Opinion
Objectively, Uganda has no kings
Publish Date: Aug 22, 2014
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By Kajabago-Ka-Rusoke

History has known five types of human societies: Communalistic, slave – owning, feudal, capitalist and socialist.

There is one in mind anticipated especially by those building socialism so far and is referred to as communist but has not yet been achieved.


Communalistic was based on common ownership of land with all means of economic production. People owned property in common and society had no classes of inferior and superior. It was governed through habits and customs by elders.


As technology advanced and while some people met some serious economic misfortunes, there arose those who owned wealth above others and turned the propertyless into their own workers without pay. The unpaid workers came to be known as slaves while the employers known as masters. The master class was armed, developed a leader, plus a number of chiefs.


That leader, the armed force and chiefs together constituted an apparatus referred to as a state. The state was accompanied by regulations that would reflect what the leader and chiefs wanted to be done and would be used to reject what the ruled groups would have liked economically and socially to enjoy.


Leadership gradually and finally consolidated and became hereditary. That is what is being referred to as kingship.


The slave – owning society was superseded by another type of society whereby the rich class owned land against others and made those others pay rent because of living on land claimed to be a personal property of those richer ones.
This society in history is also headed by kings and known as feudalism.


Development again takes place further in factors of economic production under feudalism leading to the negation of the same system because more advanced machines are discovered, more land is subsequently needed for larger scales of production, tenants and peasant farmers are therefore pushed away from their homesteads and finally turned into wage employees under those who own large scale economic units of production.


A good example is that of Britain during the 18th century when the state passed what came to be known as Enclosure Acts allowing landlords to evict peasants from the land they occupied due to the development of cloth manufacturing which demanded pasture sheeploreeding.
 

All these above-mentioned societies in history are based on antagonistic class struggles where property relations among them are negative leading constantly to very poor standards of ethics and spiritual life.


This is why today at the international level, standards of ethics on the part of the US and Western Europe are the most backward because of the capitalist system at its level of imperialism.
               

Right from slave-owning society to capitalism in history there have been kings and queens who belong only to classes that exploit other people’s labour and property.


What is necessary now is to put in place a type of society where a head of state is elected either by all or at least by the majority of the members of society where he or she lives. Statements like “a king is not made but born” are based on the ignorance of how the natures of socio – economic formations give rise to leaders.


For example in Uganda, parts of Congo, Tanganyika, the Bachwezi established their rule due to the type of weapons they had developed and the type of wealth they possessed in terms of cattle herds which led them to the art of persuasion and coercion in a combination to dominate those areas. People should be made to understand the historical nature of property and labor relations that determine human relations in totality.

   
In Western Uganda recently for example there is not any worse problem that has caused those negative events other than property relations with particular reference to land. In the history of this country, the people called Bakonzo / Bakonjo used to live up the Ruwenzori Mountains. 


Down below the mountain there has always been a Bunyoro – Kitara County called Busoongora and its people called Abasoongora. Its first county chief was a Muchweezi lady called Koogere who was commissioned there as lady chief by her brother Omukama Isaza Nyakikooto Rugaambanabato Waraga of Bunyoro Kitara.


It had never and, has never, been a kingdom under any king other than Bunyoro Bachweezi and, finally, under their descendants, namely, the Babiito. When colonialists came, they wanted a lot of land for crops and killed many cows in various parts of Uganda, Busoongora inclusive which forced some Basoongora to disperse into areas like Congo, Nkore, Nakasoongora, Ngoma etc.
   

The Bakonjo thereby also now had a chance of descending gradually from the mountains to the cattle landscape of Busoongora to practice crop husbandry where Busoongora time immemorial had been a cattle area.


Bunyoro had any other countries to which chiefs were commissioned by Omukama Isaza, Like Burunuli given to his aunt Nyangoma,  Muhwahwa (Bganda) to Ntege ya kooya, Bwiru (Buddu) to Mukwiri, Kaarokarungi(Nyabushozi) to Machumulinda, Buhwezhu, to Muramura, chope, to Kapaaro, Buyaga to kabara, Bgahya to Nyamurwana, Nwenge to Nyakirembeka, Buleega to Kaleega, Busoga to Nteembe, Buguungu to Kwamango, Busiindi to Nyakadoogi, Bugoma to Nsinga, then the very Headquarter, Kitara, to Nyameenge, and all those commissioned as Isaza’s county chiefs came to be referred to as “Abanyoro ba Isaza”. This is where Uganda gets words like “Ow’lsaza,” Ow’Esaza, “ow’Eishaza”.


At the moment some areas in Uganda are named after the towns which are their main trading centers.


This could have been intended to accommodate and cover up tribal differences which would affect people who occupy those areas in common when they originate from different tribes. In this case therefore it is not Busoongora which is in Kaseese.


