Our dear national Jjajja and president doesn’t want Baganda to pursue, or even speak of, their interests as a tribe/ethnic entity! In a Uganda where, since the declaration of the protectorate in 1894, the bloody game of power-struggle has always been played along tribal/ethnic lines, and where his regime has done well at further emboldening those lines! In a Uganda where there are rumours that his own tribal grouping is pursuing a 50-year leadership plan, and where other ethnic groupings have long complained that his regime is serving the chunk of the national cake to the tribal corner he belongs to! Where the most influential among those from the areas North of Lake Kyoga continue to whisper it in their corridors that at the first opportunity they will secede and form the Nile Republic, and where in the Rwenzori region the natives apparently continue to cherish and fan robust sentiments for their own independent Yiira Republic! Mbu His Excellency wants people to only talk of their Ugandan-ness and nothing of ethnic/tribal belonging –something like telling Americans to never talk of being Black-American or Hispanic-American or Indian-American or Russo-American!
On this, I am willing to be a prophet of doom. Unless the whole country accepts that we have disparate tribal/ethnic identities we belong to and which we can’t erase them from our DNA, then amicably agree on how to cater for the interests of those different identities in a manner that serves justice to all… we shall always be in a vicious cycle of tribal/ethnic wrangles that manifest most severely in the power corridors. Indeed if we don’t find a solution when we still have the time, someday not so far off it will turn bloody – Nigeria, Ethiopia, Rwanda, DRC, Kenya, Ivory Coast have all tasted what it means to allow this thing to turn bloody rather than wisely immunize it when there’s yet time.
And for Buganda in particular, there are just two options Uganda as a whole has to solve the highly flammable issues of the Kabaka’s subjects: either exterminate all of them so there’s no one left to clamour for their ‘parochial’ interests, or sit with them on a round table and amicably work out a solution that eliminates their really justified grievances. Else, you can’t expect the country’s most powerful region (population-wise, culturally, economically, historically) to at anyone time move on from the incidents of 1966 in which Buganda suffered what you might call bloody rape as the father of the current structure of Uganda (A.M. Obote) went about producing the Uganda we know today. And more so given that there’s in Buganda a kingdom culture (even nation within a nation) that you can’t forcefully do away with as the last 54 years have shown, yet which stands for certain interests that will always be alive.
Let me summarily say that, like the Honourable Minister of Lands Betty Kamya used to say before she silenced her amazing intellectual powers for reasons future history dons will write about, FEDERALISM is the best alternative for Uganda. Because, away from Buganda, if those from Acholi or Lango or Teso or Bunyoro or Busoga or Rwenzori also begin to tell you about their own interests that won’t die away any time soon…you realize there’s need for semi-autonomy of the different tribal/ethnic entities that are large enough to rock the boat called Uganda with their individual interests so that we forge a Uganda out of mutual understanding rather than by use of the barrel of the gun and related agents of force. Unfortunately, many African leaders go to their graves without ever realizing that the gun alone never permanently settles such things – as we might readily learn from the UK, France, South Africa, USA, Nigeria, the former Yugoslavia, the former USSR, the Middle East…