Create four federal states in Uganda

Thursday, 16th November, 2006

I am happy that the people of Acholi have come out to demand the creation of four federal states in Uganda (Daily Monitor, September 30).

This is what the Baganda have all along been demanding. Therefore this is the time for all Ugandans to come out boldly and request President Yoweri Museveni to convene a national conference in March 2007 to discuss and approve the creation of the four federal states. The Acholi are the dominant tribe in northern Uganda.

Both Baganda and Acholi have been instrumental in the politics of Uganda since before independence. Before independence the Acholi had the biggest number of educated people in the north.

They had the biggest number of people in the army, police and prisons. Even the Kabaka’s police at Mengo had a big number of Acholi before 1966. Therefore this group cannot be wished away easily.

I call upon MPs, political party leaders, religious leaders, elders, farmers, traders, women leaders and university communities to approach the President and request him to grant the four federal states.

The federal states should be names as follows: lBuganda, to be under the Kabaka and the Buganda Lukiiko lRwenzori, comprising Bunyoro, Toro, Ankole and Kigezi. lMasaba, comprising Busoga, Bukedi, Teso, Bugisu, Sebei and Karamoja.

Nile, comprising Lango, Acholi and West Nile. The tribal kings in those states will retain their status and traditions. I have suggested geographical names (except in the case of Buganda) because they are neutral and I believe they will be acceptable to the people concerned.

The collection of taxes will by both the state governments and the federal government and shared equally (where possible) between the two entities. An acceptable system of tax collection can be worked out.

The creation of federal states is in line with the “back to the land policy” which we must adopt now in Uganda. Through this policy people will be encouraged, assisted and persuaded to go back to their rural areas and develop those areas.

Some Baganda elders plan to meet the Katikkiro of Buganda and introduce this plan to him. This plan will be the driving force in Buganda to eradicate poverty. This new system will, above all, make the young Baganda know and understand the value of their land. The system of selling land will be reviewed so that the people will be assisted to use t heir land profitably instead of selling.

The “back to land policy” in the case of B uganda will bet to take the young Baganda back to the land for farming on a small scale and large scale.

The Kabaka’s government will be encouraged to establish “Buganda State Farms” and thousands of young Baganda will work and manage those farms.

We have had the unitary system for the last 41 years which Milton Obote introduced in 1966.

Ugandans know that we have spent almost all these years in tribal conflicts. Under the unitary system we had the small tribe ruling a big tribe and in the process the small tribe did everything possible to undermine the big tribe.

The unitary system has completely failed to develop Uganda economically. Under the federal system, the tribes in the west, north, east and Buganda will rule themselves. Parliament will be the unifying factor.

Finally I would like to assure the people of Uganda that the federal system of government is the best for Uganda. I call upon Joseph Kony and his LRA and the people of Acholi to end the war so that we embark on the task of developing our country.

The state governments will be able to acquire loans for economic development from both local banks and foreign sources.

UPC rows caused the 1966 crisis

Monday, 25th September, 2006

Peter Mulira

Although the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) has been largely at loggerheads with the central region for the greater part of its 40 six years of existence, its greatest handicap has always been its internal contradictions and intrigues.

The party’s tenure in government has twice been terminated by military coups carried out by once trusted supporters in the army. The 1966 crisis which changed the face of this country was preceded by infights and struggles for power within the party.

To understand the life and times of UPC one has to start with the direct elections to the legislative council (Legco) which were held in 1958 two years before the formation of the party.

Buganda boycotted the elections, much to its disadvantage, as later events proved. Out of the 10 elected members of the legco, five belonged to the Uganda National Congress (UNC) one to DP and the rest registered as independents.

With Buganda absent on the national scene, the 10 representaitves soon saw the opportunity for snatching national leadership from the central province where all the political parties had started and out of this new sentiment, they formed the Uganda People’s Party (UPP) with only Milton Obote of UNC and Oda of DP staying out.

In taking this step, the legislators were greatly aided by Buganda’s obscurantism as well as by the fact that all the leaders of the traditional parties with the exception of DP had been exiled by the British government, an action which rendered their parties moribund. However, UPP’s anti-Buganda’s stance denied it a foothold in the central region where it mattered a lot to have support and due to the efforts of Barbara Saben who was a British member of legco and one of Uganda’s greatest ladies UPP joined with Obote to form UPC with Obote as leader.

At the time of UPC’s birth in April 1960 members of the Asian community were still smarting from the effects of the trade boycott of 1959 and were undecided about their future in the country. Some young Asians who included Gurdial Singh, Waheed Karim, Anil Clark, Shaffique Arain in well-attended meetings which were held in Kampala and Jinja managed to convince their compatriots to identify themselves with the African cause. The Asians decided to throw in their lot and UPC became the beneficiary of their support and financial muscle.

With the Asian problem out of the way, only the Buganda issue remained to be resolved. Obote, the shrewd politician who had been totally opposed to Buganda’s demands, suddenly changed his mind at the London constitutional conference which was held in June 1961 and supported Buganda’s federal status in exchange for Mengo’s agreement to deliver all the 21 Buganda parliamentary seats to UPC due in April 1962.

As expected, UPC won the elections with 56 seats to DP’s 24 but the relationship between UPC and Kabaka Yekka (KY) became contentious soon after independence with KY members claiming that they were being sidelined by the principal party.

Within UPC itself, things were not all that comfortable. The intrigues within the party started even before it formed the first government in April 1962.

Under the constitutional arrangements in force then nine special members of parliament were to be elected by the parliamentary group and Kakonge as secretary general of the party expected to make it to the house through this door but as things turned out he was rigged out whereupon he exiled himself to Tanzania.

Many saw the hand of Grace Ibingira behind Kakonge’s experience. Within three months of independence, UPC found itself preoccupied with problems arising from its alliance with KY. but early in 1963, the party was also beset by the problems caused by its youth wingers who were operating from the party headquarters and had become a law unto themselves.

The youth wingers seemed to be aligned to communists and at one time the secretary for youth in the party, Mr. Opio Nasau, who belonged to a different group claime d that there were ideological schools in Kampala which were trying to capture the youth and workers. The youth problem escalated into the Ibingira-Kakonge factions which split the party down the middle. Initially, Obote and Ibingira appeared to be in the same camp to the extent that Ibingira publicly supported Obote’s call for the establishment of a one-party system.

