Log in
Free: The Observer Mobile App - Exclusive Content and Services

The scramble for Uganda’s millennials

Some of the attendees of  Buganda Bumu North American Convention

Some of the attendees of Buganda Bumu North American Convention

As America celebrated its Memorial Day Weekend, over 500 Baganda congregated in Washington to attend the increasingly popular Buganda Bumu North American Convention (BBNAC 2019) under the banner ‘Buganda: Our Youth, our Future.’

In a message to BBNAC, the Kabaka stressed the centrality of and promise the youth (aged 16-35) hold for Buganda’s future. He stressed the need for the youth to be grounded in Kiganda culture, language and norms.

Both the conference theme and the Kabaka’s message premised on Uganda’s largely youthful population (diaspora and home), beg fundamental questions about its youth and the kingdom’s future.

Prominent among these are: how is this generation equipped to confront Uganda’s problematic political, economic and environmental challenges? To what extent do they understand the ‘Buganda question’ and how it may be resolved in Uganda’s politics - typified by greedy self-promotion and self-preservation?

Also, beyond Uganda, how are they prepared to play a transformative role for our country - situated in a skewed global order that keeps Africa on the margins?  Additionally, our country is riddled with severe environmental challenges, how can they be the change “they want to see” as we consider our dependence on natural resources?

Clearly the BBNAC theme was timely and I regret there wasn’t enough time and discourse on the cruciality of youth mobilization in Buganda or abroad. This reality underscores the challenge we face in preparing the youth to embark on the job of transforming, advancing and protecting Buganda’s socioeconomic, political and environmental interests in today’s Uganda.

Yet, as BBNAC convened in Washington, in Uganda the mobilization of the youth by political actors continued in high gear ahead of the 2021 elections. The prize is known. For President Museveni, currently handing out billions of shillings on a countrywide wealth creation tour, the goal is to target the youth to keep him, and the NRM, in power.

For the opposition, mostly under Hon. Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, the goal is to mobilize and appeal to the youth to help him take and keep power. Given the upheavals and developments in Egypt, Sudan and South Africa, this class understands too well the potency of the youth in political parlance.

For Buganda, the goal for the mobilization of the youth needs to be clearer. As we know, because it is locked up in a political and legal straitjacket that forbids it to advance its interests beyond tradition and culture, it is not always easy for it to mobilize its youth without attracting controversy.

And yet herein lies a window of opportunity considering the incredible contribution Baganda youths are making in various sectors at home and abroad, bringing a different sense of innovation, thought-process and a daring approach. 

Without the billions to hand out to the mostly penurious youths or the captive songs to energize and drum up its youth, Buganda needs to be creative and proactive to capture the attention and imagination of its youth. These cannot be taken for granted.

The question is, how does it reenergize, stimulate and utilize youth associations (Nkoba za Mbogo, Kezimbira, Nkeletanyi, Buganda Youth Council and others) to connect with its broad youthful population - including the women, the diaspora, the unemployed, the employed, the professionals, politicians and its businessmen and women?

BBNAC, and youth-focused conferences like it, offers a good starting point and certainly an opportunity at this pivotal point of our history. And, given that the kingdom envisions a future erected upon and driven by its youthful generation, then more work needs to be done to recruit, build networks, train (leadership), empower, innovate, provide opportunities and constantly engage its youthful population about its interests and goals.

Additionally, in an increasingly digitised world and on a continent [Africa] whose use of digital space has reached seismic proportions, it will be necessary to identify the key factors that affect this number as well as to better understand their worldview and priorities. 

The digital space also provides a window of opportunity for continued engagement with youth – home and abroad – as BBNAC journeys towards its next conference in Chicago.

The aggressive political agendas targeting the youth at home suggest that Buganda’s work in developing an impactful youth-focused and youth-driven agenda is clearly cut out. There are many in-between opportunities that we can engage in to connect both youth in diaspora and Buganda. Let’s not wait for BBNAC in 2021 to get on with this wildly important job.

The author is a former Attorney General of Buganda kingdom.

Comments

-3 #1 Remase 2019-06-05 13:47
Makubuya, "Prominent among these are: how is this generation equipped to confront Uganda’s problematic political, economic and environmental challenges?

To what extent do they understand the ‘Buganda question’ and how it may be resolved in Uganda’s politics - typified by greedy self-promotion and self-preservation?" Grate questions.

The answer to all the above questions you have raised lies in the leadership of Buganda, which is, Mengo, Katikiro (Mayiga) and Kabaka [Mutebebi], the triple M. In my opinion, the triple M are so comfortably close to Sabalwanyi M7, which makes it next to impossible to resolve the above questions.

