In the lead up to the 2021 polls for presidential and legislative aspirants, it is unsurprising that the (B)Uganda Question is once again at the fore and is resurfacing in a dominant way, especially because terms such as federalism—also loosely translated as ‘federo’—appear both sensible and appealing to the electorate in Buganda.
As such, Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga is reported to have implored the Kabaka’s subjects during the Enkuuka ya CBS Omuliro, 2019 (Buganda kingdom’s annual end-of-year fete) at the Mengo palace, to vote only those who understood and were committed to Buganda’s aspirations abridged as the Ensonga Ssemasonga Ettaano ( five core point programme).
These include: protecting, defending and preserving the integrity of Nnamulondo (the Buganda Throne); sharing power and resources under a constitutionally entrenched federal scheme, hard work and unity. One, however, is inclined to examine whether:
i. The current administration at Mmengo has an actual political strategy for Buganda insofar as her relationship with the rest of Uganda is concerned;
ii. The lack of it has, from the genesis, been a hushed resolve to tighten the grip on her encirclement by the latter; and
iii. As an outcome of (ii), she has had to find herself at crossroads with regard to her own redemption and that of her co-encircled provinces.
Since his appointment to the premiership in 2013, Mr Mayiga has, contrary to popular opinion within both the Buganda Cabinet and Lukiiko (Assembly), assumed a single rather than a multi-pronged approach in addressing the (B)Uganda Question, i.e., focus is on free enterprise.
Confining our struggle to economics alone, one contends, is to correspondingly disregard our prized political and cultural heritage, and to ‘happily’ aid our own extinction to our adversaries’ delight.
Yet the opposite approach would, in a major way, not only assist in the holistic resolution of our challenges—present or futuristic—but also in spurring the much-desired synergies essential for the conversion of the love, loyalty and unity the Kabakaship enjoys into a formidable force that will rid us of overrule and inform our self-rule.
Thus, in view of Mr Mayiga’s half-hearted statements on ‘federo’ in the last six or so years, and in the absence of a clear policy on how to circumvent the murky politics both within and without our yard; it then becomes a little more difficult for Buganda citizens to say anything—in support or opposition—without fear or favour.
Yet, this is the very stuff Buganda must nip in the bud by unreservedly discussing all pertinent questions with great fervour and tenacity. Equally, her leadership should back rather than suffocate such discourse and consider a bottom-top tactic in revitalizing the political consciousness of her people to demand and protect their stake in (B)Uganda.
More specifically, Mengo should:
1. Return to the drawing board and re-imagine both her place and role at local, continental and global levels by fully involving both Cabinet and Lukiiko.
2. Establish a fully-fledged division responsible for strategic planning, management and implementation of the five-core-point programme within a global sense, and with a think-tank/research unit. The research must be published, translated where possible, and disseminated to the public.
3. Organise official visits by the Kabaka to Uganda’s other provinces, as well as to the outside world so as to (re)stimulate partnerships necessary for the successful struggle for self-determination.
4. Unconditionally restore the Buganda conference—a stage that afforded diverse highbrow engagement on the (B)Uganda Question. Further to working out modalities of involving those at the grassroots, we also require a clear explanation for its muzzling.
5. Court politicians and form strong pressure groups for the convening of the due national dialogue.
6. Make the Lukiiko acceptably more representative and embolden rather than weaken its institutional ability to discharge its mandate (through gagging).
7. Spot and screen young intelligent Baganda—both graduates and undergraduates—for scholarship, fellowship, leadership and internship programs at world-class universities and organisations.
8. And, keenly sensitize the public on the kingdom’s aspirations through conferences, seminars, media and barazas, among others.
Far more essential than the Nkuuka pleas, the ‘wonderful’ and ‘fantastic’ spirit in which they are made, plus the hype attached to them; is the duty to be and stay staid on the resolution of the (B)Uganda Question; thwart all tardiness and wily schemes in our yard; and not wait for parties to make our case—lest we be imagined to be making paper-tiger (byoya bya nswa) demands.
The writer is a lawyer.