Kakonge, on his part, was not hiding his enthusiasm for communism, a thing which alarmed many of his colleagues and put his tenure as secretary general of the party under threat. It came as no surprise when Ibingira replaced Kakonge as secretary general in a raucous general meeting which was held in Gulu in May 1965.

In the meantime, the party was making a determined effort to establish itself in the central region and at the regional annual general meeting in August, 1965, Godfrey Binaisa the regional chairman declared openly that the party was ready to capture the government at Mengo.

At the same conference, Ibingira called on members to stop what he called “internal personalism in the party” but when Obote stood up to speak, he said he did not want to discuss what Ibingira said. This indicated that all was not well in the party. By the end of 1965 the country was awash with rumours of a coup until an mP, Daudi Ochieng, dropped a bombshell when he claimed that senior members of government together with a high ranking army officer, Idi Amin, were planning a military coup and accused them of being involved in smuggling of gold from the Congo.

On February 14, 1966 Obote denied Ochieng’s allegations and later on April 17, 1966 he himself announced the setting up of a judicial commission of inquiry to look into the allegations. He also announced that Amin would be dealt with according to the provisions of the Army Act.

With the country already in a state of suspense it came as no surprise when Obote announced, “In the interest of national stability and public security and tranquility, I have today the 22nd day of February, 1966, taken over all powers of Uganda. I shall henceforth be advised by a council of ministers whose names I shall name later.”

Thus the constitution was abrogated and five UPC ministers were detained, including Ibingira. The events preceding the abrogation indicate very clearly that it was not Buganda or federalism which caused the 1966 crisis. Neither can it be claimed that religion had a hand in those events.

The crisis was caused by contradictions and struggles for power within the governing party.

In other words, if Obote had not acted as he did, perhaps another group was ready to do so. It was a case of survival of the fittest.

Turn regions into federal states

I am responding to Mr Mafabi’s opinion in Sunday Monitor, September 3 titled “The LRA Does Not Speak For Northern And Eastern Uganda”. He talks about the perception of the North-South divide in Uganda. I suggest that each region north, east, west and central be made into a state.

I live in the United States and the way it’s divided up in 50 states is very efficient. Each state has its own laws, its own budget and different economy in a way. Florida is famous for its oranges, and tourism. California is famous for its wine. Some states in the mid west were famous for their car industry although that is changing now due to globalisation. Foreign car companies have set up shops in some other states, but it still creates jobs for people in these other states as foreign cars are being assembled in these states, which in turn contribute to the overall American economy.

In the mid west again some states are famous for their corn, wheat, potatoes etc..., and so it goes on. Since the majority of Ugandans are engaged in farming in one way or another, different regions or states could concentrate on growing different crops based on their soils and climate.

Just this past week I read about the growth of sun flowers being affected in the north. The west has beef, milk, matoke, and now oil recently found in Bunyoro. The central grows crops too, and it’s also the major financial centre since the capital city Kampala is located there. The east again could concentrate on growing crops that do well in the soils and climate there.

If each region became a state concentrating on growing different crops, and also engaging in other specialised economic ventures, it would bring some unity and regional balance in Uganda because all regions will be contributing to Uganda’s economic development.

I believe that if people were able to attain a decent living and feed themselves and their families, all the bickering between the north and south, or any underlying resentment between tribes or ethnic groups in Uganda would be minimal.

The central government would act like the federal government here in the United States. It would provide services that all the regions need like security such as the military and intelligence services, ministries such as those of education, foreign affairs, public works and transportation, health, agriculture etc which already exist.

Regina Lule
United States

Does Federo require 2 days of prayers, eh?

Opinions July 24, 2006

Two days of national prayers show the absurdity of African thinking
Matsiko wa Mucoori

It started as a joke, then progressed into a circus and now it has matured into a laughable reality. When honourable members of a national Parliament, who have attained formal education, resort to fatalism to determine the country’s destiny, you know danger is lurking.
When Ruhama County MP and First Lady Ms Janet Museveni made her maiden contribution in Parliament by declaring that she had examined Uganda’s problems with microscopic exactness and discovered that the cure lies in “two days of national prayers, I laughed to breaking point. I was resting in the belief that no person of modern and scientific learning would lend any slightest attention to such.

That evening I and my pals at our local drinking joint, mentioned Janet’s motion in the House. We all burst into explosive laughter and declined to comment on it because we believed it was an obvious joke.

Shock came the following day upon hearing that the MPs had overwhelmingly endorsed that “two days of national prayer” was a critical and logical solution to Uganda’s prevailing problems. By endorsing the motion, the MPs confirmed their firm belief that Janet had discovered such a great cure, which had eluded them for all these years.

So Uganda’s problems; rising poverty, electricity crisis and the dropping of Lake Victoria’s water level, robbers, killers, defilers, drought, corrupt government officials who swindle money meant to buy drugs for the sick, the poor roads, rising HIV infection, will be best addressed by two days of praying!

Did Janet consult God and so did He tell her that He is not satisfied with the regular Friday, Saturday and Sunday prayers Christians and Muslims hold every week? Could it be the reason why God had been reluctant to help Uganda?

This just shows the inside of the brain of a typical Black African. Africans are not guided by scientific thinking. They survive on belief in a supernatural being because they don’t believe that solutions to their problems are within their means or knowledge. That’s why Africa will remain the most backward continent for centuries. We are so stuck in fatalism that we firmly (but falsely) believe we cannot determine our destiny by ourselves. There must be a divine intervention.

That’s why from Cairo in the north, down to Cape Town in the south, no single Black African has made a discovery of world standard.

When HIV/Aids cases were first detected in Uganda in 1980s, most people first called it a curse from God. Others said it was witchcraft. They had resigned to fate until a non-Black African discovered that actually Aids was caused by a virus called HIV.

This warped Black African thinking is what has ruined and continues to ruin Africa and its populace. Otherwise how would a progressive brain in this 21st century suggest that a country’s material problems are curable by mere prayers? That is why in Africa, we can still have a vice president who engages in live sex with an HIV infected woman and after he has enjoyed his fill, he runs to bathe with soap thinking he will not catch the virus.

When other countries were busy engaged in advance tactical and strategic planning on how to win the World Cup in Germany, Togolese were busy soliciting services of a witchdoctor to help them win the world trophy. Though the witchdoctor was denied a visa to travel.

Recently in Niger, the world’s poorest country whose 60 per cent of the population survives on less than one dollar a day, the President Mamadou Tandja, joined national prayers, like Janet’s, to pray for the seasonal rains to come. All people who went to school know what causes rain and definitely prayers are not among the factors. So if Africa is blessed with such leaders, who seek solutions to their countries’ problems from the divine world, not their brains, how will this continent and its people develop?

Resorting to prayers is an indelible admission of desperation. People go for prayers when they have lost all hope of finding any pragmatic redress to their plight. In Uganda, the problems we have are not spiritual and therefore their solutions do not lie in the prayers. We have government officials who have swindled public money. I would have expected Janet to call for tougher penalties to such fraudsters. She would call for their arrest and prosecution and probably say that upon conviction such criminals should be retired without benefits or should be forced to pay back the stolen money. Do such people need prayers or jail?

If we were to engage in marathon prayers to fight crime, wouldn’t we wake up one day to find the country besieged by criminals? But perhaps Janet and her fellow MPs can help me understand this: How will prayers for instance help raise the water level of Lake Victoria and solve our power crisis? How will prayers solve our poverty? How will they repair our roads? How will the prayers solve cattle rustling in Karamoja? This thinking is just embedded in the Black African mind. Africans always want to blame someone for their dilemma and they will find colonialism their easy target even when what colonialists left behind has been wasted or destroyed by the African pseudo-liberators/revolutionaries.

You will attend a conference presided over by professors and other intellectuals purportedly to tackle Africa’s problems. But speaker after speaker, will be blaming colonialists for Africa’s backwardness. Most present day developed nations were also one time colonised. America, the world’s super power today, was colonised by the British until 1783.

So was Japan, Korea, China, Russia, India etc. But how come they have developed and Africa has not? If colonialism was the cause, how come Ethiopia and Liberia which were never colonised are not Africa’s super powers or the world’s developed economies?

The logical question is: For how long shall we lament about colonialism? The colonialists had no obligation to develop Africa. It’s like blaming the Pope for not promoting Islam. If Africans had colonised Europe, they would have done the same.

The author is a journalist

Kony wants federo

By Henry Mukasa

THE Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has demanded federalism and self determination for the north and east as a solution to political marginalisation. The rebel group, at the ongoing talks in Juba, Southern Sudan, came short to calling for secession.

The LRA yesterday demanded in its position paper on “Participation in National Politics and Institutions; Economic and Social Development of Northern and Eastern Uganda” that the Uganda Constitution be amended to provide for federal states. “Since we are ‘primitive’, ‘backward’ and ‘uncivilised’, and nobody within the present political dispensation wants to civilise us, we opt for self determination so that we are free to civilise ourselves and develop our own institutions within our capabilities in partnership with any nations of the world,” the LRA stated.

Led by Joseph Kony, the LRA which has been fighting to establish a government run on the basis of the Biblical commandments seems to have abandoned the spiritual path and is making real political demands. Kony claims to operate on the directives of the ‘Holy Spirit’. Last year, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Kony and four of his commanders for crimes against humanity. This is the second statement the LRA is issuing attacking the Government since the talks opened on July 5.

However, the Government delegation has said it will not be diverted from the talks by unfounded allegations. “Since the Government seems to be so unapologetic about its bad politics of marginalisation of the north and the east, LRA’s demand in respect of participation in our national politics and institutions is an overhaul of the Constitution to provide for, among others, federalism,” the rebel group stated in its paper.

Every federal state, they said, may cultivate its best energies and synergies for its own development. They argued that the states would exploit resources within their boundaries for the good of its people first, and only contribute to the central government as a secondary beneficiary. They said donors shall deal directly with the federal states “to avoid dissipation of funds by corrupt central government officials covered by State immunity”.

The rebels also demanded the re-introduction of presidential term limits lifted by Parliament during the amendment of the Constitution last year. They said they wanted a political dispensation that guarantees the unity and stability of the country through fair sharing of the national cake.

“The north and the east should not be politically persecuted and marginalised for any perceived wrong committed by any past regime. We demand a proportionate power sharing arrangement that takes care of regional and population balance of the country,” they said. Each delegation is supposed to present a stand on participation in national politics and tackle matters to do with political marginalisation, imbalance in participation in national institutions, inequitable and unbalanced economic development and disparity in the provision of social infrastructure. Sources say that while presenting the LRA paper at a closed meeting at Juba Raha Hotel, Obonyo Olweny, the spokesman for the LRA team, told chief mediator Dr. Riek Machar, the Southern Sudan Vice President, that his team was concerned that the Government team seemed not to have “mandate to negotiate with us but to demand terms of surrender”. He reportedly added, “Nevertheless we wish to reaffirm our firm commitment and that of our principals, to quick, expeditious but fair and just resolutions of the causes of the conflict.”

The LRA maintained its claims that Nilotics were being persecuted, adding that even with his military dictatorship, Idi Amin never pursued such a deliberate policy to keep the country divided “as it is today in Uganda”. “It is regrettable that, upon assumption of state power, the NRM embarked on a deliberate policy to divide the country, firstly between the Bantu and the Nilotics; and secondly to ethnic group and lineage kinship and marriage relationships,” the LRA said. The rebels said a cursory look at appointments in all government statutory authorities and commissions, parastatals and departments pointed to favouritism. The LRA also bashed the Government for what they called “rampant corruption and abuse of office” that “has no comparison in the history of post-Independence Uganda.” They pointed a finger at the agreement for the exploration and production of the recently discovered oil deposit on the shores of Lake Albert as one that “smacks of the usual outrage Ugandans are now accustomed to”.

“Can you countenance the fact that the nation shall only end up getting less than 26% of this natural resource? Considering that nearly all the people involved in the negotiation of the deal are from one region of the country, it is irresistible to hazard the suggestion of a possibility of foul play somewhere,” they stated. “If the world does not intervene and come to our aid, catastrophe looms over the north and the east of the country. The Government should not be allowed to hide behind the veil of insecurity,” the rebels said, inviting the UN and other humanitarian agencies to investigate “all the allegations of persecution of genocidal proportions.”