It is Kaseese which is in Busoongora, and this should not be used by some people to take chances to dominate the original inhabitants of those areas, like the Bakoonjo who are not Basoongora, instead of looking for mutually acceptable economic relations, but because of their accidental higher population growth in an area which is not originally theirs, they choose to become insubornate and rude to the original owners of the land.


Much worse is that they even establish what they call a king to be above the original owners of the land and even ordering them to sing a so – called National Anthem of the so – called king of Bukoonjo. That sort of arrogance is very unfortunate and completely unacceptable to people who are traditionally known as Basoongora and of that very area known as Busoongora.


In terms of property relations it should be noted seriously that big chunks of land have been taken from Abasoongora: (i) Queen Elizabeth National Park with a lot of square miles (ii) Mubuku Irrigation scheme with 2000 acres, (iii) Mubuku prison farm with 7550 acres, (iv) Hima UPDF production farm 6597 acres, (v) forestry Department, 8400 acres, (vi) Ibuga Production farm, 3000acres. Land ratio between Abasoongora and Abakoonjo is 1:3.


In conclusion concerning Abasoongora, therefore, it is self-explanatory that they have been victims of colonialism and, later, of post-colonial states in the footsteps of colonialism.


•    The next question here is what is meant by the term “Cultural Leaders” who at the same time are referred to as “Kings” in Uganda? Does Uganda have “Kings”?


•    It was in 1890 when a number of nationalities were amalgamated under the name Uganda as a British colony.


•    Some of these nationalities at the time of colonization were kingdoms while others were just tribal entities under Heads of clans.


•    Under British colonial conquest all those colonized ceased being sovereign.


•    All those whose fathers were kings before colonization but left in the homesteads of their conquered fathers, became just children and descendants of former kings but not that they themselves continued as kings under colonial rule.


•    On 9th October, 1962, Uganda became a British Dominion with an Executive Prime Minister under the queen of Britain.


•    These descendants of former kings continued in the homesteads of their ancestors without sovereignty.


•    1963, the British Queen ceased being Head of Uganda state and Uganda became a republic with a president.


•    The one who became President was a descendant of a formerly colonially conquered King of Buganda kingdom which kingdom had become just a province of Uganda after that conquest.


•    When Uganda became a republic all the descendants of former kings remained under the rule of the republic of Uganda.


•    The subjugation of kingship in Uganda is infinite


•    After all this, there came up people from other tribes who claimed that they were also descendants of kings and wanted to be claimed as kings also.


•    But how can they aspire to become kings in a republic where those prior to them as descendants of kings are no longer kings?


•    Tooro, still referred to as Tooro kingdom under colonialism amalgamated the tribes of Abatooro, Abakoonjo and Abaamba but where the Batooro were numerically and authoritatively dominating those other two especially historically.


•    Tooro neglected teaching their dialects in schools and sharing chieftainship in administration. The Bakoonjo ended up forming an anti – suppression organization (Rwenzururu) on the basis of Bakoonjo self – determination in an alliance with the Bamba. This idea was progressive but methods of work eventually were wrong.


•    Leaders of Bakoonjo and Bamba were:


•    Isaya Mukirane, Kawamara, Kambere, and Mupalya who were all primary teachers in Kabarole but who had become members of Tooro Parliament (Orukurato).


•    They were all arrested in Katojo prison in Fort portal, later released as Isaya Mukirane ended up proclaiming himself as king of the Bakoonjo. Kawamara’s son now claims to be king of Abamba.


•    They are also referred to as “Cultural leaders”. What sort of culture are they conducting for Ugandans? Some of these so – called kings have inherited chucks of land referred to as “Mile land” which was deduced from the rest of the whole land of Uganda confiscated by Britain and offered to their conquered fathers who became obedient to colonialism.


From this land, up to now, they make Uganda peasant settlers on mile land pay rent to them being happy for what colonialism gave them above other Ugandans Who should pay rent to them.  What sort of culture therefore can they lead Ugandans to?


What sort of cadres are they? In what sort of ideology can they lead Uganda towards modernization in the economic base and superstructure?

Conclusion:


•    Since in kingship nobody can be above a king, Uganda has no kings. It only has descendants of former kings.


•    Since the fundamental socio – economic culture of kingship is based on economic egoism; it cannot rhyme with the desired socio – economic modernisation.

•    Since the Omusinga and Omudhingiya are sons of mere former primary teachers and yet claim to be descendants of royal families is symbolic of negative socio - economic ambitions and is just a fantasy.


•    Since Uganda has an institute for guiding the country in terms of leadership at a national level, referred to as the National Leadership Institute, all descendants of monarchs in Uganda plus all those of monarch claimants should be guided in a friendly and patriotic way to come and attend courses and seminars at the same institute for Uganda’s common, friendly, patriotic and national oneness and solidarity. This can close the negative chapter of national mutual antagonism on the basis of empty claims for royality.

The writer is a lecturer at the National Leadership Institute, Kyankwanzi

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