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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Can an elected Katikkiro co-exist with the Kabaka?

Can an elected Katikkiro co-exist with the Kabaka?
As Secretary-General of Fedsnet, arguably the leading portal of federalism information for Ugandans, it is incumbent upon me to comment on the controversy regarding the position of the Katikkiro in Buganda.
The debate about whether the Katikkiro should be elected or ppointed by the Kabaka is very pertinent to the federalism debate. In the spirit of genuine federalism, Uganda's regions should decide echanisms for their own internal self-governance guided by universal democratic principles and Human rights, and not in contravention of the hoped for national, federal constitution. At your convenience, please see the Fedsnet model for such a constitution at:
I support election of the Katikkiro from among candidates screened nd approved by the Kabaka and the Bataka following an elaborate process. This is the position that we, Fedsnetters, presented to the Ssempebwa Constitutional Review Commission in April 2003. The Bataka, it was reported, insisted on a similar arrangement upon meeting President Museveni in May 2005. Thus it seems that Buganda's current hard-line stance against the election of the Katikkiro was largely precipitated by the government's omission of such a screening process for prospective Katikkiros in the regional tier bill it presented to parliament. 
Given the importance of the relationship between the Kabaka as Supreme Constitutional head of Buganda, and the Katikkiro as its administrative head, along with overwhelming desire for cultural integrity by Buganda and other regions, the Bataka, and others, are justified in shunning any bill or law that does not recognize the Kabaka's and cultural guardians' role in vetting candidates for Katikkiro.
This article examines alternative proposals that have been presented on the subject of the election of the Katikkiro. It then proposes an arrangement within Buganda's constitution that ensures that a vetted, elected Executive Katikkiro of Buganda is accountable to the people resident in Buganda, while --paradoxical and conflictual as it may seem -- he/she is keenly aware of the supreme position and authority of the Kabaka in Buganda. In line with this thinking, the article posits an idea that may help guarantee that the Kabaka's office continues to be viewed by all political players as central to Buganda's affairs beyond the cultural sphere, though not in a partisan political sense.

The debate and the Issues

Should the Kabaka nominate the Katikkiro from among elected members of the Lukiiko, or should Buganda residents directly elect the Katikkiro? This is a topic with strong arguments on either side, but the issues of accountability, tradition and cultural integrity are major points of contention.
In democracies, accountability is very much intertwined with the people's vote and their ability to remove errant leaders either directly through subsequent elections, or indirectly through their legislative representatives' votes of 'no confidence'. Now, in a situation where the Kabaka appoints someone Katikkiro, whether from within the Lukiiko, or from without, accountability becomes murky in that cultural authorities, such as the Bataka, or entrenched interests, may through their counsel to a potentially insulated Kabaka, anchor a politically unaccountable [to the people] Katikkiro, thus stunting the growth of democracy and good governance. 
In the age of CNN and BBC broadcasts emitting daily images and news of people worldwide rebelling against unaccountable institutions, and with ever increasing access to higher education that nurtures analytical and independent thinking -- the possibility of a perception of unaccountable Katikkiros being shielded by unelectable Kabakas, may, in the long-term, do more to undermine the survival of, and the continued reverence for the monarchy in Buganda than any perceived deficiencies of a constitutional arrangement that allows for election of the Katikkiro, subject to pre-screening of candidates by the Kabaka, the Bataka, and a few technocrats on the monarch's advisory council.  

The Parliamentary Approach

An alternative to the direct election of the Katikkiro is provided by parliamentary systems whereby the leader of the party with a majority of seats in parliament automatically becomes Prime Minister. While such an arrangement may work well in other regions of Uganda, in the case of Buganda, such an arrangement is likely to be just as unacceptable because it leaves no room for the Kabaka to choose or vet the Katikkiro in an environment where the composition of the one-chamber elected Lukiiko is likely to be ever changing and uncertain. A variant idea, with the Kabaka nominating a Katikkiro from among elected members of the regional legislature, may be just as contentious, unless the person chosen by the Kabaka happens to be the leader of the majority party in the Lukiiko, with universal legitimacy to all the region's party members. A complication, however, is the probability that the party leader may not necessarily be in tune with the kingdom's cultural power brokers.
On the other hand, it is no longer neither feasible nor desirable, in a democratic society, to shut out parties in the process of choosing the Katikkiro. In past instances where the Lukiiko elected the Katikkiro, the parties were either non-factors, or were sidelined by the Kabaka Yekka movement that dominated the Lukiiko. Parties and their leaders were then widely viewed in Buganda as upstarts that lacked administrative depth, wisdom, and experience possessed by traditional authorities, and were largely suspected of not having the best interests of Buganda's institutions at heart. Incidentally, such sentiments may still be latent.
From a representative government perspective, it is possible that a candidate elected by, nominated, or emerging from a Lukiiko -- dominated by men and conservative cultural guardians -- may not be wholly sensitive to concerns and grievances of important groups such as women, youth, and resident ethnic minorities, potentially arousing smoldering discontent. Therein, in my opinion, lies the attractiveness of direct election of pre-screened candidates for the office of the Katikkiro since it addresses both cultural and democratic concerns. The process of electing a vetted Katikkiro would require approved candidates to canvass the entire region, exposing the eventual winner to the totality of the electorate's concerns and needs.

The vetting Process

By design, the vetting process would, unlike in the past, encourage political parties and traditional authorities to work together, thereby helping bridge the longstanding gap between western and African concepts of legitimacy and accountability. Vetting would ensure that candidates for Katikkiro meet minimum criteria such as, for example, a clear understanding of, respect for, and appreciation of the region's cultural and political institutions --including the Kabaka; facility with the region's history, social norms and language; long-standing inter-generational residency; competence; and a clear vision for the kingdom. The process would not shut out any resident of Buganda from becoming the Katikkiro, provided he/she is among the candidates that pass the screening by the Kabaka, Bataka, and select technocrats. In cases where their candidates fail the screening process, political parties would be compelled to submit other aspiring contenders. The approved candidates – preferably from at least two political parties – would then present their manifestos to the people of Buganda, backed by their respective party organizations. Of these one would be elected Katikkiro, through universal adult suffrage.
Can a directly elected Katikkiro co-exist with the Kabaka?
There is a well-founded concern that a directly elected Katikkiro, having got his or her mandate from the people, may choose to relegate the Kabaka to the periphery. How would the Kabaka's position as constitutional head of Buganda be reconciled with the Katikkiro's mandate? In other words, how would Buganda ensure that an elected Katikkiro does not undermine the Kabaka's authority, or become an agent of potentially hostile forces?
That seeming conundrum can be resolved by provisions in Buganda's own constitution that ensure that an elected Katikkiro and the Lukiiko are obliged to get the assent of the Kabaka on any major initiatives. The King, consulting with his technocratic advisors, would have to sign off on all major legislative and administrative initiatives by the Buganda regional government before they become law, or take effect. The Katikkiro would be mandated to consult the Kabaka on all major decisions. This arrangement would not be without precedent. At independence a similar constitutional arrangement existed between Uganda's first ceremonial President Sir Edward Mutesa II and the Executive Prime Minister, Dr. Apollo Milton Obote.
Unlike conflicts of interest that rendered that national arrangement untenable, at the regional level there would not be such conflicts of interest not only because the Kabaka would be both the constitutional and, by tradition, supreme head of Buganda, but also because the Kabaka's and the Katikkiro's interests would be the same, the advancement of Buganda, its residents, and its interests. Further, unlike the previous national arrangement between the President and Prime Minister, in Buganda's constitution there would be no room for the Katikkiro to by pass the Kabaka's signature.

Enhancing the office and role of the Kabaka

Finally, in view of the Kabaka's role as the supreme authority in Buganda, it is imperative that the monarch's office continues to be perceived by future generations as vital to Buganda's prosperity and advancement beyond the cultural sphere. One way to ensure that is to establish the office of the Kabaka as a well-funded think-tank for Buganda, similar to organizations in the West (particularly the United States) that are filled with technocrats and scholars researching and publishing journals on economic, social, cultural, and political preferences of the population, in addition to generating new ideas for the benefit of policy makers.
The technocrats in the Kabaka's office would also assist him in assessing the implications of bills presented to him. The Office could publish a prestigious quarterly Buganda Royal Journal, perhaps with a forward by the Kabaka commenting on topics therein. Such a role for the Kabaka would accomplish two objectives: first, it would remind policy makers and politicians in Buganda of his central role; second, it would assure the people resident in Buganda that the Kabaka is aware of issues of concern to them and has staff engaged in helping devise solutions to them.
In conclusion, Buganda, and other regions, should be left to decide governance mechanisms that they find most suitable to their circumstances – though in line with universal democratic and human rights values. Different regions may opt for different models, that is, between direct [Presidential style], and indirect [parliamentary style] elections for their regional premiers. In keeping with federalism, the central government, or its agents, should not dictate their choices.
Joseph Senyonjo, New York City, USA


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