Meanwhile the Government delegation, which is led by Internal Affairs Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, has decided it will not be responding to LRA statements in the media any more, because they are diversionary. Capt. Paddy Ankunda, the delegation’s spokesman, said this will not change unless it is found that a response is absolutely necessary and in the spirit of the talks.

“These statements from their face value seem to be meant to make us lose focus from tackling more meaningful issues that pertain to the success of the peace talks. We will not engage in this ping pong,” Ankunda said. He advised the LRA team to grab the chance to negotiate for a soft landing. He said the LRA attacks and sentimental allegations with no requests for reconciliation were not in the spirit of peace talks. Ankunda noted that the LRA delegation was attempting to articulate some semblance of a political agenda for LRA and give it a political face.

“One wonders why nothing has so far been mention about Kony’s agenda of wanting to rule Uganda using the ten commandments,” he observed He was, however, optimistic that the talks would succeed.

“There is more hope today than ever before that peace for northern Uganda and Southern Sudan is just around the corner,” he said. Ends

Published on: Saturday, 22nd July, 2006

Govt should adopt federo system

Ugandans need to identify the root cause of our country's problems and do something about it.

The unitary system has failed Ugandans and the majority of the problems are caused by lack of strong regional governments.

As long as the power is in the hands of a chosen few in Kampala, then corruption, security, poverty, ethnic tensions, wars will never go away. They're a result of the unitary system.

We need to recognise the necessity to abandon the current unitary model of governance. We should be debating federo and how to implement it. All past and present experiments with other governance structures have not been able to deal successfully and satisfactorily with the problems of a complex multi-ethnic society.

Writing the constitution when Museveni was President and amending it while he was still President, giving him more bisanja and enabling him to rule for life, clearly points to what's wrong with the current system. With multi parties, one party or no parties, Uganda is bound to remain the same, a country full of power struggles, corruption and poverty.

It's time to be candid, face the reality, and find a lasting solution which is an all-inclusive federo system of governance for Uganda.

FN Lugemwa

Katikkiro of Bunyoro supports regional tier

News July 14, 2006

Ausi Balyesiima

THE Katikkiro of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, Mr Erisa Byenkya Kagoro, has said political leaders who are against the regional tier system of governance are enemies of Bunyoro. “Bunyoro has unique problems compared to other regions in the country and a regional government is the only voice to help Bunyoro if development is to be attained,” he said.

Byenkya was addressing residents at Masindi Boma Grounds during celebrations to congratulate Ms Kabakumba Matsiko upon winning Bunjeje County parliamentary polls in February.

The celebrations were presided over by the Second Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Henry Kajura.Kajura, who is also the Minister of Public Service, appealed to leaders in the area to mobilise the population into working hard to fight poverty.

Kabakumba thanked the people for their prayers which led to her appointment as the government chief whip. She promised to work with every body to develop the country.

Buganda has nothing to lose but her chains


Peter Mulira is the person I least expected to be uncertain about the system of government he cherishes. In his June 27 column, Mulira wrote, “Only the sharing of tax revenue recommended is not covered in the regional tier proposals. Mengo should open up to alternative views before committing the kingdom to an unnecessary constitutional crisis from which Buganda may never recover this time round.” Mulira’s remarks saddened me. Buganda is not dying to become a federal entity if what is thrown to it is merely decorated as federo. We are patient, as has always been the case. Above all, the federalism we are craving is for all the people of Uganda.

Uganda, which became independent in 1962, is a country of many nations, with a rich mosaic of cultures and traditions. That is why Winston Churchill referred to it as the Pearl of Africa.

The quest for federalism is not new. We voluntarily came together in our respective diversities to form one nation on the basis of the principle of unity in diversity. We lived happily at one time as a quasi-federal entity between 1962 and 1966 and our economy even registered an extraordinary boom. Since the collapse of the federal union among the regions, Uganda has never recovered from the confusion and economic decay.

Over 35% of the population today lives below the poverty line. Why is there endless war in northern Uganda? Why is corruption endemic and why are people so poor? There is no reliable formula to direct the distribution of the national cake. One has to be powerful to influence wealth distribution.

The federal system can reduce these economic disparities. Federalism is a system of government where executive powers, including sovereignty and independence, are constitutionally shared between the centre and the regions. It symbolises the right to live and act freely.

The regional tier should be referred to as LC6 because it is an extension of what LC5 does. The federal arrangement need not cover all the regions at its inception; it can begin with a few states as others get ready. In 1989, the decentralisation exercise started with 13 districts but as I write all the districts of Uganda are part of the decentralisation order. Why doesn’t the Government want the regions to collect taxes as well as plan for their survival? I smell a rat.

In the regional tier arrangement, everything related to finance is the responsibility of the centre. Worse still, the districts run parallel economic activities with the regions. In a federal order, the district will be under the region and the two power centres have a common goal and depend on each other in the collection and levy of taxes. It is meaningless to deprive the region of tax-collection while you let the district carry out the same activity.

A federal order would remove the need for a large Parliament and Executive. Service delivery is not dependent on the size of the Cabinet or Parliament in a federation. Tax collection and planning in a federation is a prerequisite for it enables the regions to build capacity as well as groom leaders, which would not happen in the regional tier. Why does Mulira want Mengo to accept any alternative if what Mengo is pursuing will equitably be shared by all the regions? Is Mulira looking for a ministerial job? Why should Buganda’s demand for federalism culminate in a constitutional crisis? That is defeatism. Buganda and other federo agitators should stick to what they want. They have nothing to lose but their chains.

The writer was the chairman of the federal studies caucus in the 7th Parliament

Published on: Saturday, 8th July, 2006

Nakasongola snubs federo

Sunday, 28th May, 2006

By Frederick Kiwanuka

NAKASONGOLA will not back the Mengo establishment in its pursuit of the federo system of governance, the new district chairman, James Wandera, has said. He said on Wednesday that Nakasongola preferred the government-proposed regional tier because it is more practical than federo. “Mengo wants a federal system of governance where the Kabaka has political powers. This cannot be possible in the present Uganda,” he said on Tuesday.

He dismissed allegations that the Baruuli want to secede from Buganda because of their cultural ties with Bunyoro. “We are still part of Buganda but we want the Mengo establishment to know that the Baruuli have their own cultural values that differ from those of Baganda,” he said.

He said Uganda is a small country that should remain unified so as to develop faster. “It does not make sense to fragment the country into smaller units,” he said.

Nakasongola was annexed from Bunyoro Kingdom following the 1900 Buganda agreement.


African Dictator's prayer

Our Father who art in the West,
Hallowed be thy name!
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done in Africa, as it is in the world over.
Give us this day our daily loan and grant.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive thoseof our cronnies and relatives.
In turn, we shall give away our land for free
to all needy tycoons, wherever and whomever be they.
And lead us not into democracy,
but deliver us from backward peasants asking for federalism:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
forever and ever.

Mengo sets conditions for fresh federal talks

News May 11, 2006
Mengo sets conditions for fresh federal talks

Mengo has set conditions to guide fresh federo talks expected to resume this year. The Katikkiro of Buganda, Mr Daniel Muliika, said the new guidelines would help to avoid back and forth slides from stakeholders.

Among the conditions is the need to bring on board all federo cherishing communities.

"The new negotiations must not isolate Buganda as the only federo demanding kingdom," Muliika said at Mengo on Monday.

"This is intended to create a negative impression against the kingdom. We must go as a team with other kingdoms because they also have similar problems and I think this will even ease the President's work in settling the kingdoms' grievances at once."

The development comes on the heels of a meeting Buganda MPs held with Mengo officials urging them to hold transparent talks with the central government and involve all stakeholders.

The MPs advised the kingdom to involve legislators and members of the parliamentary legal committee for clear proceedings.

The kingdom said a new Mengo federo negotiating team would be announced. Muliika also reiterated that during the re-negotiation, they would not allow any provision for an elected katikkiro.

Having an elected katikkiro has been a particularly thorny issue among the Baganda, which they have interpreted as demeaning the kingdom.

Said Muliika: "We shall then write the kingdom's constitution, which must be consented on by the Lukiiko (parliament) before signing any agreement."

In February, the Lukiiko through a unanimous vote, roundly rejected government's proposed regional tier just months after Parliament had passed the proposal.

Mengo warns govt against imposing tier

News May 8, 2006

Mengo warns govt against imposing tier

Buganda Katikkiro Daniel Muliika has cautioned the government against imposing the regional tier system on the people of Uganda.

"The major reason why Uganda experienced a lot of anarchy before 1986 was that leaders were forcing unwanted types of governance on people," Muliika said on May 2 at Mengo."The government should avoid such mistakes."

The remarks come after the government last year negotiated with Mengo for a regional tier system of governance instead of the much sought after federo.

The new arrangement dictated that the Katikkiro of Buganda would be elected under adult suffrage contrary to Mengo's tradition.

Of all the inadequacies of the tier system, electing a Katikkiro was not well received among the Baganda. Little wonder that in February Mengo passed a unanimous resolution rejecting the tier just months after Parliament had passed the proposal.

The stormy Buganda Lukiiko (parliament) session reverted to the earlier demand for federo. Muliika said even the Odoki report, conducted under the supervision of the central government, recommended federo for Buganda and a return of its property.

He said the kingdom would ask Queen Elizabeth II during her Commonwealth Summit visit to list Buganda's property as per the 1900 agreement.

Muliika, MPs to discuss federo

News May 01, 2006

Muliika, MPs to discuss federo

BUGANDA kingdom has asked the newly elected members of Parliament from Buganda region to draw an alternative plan on how to achieve a genuine federal system of governance.

The Katikkiro of Buganda, Mr Daniel Muliika, on Thursday said kingdom officials would meet central region MPs on May 3 and later meet LC5, LC3 and municipality chairpersons from the central region to discuss the way forward on federo.The head of Bataka (elders) council, Mr Grace Ssemakula Ndugwa, said Mengo’s discussion with legislators would portray how transparent Buganda’s demands are to the entire country.

“We don’t need to hide our demands because they benefit everybody, if federalism is granted, every region will benefit,” Ndugwa said. Buganda Lukiiko has set guidelines for fresh federo negotiations expected to resume any time.

Muliika said Mengo would only resume talks with the government if other federal cherishing kingdoms are brought on board. He said a new federo negotiating team would be announced, given guidelines to follow and no adjustments would be made on the Katikkiro’s appointment.

“The new federo negotiations must not isolate Buganda as the only federo demanding kingdom. We must go as a team with other kingdoms because they also have similar problems,” Muliika told Mengo ministers on Tuesday.

Buganda Lukiiko, the highest body of the kingdom, in February rejected the government’s regional tier by a unanimous vote just months after Parliament passed the proposal.

The Lukiiko session demanded a federal system of governance. Former Katikkiro Joseph Ssemwogerere led the Mengo negotiation team, which sealed the regional tier deal. Mengo wants the return of 9000 milo land and recognition of Kampala as part of the Kingdom.

Form of Federal Model for East Africa

Referendum a must to decide on EA federation

During the seventh summit of the East Africa Community (EAC), the heads of State of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya said that political federation was the most urgent business for East Africa. A team has already been appointed to oversee the process of transforming EAC into one country.

Obviously, there are several prospects of regional integration. An integrated EA will have economies of scale and bigger markets. A united EA will also act as a counterweight to the external forces of globalization.

Though most East Africans seem to support the integration process, there are questions that have to be addressed now. First, what form of federal model does EAC intend to achieve? Is it the traditional form of federation as found in the US, Germany, Nigeria, Ethiopia, former USSR, former Yugoslavia or a contemporary form of confederation as the European Union?

Second, an East African political federation will need a good constitution to govern such a vast and diversified country. The constitution will have to state clearly the principles of separation of powers, checks and balances and devolution of powers to the people at the grassroots. East Africans will not accept a 'centralized' form of governance.

Third, since the political union should be in place by 2011, when will the constitution-making process for the proposed federation begin? From experience, the law review process has been complex in Kenya and Uganda. What has been put in place to ensure that a 'half-baked' constitution of EA federation is not imposed on the people?

