much foreign aid money, experts and firearms have been poured into Uganda. At the same time Museveni agents have poured propaganda into western capitals and the media. It’s now close to thirty years since Museveni captured power by force with external backing financially, politically and diplomatically. Yet, western support appears to be steady, witness Uganda foreign minister’s election as president of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

I have maintained and still do that unless we come to grips with the real causes of Uganda’s problems, the country will continue to drift towards a revolution and subsequent civil war regardless of external support. There are two principle factors that we must deal with without fear or favor: intra-Nilotic fights for power and Baganda separatist attitude.

Intra-Nilotic fights for control of political power and access to resources

People who have covered Uganda as scholars or general commentators will tell you that Uganda’s main problem is ethnic conflict between Bantu and Nilotic people, the former in southern Uganda and the latter in the northern region. Nothing is farther from the truth. The fact of the matter is that since independence, political struggles have been intra-Nilotic. What Ugandans and foreigners didn’t know is that Tutsi, Bahima and Bahororo in southern Uganda speak Bantu language and carry Bantu names but they are ethnically Nilotic.

It is now well established that their Nilotic Luo-speaking ancestors came from Bahr el Gazal in the southern part of present day South Sudan, the cradle of Nilotic people in Uganda and western Kenya. Because Tutsi, Bahima, Bahororo and Banyamulenge men don’t intermarry with Bantu people, they have retained their Nilotic identity. One of the characteristics of Tutsi (Tutsi, Bahima, Bahororo and Banyamulenge) is their determination to control the political process and stay on top of others. They feel God created them to rule others. It is therefore their birth right. It is for this reason that political fights have been among Nilotic people such as Ibingira and Obote, Obote and Amin (it is reported subject to confirmation that Amin’s father was Nilotic), Obote and Museveni, Museveni and Okello. The current leaders of all major political parties in Uganda – NRM, FDC, DP and UPC are Nilotic. Increasingly in the Diaspora they are beginning to dominate witness the closeness between Sejusa and Amii Otunnu – both of them of Nilotic ancestry.

Baganda separatist spirit

It is well known that Baganda consider themselves separate from others. They have continued to falsely believe the British colonial administration made them a special group even when paragraph three of the Uganda Agreement of 1900 clearly states that Buganda is a province like any other. They rejected participation in Legislative Council (LEGCO) for fear their special status would be eroded. They rejected the 1959 recommendations about the future of independent Uganda. They boycotted the 1961 general elections.

Kabaka Yekka (KY) stated just before independence that unless Buganda and the Kabaka stand above everyone else Uganda will never see peace and prosperity. They facilitated the coup of 1971 and provided guerrilla facilities in the Luwero Triangle to Museveni to topple Obote II regime. In the Diaspora, they demand to lead any organization as was experienced at the Los Angeles conference in 2011. Baganda have established radio stations like radio munansi where you are allowed to broadcast only according to their agenda.

Now Baganda led by London-based Mutagubya, Gyagenda and Sempala are demanding Baganda only independent state. Radio Munansi carries these messages regularly calling on non-Baganda to leave Buganda as was done in 1966 when the Lukiiko decided that the central government should quit Buganda soil. Earlier in 1960 Buganda seceded but had no means of enforcement.

To sum up: unless Ugandans, our friends and well-wishers are ready and willing to address these two challenges head on, money, technology, expertise, propaganda and firearms won’t bring peace, security, stability, dignity, prosperity and happiness to Uganda.

Since 1987 Uganda has been the darling of the West. That has not prevented the country from becoming a failed state vulnerable to domestic and external shocks. Let us be realistic and act before it is too late. Uganda needs a peaceful and inclusive society at the political, economic and social levels. Continued NRM exclusive policies and practices will only consolidate the marginalized into forces that will destabilize the country and possibly worse. Let us be clear about that.

Eric Kashambuzi