That is because of M7's Uganda which is "typified by greed and self-promotion and self-preservation." Ironically the triple M7 doesn't see it that way and they are intent on supporting M7, his family/relatives to continue clinging on power and loot it naked for life! One of the answer is "federo." It's clear like day and night that M7 denied Uganda federo.
Report to administrator
0 #2 juwait kali 2019-06-08 23:21
Well done you guyz working day and night 2 kip Buganda up there with the best. Shame 4 z sell outs.

Can Mengo find an appropriate space in between the dodgy National selections for Buganda to elect its Katikiro?

So that we hand him Bugandas demands on what we want impremented within 5 years 4 example. Awangaale sabasajja.
Report to administrator
-1 #3 Lysol 2019-06-10 00:20
The biggest Diasporas millennium Ugandans are the Bagundans and those from the North, the Acholis.

If these two groups and others could work together, they would bring the changes Uganda needs The problem though the Bugandans are bend too much on preserving their Kingdoms first than the rest of Uganda.

In the near future these millennium Diaspora Ugandans will mobilize to take their county back and come back home. They are learning.
Report to administrator
0 #4 Remase 2019-06-10 18:46
Lysol, "If these two groups and others could work together, they would bring the changes Uganda needs The problem though the Bugandans are bend too much on preserving their Kingdoms first than the rest of Uganda."

Not only that, the triple M are only interest in keeping Sabasaja Mutebi in a comfort zone. That's why they are intent on supporting Sabalwanyi M7 to rule for life and continue to bustardize and loot Uganda naked.

They don't want chang and don't care to see that M7/his family/relatives and cronies are hell bent on grabbing Buganda and national land. Ugandans, especially Baganda, have fled their country in numbers that have never been seen before.

Not in Obote or Amin's regimes! And Katikiro Mayiga is not ashamed to passionately congratulate M7 for rigging the 2016 elections and further urge the nation to accept them! Indeed the triple M are in a comfort zone and they are saying that 33 years of M7 have been "Mawa" and that "Awangale ai Sabalwanyi M7!"
Report to administrator
-1 #5 Remase 2019-06-10 19:10
J Kali, "Can Mengo find an appropriate space in between the dodgy National selections for Buganda to elect its Katikiro?"

Grate idea. However, it's not possible in the current governing system. It's only possible in a federo system in which each region is given the autonomy to govern itself. Furthermore, based of the Buganda Kingdom "constitution," if I may call it, it's only the Kabaka who appoints his Katikiro.

As you have stated, it would be in order for the people to elect their Katikiro. There is another catch, that is, if it's the people to elect their Katikiro, then they could elect a Chines or Munyalwanda.

Which wouldn't be bad per se, however, Uganda and Buganda should only be governed by Ugandans. As you have noticed, Omunyalwanda or Omuchaina doesn't care about Buganda or Uganda and that's why we are in a quagmire, but the triple M7 are saying "Awangale ai Sabalwanyi M7!"
Report to administrator
0 #6 juwait kali 2019-06-10 22:17
Remase things evolve/change, no one can defy time. The English monarch has some one you couldn't have 50 yrs ago.

For now, before Uganda is liberated from the occupiers federal can wait a bit. Reason if the rest of the region's are not liberated too I don't see a peaceful Buganda. If a munyarwanda was elected as a katikiro and did not deliver what we asked for we can sack him can't we?

Considering we are not Uganda a one man's show. We are at war and am very sure we will win. And for the record I mean Buganda/Uganda.
Report to administrator
0 #7 Remase 2019-06-11 15:05
Kali, Yes you (We) can. The fact of the matter is, Buganda is the heart of Uganda and if the heart is not peaceful, neither the body.

Since our independence, Uganda has never experienced or realized democracy, because we have been led by autocratic leaders, one after another! Yes things change and indeed they will.

However, in order for things to change, we need to read from the same page. As of now, most Ugandans believe that there must be a change.

It's some religious leaders, those who consider themselves as the elites and the triple M who believe in no change. Therefore, how will change be realized?

All the above mentioned people, directly or indirectly benefit from the current autocracy. That is why they prefer to maintain the status quo!

Kali, we need to expose whoever is against change and have a strategy to plant a true and lasting fundamental change for our children and grandchildren. Each and every second that M7 clings on power, it deepens Uganda in deeper ruins!
Report to administrator

Comments are now closed for this entry

betPawa