Yes, Buganda, Bunyoro, Toro and Ankole used to be nations but not anymore. All the kingdoms are now part of a country called Uganda. So, one cannot officially be a Muganda or Musoga or Mutoro or Munyori by nationality. I think some of you need to join FDC soon because you may find their motto of ‘One people One Uganda’ very useful.
I love my Kabaka and everything called Buganda but there are things we have got to draw a line under if we are to find a way forward. Some of my Baganda friends may misinterpret this standing as anti-Kabaka but they are absolutely wrong. I have got no reason to appease any non-Muganda against Buganda. Kabaka Mutebi is my Kabaka and I wish he is given what he wants to help his people.
Yes, I understand why some people are finding it difficult to accept that president Museveni has done a number on Baganda . He has systematically weakened the Kingdom to the extent that our only option now is to fight for a federal system of governance despite the fact that he hates it too. Buganda kingdom has got all the mechanisms in place to embrace federalism unlike other parts of the country. If you remember, I one time wrote an article here showing that ‘Buganda is already a quasi state within a state‘
The kingdom has got all the structures in place to govern itself and I think that scares some people in the government, but this does not make Buganda a ‘state’ or ‘nation’ as some people are saying. The nations in the world are known because there are composed of permanent states. With one exception, the Vatican, the rest of the nations are formed by trans-generational communities. So, Buganda was once a nation with various tribes in it but this ceased in 1900 if my history serves me right. In 1960s, we fully became a nation called Uganda and I can’t foresee that arrangement being put in the bin soon.
Under the new world order, each person inherently belongs to a specific nation, and no-one can validly claim not to belong to any nation. So, most of the members of UAH belong to a nation called Uganda not Buganda. Our nationality is Ugandan, and that is what we fill in on our passport application forms.
Under the new world order, nations are usually not abolished, singly or collectively. No process which terminates the existence of any nation is legitimate. Nobody can abolish a nation called Uganda but people with power in Uganda can abolish any centres of power in the country, and this includes kingdoms (as Obote did in 1966).The world order of nation states shall never be terminated.
Yes, another nation may develop from an existing nation as it happened in Sudan( south and Northern Sudan) or Ethiopia and Eritrea, but there are less chances of this happening in Uganda at the moment because the Buganda kingdom has been ‘de-bugandalised’ with constant inflow and settlement of other tribes from other parts of the country. The present government has been one of the engines of this process and I cannot see this being reversed in anyway by any other government.
Conversely, all nation states claim that other groups do not possess that specific right to the territory in question. For instance, Irish nationalists believe that the ‘Irish people’ have a superior right to the island of Ireland, and that the Paraguayan people do not possess this right. They believe that individual Irishmen and Irish women are the bearers of this collective right, and that these individuals cannot be denied the right to reside in Ireland. But the difference with Buganda/Uganda is that Ireland has no indigenous ethnic minorities. So the definition of the nation is relatively simple.
Yes, historically Buganda was such a great kingdom and I think some people are still holding on that dream. For instance, Michael Twaddle, for instance, once described the Baganda as the ‘Chinese of Africa’ because of their historical modern ways of living in a non-western world. Winston Churchill also called the Buganda kingdom ‘a fairy-tale’ because ‘the people are different from anything elsewhere to be seen in the whole of Africa’. He later called Uganda ‘the pearl of Africa’ for reasons which are not far away from Buganda kingdom. Political parties were born in Buganda out of political movements. It is widely believed that Katikilo Nsibirwa was assassinated by the Buganda political movements because he was looked at as a stooge for the colonialists. Buganda had a party which united both the tenants and landlords which was called the Bataka party. This party was founded by Baganda intellectuals and it was the first to oppose the East Africa federation. Probably, I would not have been a member because I support both the Federalism in Uganda and the East Africa Federation though the former needs to be sorted out first. The Baganda old men had manners and they never abused people in public.
Anyway,there are several problems with the interpretation of nationality by some people in Uganda, not the least of which is that Baganda , Banyoro, Basoga,……….. are not tribes, but nations.
In all my time I never really thought about my nationality till now and I don’t think many of us did, because I’ve always taken myself to be a Ugandan( not Bugandan). This does not mean that I don’t treasure our kingdom but it’s amazing how one can just assume that everyone treats certain aspects in the same way.
Now that some people are talking in terms of ‘old stone age’, I have been forced to look at the stratigraphies of the Old Stone Age to see how this is related to their argument, which usually look as follows: modern man (homo sapiens); Neanderthal man (homo sapiens neanderthalensis) and Homo erectus (invents fire and is considered the first intelligent Man). My question to them: how old is the earth? How old is Uganda? Uganda is a result of the evolution of all the kingdoms (which they prefer to call nations) and there is no going back. Evolution is a fact just as old age is a fact. Yes, England came to be called England because of a combination of several nations, and that is evolution. Uganda evolved differently and I think we have got to move on instead of blaming colonialists.
By the way, even the democracy we are following is ‘colonial’. Are we going to drop it and move back into ‘stone age’ political ideologies? When are we going to stop this victim blaming?
We already have ‘stone age’ economies; ‘stone age’ leaders in suites with a thin glaze coating of just enough cell phones(MTN, Walid,. e.t.c) in Sub-Saharan Africa, and now some of you want us to look at our nationalities in a ‘stone age’ format. Let’s be proud of being Ugandans, at least, despite the fact that our leaders try so much to make us feel otherwise. This does not make us love our kingdoms and kings any less but it shows we have got ‘Uganda at heart’. We should put our energies in fighting for federalism for all regions in Uganda. Buganda and other kingdoms can still be great if the sons and daughters of the respective kingdoms are committed to revive them.
In Britain, the north is kind of marginalized but the Yorkshire people are so proud of their region such that the rich men there have done everything possible to close the gap between them and the south. For instance, the two guys that own ‘MORRISON’ supermarket are Yorkshires and until recently, most of their supermarkets were based in the north. London wasn’t an attraction to them till when they bought ‘Safeways’ supermarket a few years ago. There is Yorkshire tea, Yorkshire water (one can drink it from the tap without boiling it), e.t.c. Similarly, we should find a concrete plan to help kingdoms and draw a line under certain things we cannot change. May be one day, we shall be having: Buganda Tea, Buganda water, Buganda Soda, …………. if the ‘stone age ‘thinking is wiped off from our minds.
Overall, I think we need to find a way of keeping our great kingdoms within Uganda without necessarily denouncing our nationality and the best I can think of right now is fighting for federalism.
Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba