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.
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