Fourth, the EA integration process should not be left to the political and business class alone. It must be people-driven and inclusive. Although political leadership is quite imperative to the process, politicians' interests might not necessarily be in conformity with the citizens' interests.

Fifth, the debate on the EA integration process especially on political federation must be open as much as possible. The people must have the opportunity to express their views without intimidation or manipulation. Further, each Partner State must begin educating rather than 'indoctrinating' its citizens about the benefits of integration.

Seventh, the EAC should look beyond the present membership. Already Rwanda and Burundi has applied to join. Will a federation (US model) or a confederation (EU model) be more accommodating to new members? Finally, East Africans must be given a chance to approve or disapprove the formation of an East African State through a referendum.

Paul Odhiambo, Nairobi

A tip on the katikkiro issue

I hope my Baganda brothers and sisters will not object too much if I, a Munyoro from Hoima, may comment on a subject that has exercised their brains and patience for some time. Their brand new Katikkiro Daniel Muliika (a name by the way also given in Bunyoro) spares no effort to demand that the kabaka retains the sole responsibility to name his "kamala byonna".

And I fully agree with the man. The katikkiro's is a cultural office with sensitive responsibilities to the kingdom and the kabaka. It would be foolhardy to expect the Kabaka to have a politician elected by people who have no cultural attachment, let alone loyalty to the kingdom, to be his "kabaka outside the palace".

The government on the other hand says that it is committed to the advancement of democracy even at grassroots level and insists that the head of the regional tier (which of course Buganda has now repudiated) must be an elected man or woman.

This official would be responsible for money to be passed to the regions for service delivery. Those who are schooled in these matters may recall the slogan "no taxation without representation" used by pro-democracy campaigners of long ago against a prime minister appointed by the sovereign that resulted in the Westminster type of government.

One of the problems with the stand-off on this issue is that both sides are attempting to fit a square peg into a round hole. The katikkiro is cultural and cultural leaders are debarred from open involvement in politics. An election by universal suffrage is by definition involvement in open and even partisan politics - quod erat demonstrandum.

But there need not be a stand-off. I have suggested in these pages before that the kabaka should be free to appoint his katikkiro if he is so inclined. No precedents (it has happened before) should constrict him - after all in Buganda he can make and unmake things. The regional tier if re-embraced by Buganda should have its elected leader and for goodness sake that leader should not bear the title katikkiro. That way the cultural functions of Dan Muliika would be segregated from those of the tier chairman. Or am I being optimistic?

H.G.K. Nyakoojo, Hoima, and Buziga.

Rejecting regional tier will be very costly for Buganda

Tuesday, 4th April, 2006

Peter Mulira

A learned friend With a historical perspective Peter Mulira

In his recent book titled Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or to Succeed Jared Diamond lists five reasons why some societies have failed and others succeeded.

He names among this list a society’s failure to anticipate problems. By this, Diamond means that sometimes when people are faced with unfamiliar situations they fall back on drawing analogies with old familiar situations which is a good way to proceed if the new and the old situations are truly analogies, but it can be dangerous if they are superficially similar.

To illustrate his point, Diamond draws on the experience of the Vikings from Britain and Norway who immigrated to Iceland around the year AD 870 and were fooled by the tree species which were familiar to them in their countries and as such proceeded to clear the forests to create pastures for their livestock as they would do at home. Unknown to the Vikings, Iceland’s soils arose from light ash blown from volcanic explosions unlike the clay type in Britain and Norway and once exposed after the forests were cleared, the wind blew them away eroding the top soil. Iceland became uninhabitable! Like the story of Iceland, some mistakes have been made in the past in our case. Thus in 1957, the Buganda kingdom parliament, the Lukiiko, rejected political parties as well as the first direct elections to the Legco, then our parliament, which were held in 1958. This resulted in the kingdom losing its premier position in national affairs and gave birth to the Buganda-versus-the-rest axis.

By rejecting Ben Kiwanuka and his Democratic Party in 1962, Buganda again forfeited its opportunity to provide our first national leader after independence and perhaps lost that position if not forever, at least for a very long time to come. Many examples can be given of the missteps taken in the recent past but the latest one is the decision to reject the regional tier government. This decision will determine whether other compliant regions will outstrip Buganda in development as a result of the benefits accruing from self-government which ironically the kingdom has fought for for years. The proposed regional tier involves a number of elements which form the composite namely the region, the tier in the sense of the level at which sharing is done, a government, financial allocations, local power to legislate and the freedom to indulge a region’s cultural uniqueness. By rejecting the regional tier one is rejecting all these good things which, according to modern scholarship, are the engines for development. The reason given for the rejection that a regional tier is a poor replacement for federo is lame and unimaginative.

A regional tier is just a descriptive term of a level of government which can easily be replaced by such words as state, provincial or regional. But what is in a name? Between 1900 and 1937 the Buganda government was known as the “Lukiiko”. In 1937 it was named “His Highness the Kabaka’s Government” before becoming “Buganda Government” in the 1962 constitution. It is therefore sheer madness to miss out on having a government at Mengo simply because we do not like the description of it. But there is more to this. In a document entitled “Buganda’s position on the draft constitution: The views of the Buganda Lukiiko submitted to the Constitutional Review Commission as comments on the draft constitution in 1994, the Lukiiko stated: “Buganda is not bothered whether the constitution will label it a state, a province or a district. Buganda, for as long as it is recognised as one unit, call l it RC V, if you may, will go by whatever official administrative title adopted in the constitution.” If the term full federo which is preferred to regional tier by some people means the same arrangement as we had in 1962 then the claim is not correct at all for at page 72 of Buganda’s proposals to the Ssempebwa Constitutional Review Commission the return to the 1962 constitution was discounted ".......because every federal system has to be adjusted to meet the demands of the times”. Again at page 76 it is quite clear that the Lukiiko sanctioned the idea of regional government. So where are these new demands we hear about coming from?

Federalism, as opposed to unitarism in which power is centralised, provides for diffusion of state power among three layers or tiers of government namely national, regional or state and local while ensuring local autonomy for the regions to govern themselves through their different cultural and geographical characteristics. It is an abstract concept and should not be confused with the idea of autonomy which is just one of the elements of the federalism. The present constitution is federalist in nature, something the ultra-conservatives in Buganda fail to understand.

