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Buganda and govt: Who is to blame for the clash?

By Vision Reporter

Added 18th October 2009 03:00 AM

THE president of the Conservative Party, John Ken Lukyamuzi, has poised a million-dollar question: “Couldn’t Dr. Apollo Milton Obote avoid the 1966 Buganda crisis?”

THE president of the Conservative Party, John Ken Lukyamuzi, has poised a million-dollar question: “Couldn’t Dr. Apollo Milton Obote avoid the 1966 Buganda crisis?”

The conflict of Buganda and Govt will continue unless nationalism is created

By Magemeso Namungalu

THE president of the Conservative Party, John Ken Lukyamuzi, has poised a million-dollar question: “Couldn’t Dr. Apollo Milton Obote avoid the 1966 Buganda crisis?”

Lukyamuzi was speaking to hundreds of Uganda People’s Congress supporters gathered at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala.

Reacting to the question, a Makerere University student said: “Why couldn’t Lukyamuzi say: “Couldn’t Sir Edward Muteesa avoid the 1966 Buganda crisis. Both Obote and Mutesa were responsible for the crisis.”

According to the 1962 Constitution, a referendum was to be held to determine whether Buganda’s counties of Buwekula, Buyaga and Bugangaizi would remain in Buganda or go to Bunyoro.

The referendum determined that Buwekula would remain in Buganda and Buyaga and Bugangaizi would go to Bunyoro. Mutesa, as the president, was expected to sign an instrument to make the results of the referendum operational.
Kabaka Mutesa could not sign the instrument that gave away Buganda’s counties and remain the darling of Buganda so he did not sign.

Obote, as executive prime minister, signed the instrument and the result was the 1966 Buganda crisis. The DP, which was bitter against Mengo for denying them entry to power in 1962, energised the conflict of Mutesa and Obote.

The result was similar to what happened in Buganda on September 10, 2009. Trenches were dug across roads, policemen were killed and police stations were burnt.

Obote called in Idi Amin to ensure security. In the military adventure Mutesa was defeated and began his journey to Britain where he died in exile.

Partly because of the 1966 Buganda crisis, Obote was deposed from power in 1971. Even when he came back to power in 1980, he was not comfortable.
He was again deposed in 1985 and like Mutesa, he died in exile. Historians say Obote and Mutesa found themselves in conflict.

Obote had to ensure state security, especially after Buganda told him to remove his capital from Kampala and Mutesa had to guard against the disintegration of his kingdom.

That was not the first time Mutesa suffered for his kingdom. The colonialists bundled him up and sent him to exile in Britain for resisting the East African Federation.

At independence, the British knew they were leaving behind Buganda’s Kabaka as a stumbling block to nationalism of the new independent Uganda.

Therefore, neither Obote nor Mutesa were villains in the 1966 Buganda crisis.
They were victims of circumstances. The villains were the British colonialists who allowed tribalism and sectarianism to flourish and those who energised the conflict.

However, the 1966 crisis was a good accidental step towards the solution to tribalism and sectarianism. Frustration of this step called for a repeat of history.

Last month, the Government told Mutesa’s son, Kabaka Mutebi, not to go to Bugerere because Ssabanyala said he could not go there without his permission. The result were riots which cost Uganda more than 20 lives.
Mengo is accusing the Government of empowering Ssabaluli, Ssabanyala, Ssabamori and Kamuswaga against Kabaka Mutebi so as to cause disintegration to the 500-year-old kingdom.

Like it was in 1966, DP is energising the conflict between the NRM government and Mengo as a punishment to President Museveni for not rewarding them for their contribution to the Luweero war.

If, therefore, Lukyamuzi’s question is to be re-echoed, another question could be asked: Who could have avoided last month’s riots? Would Museveni have just stood by and watched state insecurity? On the other hand, would Kabaka Mutebi have just watched his kingdom disintegrating?

However, the conflict between Buganda and the Government will continue unless someone paves a clear path to the country’s nationalism.

The writer is a former chief news editor Radio Uganda and Uganda Television

Buganda and govt: Who is to blame for the clash?

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