The manner in which a Katikkiro will be elected is a function of the idea of autonomy in that the national constitution has nothing to do with it. But in the modern world we live in today even this autonomy must be guided by democratic principles. We should take a leaf from the British practice where the Prime Minister is appointed by the Queen through the invitation of the leader of the majority party in parliament to form a government. This power of the Queen to appoint her prime minister is both symbolic and real in the sense that she normally respects the people’s will but does not have to.

Indeed in 1923 the king went over the head of the Conservative Party leader, Lord Curzon, and invited Mr. Stanley Baldwin to form the government. In the case of the Conservative Party the leader of the party used to evolve from consultations within the committee of 22 made up of the party bigwigs who would recommend a name to the Queen but the party has since 1964 elected its leader like other parties at its annual conferences.

A Katikkiro therefore does not have to be directly elected in order to satisfy the principles of democracy so long as he has gone through an election process of some sort. To resolve the impasse in Buganda we could have the majority party in the Lukiiko after consultations with the Kabaka’s six nominees in the Lukiiko nominating three names as candidates for the office.

Following the procedure in the 1962 constitution the Lukiiko will then elect a Katikkiro-designate who will then be appointed Katikkiro by the Kabaka by handing him the Ddamula. This will put democracy and tradition in a happy embrace. With the Lukiiko flipfloping on the issue of federo one wonders whether it is not exposing Buganda like the Vikings of Iceland.

The Kabaka should appoint a specialised committee, not from Mengo, like the Hancock committee to study the situation and make a recommendation to the Mengo government.

The Mulwanyammuli Agreement

Buganda took FIVE main points to the Ssempebwa Commission, which are:
1.     Buganda wanted a Federal system of Government for the whole of Uganda or for those regions who want it;
2.     Kampala District which has Buganda’s most important cultural sites should be in Buganda;
3.     9000 Square Miles;
4.     The 1998 Land Act (i.e. annual rent of Shs.,1,000/=; and
5.     Immunities and Privileges of Traditional Leaders.
I am attaching a photocopy of pages 4 and 5 of our Proposals to the Ssempebwa Commission, which outlines the above Buganda main demands in the Constitutional change.
Page 4 and 5 of our Proposals to the Ssempebwa Commission
“(a)    The Federal System of Government and the process of Decentralization;
(b)          Kampala District as part of Buganda;
(c)      The Restitution of the 9000 square miles that were illegally taken away from the Kingdom of Buganda;
(d)      The Land Tenure System and the excesses of the Land Act 1998;
(e)          Immunities and privileges of Traditional Leaders;
The Format of this Report:
The Kingdom of Buganda has decided to present this Report in simple straightforward language, so that ordinary Ugandans, who constitute the
majority of our population, can understand the resentation made on their behalf.
The Report seeks to answer most of the commonly asked questions about the Federal System of Government and its relation to and compatibility with the Decentralization, the questions have arisen from interviews
conducted, and reports received by the Buganda Constitutional Review Commission.  They address the various misconceptions about federalism and decentralization held in some circles, as well as their effects and impact on the attainment of durable peace, more accelerated economic development, more meaningful social progress and the realisation of a Constitutional Buganda.
The Lay out of the Report:
The Report which was presented to the Ssempebwa Commission is divided into four major parts, namely:
(a)               Executive summary
(b)             The Federal System of Government and Decentralisation
(c)              Other issues of concern to the people of Buganda
(d)             Summary of recommendations and conclusion to the Report.”
RESULTS OF NEGOTIATIONS:  (Between Mengo and Central Government)
A.     We achieved the following main components of a federal system of government:
1.    There will be a Regional Government at Mengo, headed  by the Kabaka, with a directly elected indigenous Katikkiro, Ministers, civil servants, etc.  all paid from funds officially allocated for the is function.  The Kabaka will hand Ddamula to the Katikkiro, and all Ministers have okweyanza ewa Kabaka.  (The Clan Leaders will vet the names of Katikkiro candidature.  This will be in ordinary legislation).
2.     There will be a Regional Legislative Assembly, opened  addressed and closed by the Kabaka. The Assembly will have powers to make laws on the functions devolved to Mengo, which laws would be applicable and binding to the whole of Buganda.  In addition, according to Articles 178 (8) of the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill, the regional assembly (Lukiiko), “shall be the highest political authority within its region and shall have political, legislative, administrative and cultural functions in the region.”  Under this authority, the Assembly will be able to make its own Constitution, provided it does not conflict with the Uganda Constitution.  The size of the Lukiiko is to be mutually agreed upon later, and will be a subject of separate ordinary legislation.
N.B.   Note that now we shall once again, have a Kabaka of Buganda instead of Kabaka of Baganda; the region Buganda will be back on the official map and Constitution of Uganda.
3.    There will be adequate financing for the Mengo Government, which shall be from the following sources:
(a) Conditional grants from the Mengo Government, which will be money initially budgeted by Mengo; approved and provided by the Central Government from the Consolidated Fund to cater for all the functions constitutionally devolved on Mengo under paragraph 9 of the Fifth Schedule to the Bill;
(b) Unconditional grants for Mengo to use and allocate as it deems fit.  The formula for these to be worked out as recommended by the Ssempebwa Commission, by experts, who according to our negotiations and agreements, must include Mengo representatives; (our preference was that the formula be incorporated in the Constitution).
(c) Indirect taxation:  cess and surcharge, subject to consultation with the Central Government (mainly to ensure that Mengo is in accord with Central Government’s commitment to Donors, IMF, World Bank, Projected inflation rates, etc);
                    (d)          Borrowings and Loans;
                    (e)          Development projects;
                    (f)          Donations;
                    (g)          Investments.
4.   Specified functions are constitutionally devolved to Mengo.
These are laid out in paragraph 9 of the Bill.  A major function we wanted but failed to get is overall management of Agriculture;  Our role in this important developmental sector is confined to monitoring, coordinating and supervising Agriculture.  The functions are:
(a)      Secondary education and tertiary institutions except national universities and other national institutions:  This means schools like Budo, Kisubi, Namagunga, Gayaza, Kibuli, Nabisunsa, etc., will now be administered from Mengo.
(b)              Maintenance of regional roads:  Roads which cut across more than one District are the responsibility of Buganda Government.
(c)              Regional referral hospitals other than national referral hospitals (e.g. Mulago and Butabika) and national medical institutions.  Most big hospitals in Buganda will now be under Buganda Government.
(d)             Co-ordination, monitoring and supervision of Agriculture.
(e)              Forests: other than national parks.
(f)                Culture
(g)              Cultural and traditional lands
(h)             Promotion of local languages; crafts and antiquities
(i)                Water
(j)                Sanitation
(k)              To levy surcharge or cess subject to the approval of the Central Government.  This is indirect taxation.
(l)               Functions and services surrendered voluntarily by a District Council or District Councils.
(m)         Receiving copies of financial accountability of districts to the central government to enable the regional government monitor, and supervise the implementation of government programmes.
5.     The units lower than the regional Government would, in most federal arrangements, report through the regional government.  In our case, the Central Government rejected this, as a strategy to persuade the Districts to ratify this legislature first.  Districts are to report directly to the Central Government, but giving us copies of those reports.  Mengo will be responsible for monitoring and supervising the Districts’ implementation of Central Government programmes.  They will, however, be answerable to Mengo on matters delegated to them by Mengo.  We still feel that all Central Government instructions to Districts and Districts’ reporting to the Central Government should be through the Regional Government.
6.     All the above are clearly entrenched in the Constitution, which entrenchment is a major, basic and indispensable aspect of a federal system of governance.
The above constitutes the basics of a federal system of Government. It must be emphasized that just as no two kings or Presidents or even Governments in the world are exactly alike, with exact identical powers, etc, no two federal systems are exactly identical in all aspects. The federal system in the US is different from that of each European country, or of India, etc. they all, however, have the basics listed above.
We insisted on the word “federo” or “federal system” being put in the Constitution. The Government rejected this on the same ground they had used to reject putting the word or term “Kabaka” in the 1995 Constitution.  The Government urgued that the system being set up was not for Buganda alone but for any region in Uganda which desired it. That the word “federo” was a Kiganda word which had acquired some negative connotation in some parts of Uganda. That the same can now be said of the word “federal” which to many is the same as “federo”.
They reasoned that instead of forcing everyone to use a word they do not like, which could even make it extremely difficult, if not impossible to pass the federal concept through Parliament and the Districts, we should do what was done in the 1995 Constitution: namely do not use the word Kabaka for all  or any Traditional Leader, but allow every Kingdom or area to use whatever title they wanted. That this had worked well without any problems. The Bill allows each region to use any title it wants, including the word “Federo”. Paragraph 1 of the Fifth Schedule to the Bill provides: “A regional government may adopt its own name”.
B.       Kampala
1.     All traditional sites currently in Kampala District will be curved out of Kampala, made into MENGO Municipality, and will become the Headquarters of Mengo Government, which is in Buganda.
2.    The remaining part of the currently Kampala District, housing the Central Government Headquarters, is constitutionally stated to be  in Buganda, but will be directly administered by the Central Government.
3.    This Capital city of Kampala will have permanent boundaries; however  any expansion of commercial city will be in budget and to  the benefit of Buganda.
C.      The 9000 square Miles
1.   This is now much less than 9000 Sq. miles because a big bulk  of it was in the lost counties: and much of the rest has since been sold or given to individuals as freehold. There is no accurate estimate of what remains but some people estimate it between 3000 and 4000 square miles.
2.    The government rejected our request that all the administration of this land reverts to Mengo, saying that this is bound to inconvenience people occupying or dealing with land
3.     Instead it was agreed there should be a Buganda Land Board which should consist of all District Land Boards Chairpersons ad equal number of members appointed by the Buganda Government to plan, and co-ordinate land use, allocations, etc. in what remains of 9000 Square miles. Buganda Land Board would also be represented in District Land Boards.
4.     Under Paragraph 10 of the Fifth Schedule to the Bill, Mengo shall have powers to coordinate, monitor and plan land use in Buganda.
D.      The Land Act 1998
1.     The problem here was the provision in the 1998 Land Act which   imposed a standard annual rent of U.Shs.1000/= irrespective of size, location or economic activity on the Land.
2.     This problem, which as we noted our demands to Professor Ssempebwa’s Commission, was never a Constitutional matter. However, consequent upon our strong protest, it was solved by an amendment to the 1998 land Act, which scrapped the Uniform Shs. 1000/=, and left the determination of appropriate rent to the District Land Boards and Lands Minister. We are still contesting this and the “Occupation Permit” of squarters.
E.              Immunities and Privileges of Traditional Leaders
1.    It was agreed that the privileges of the Kabaka, in addition to those  in Articles 246, shall be expanded by allowing Regional Government to financially and otherwise look after the Kabaka, and the parliament was to enact a law which will, in addition cater for the financial welfare of the Kabaka.
2.    Parliament was also to enact laws to exempt Traditional       Leaders from payment of direct taxes, and also establish their proper place in protocol. This was not strictly, a constitutional matter
F.                Other Matters Obtained from the negotiation:
1.    We prevailed upon Government to accept ONE Lukiiko.
3.    Buganda shall remain with the 1966 boundaries and no part of it can be allowed to secede as as the case under the 1995 Constitution.
4.    Under the 1962 Constitution, Katikkiro was elected exclusively by the directly elected members of Lukiiko. To avoid a partisan Katikkiro, it was strongly suggested that we directly elect the Katikkiro. Katikkiro has to be an indigenous resident of Buganda, one whose parents or grand parents was residing in Buganda on 1st February 1926, and is willing and able to perform all the Buganda cultural rites. We are insisting that one of the grounds for disciplining the Katikkiro should be disobedience or disrespect to the Kabaka.
5.    We prevailed upon the government to completely abandon the obnoxious provision relating to removal or “disciplining” the Kabaka.
6.    We further prevailed upon Government to set up a vetting committee for the purposes of vetting the candidate for the post of Katikkiro. This committee would be composed of Abataka. As we all know the Kabaka is the chairman of Abataka (Ssaabataka).
December 15th, 2005.

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