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Kabaka’s birthday and rethinking Uganda’s governance model

In celebrating the Kabaka’s 64th birthday, the people of Buganda once again demonstrated unwavering loyalty to their sovereign.

The huge turnout at the birthday run and at Ndejje SS, for the main celebrations, was unmistakably an endorsement of his authority. Masaza and Bika football tournaments have been equally massive in the past. These events  have come with increased awareness and financial support  in the education, sports, health (fistula, HIV/Aids, sickle cell) and economic spheres in Buganda.

The epic, and growing, demonstration of public support towards the Kabaka and his government at once highlights nagging political questions in our country and problematizes its governance and constitutional model.

In the political and constitutional context, the fleeting feet that ran or trekked to Ndejje SS, this year and in the past,  were no doubt a vote in support of the Kabaka and what he embodies - including the protection of the environment, promotion of education, health, the propagation and preservation of cultural norms, and, importantly, his advocacy for sharing of power between the centre and the regions of Uganda - in a manner that respects  diversity and engenders equitable sharing of our country’s wealth.

But, in real terms, what does this vote-of-confidence manifest to the people of Buganda and the rest of the country? How can this undisputed vote be harnessed (not suppressed) for political and socioeconomic development for all?

The current legal and political regime places limits on what cultural or traditional leaders and institutions may or may not do. The avowed intention is that they remain cultural or touristic relics. This mindset emanates from an unfortunate colonial and postcolonial history that has pitted the new colonial construct named Uganda against ancient African states such as the Kingdom of Buganda.

Within this purview, when Buganda’s leadership makes demands on power sharing, the custodians of  the inherited colonial state swiftly retort that it should not - on the pretext that its leaders are neither elected nor representative of Buganda - under a Western democracy rubric.

Yet, as is apparent, there exist serious questions (and limitations)  on the efficacy of the Western model of governance  in postcolonial Africa. For a host of reasons, the European model of democracy has met more with failure than with success in Africa.

Conversely, the world is replete with examples of successes in  countries either with homegrown or non-Western governance models. Back home, the reality of the authority and legitimacy of traditional leadership justifies a rethink of our governance and constitutional model.

Furthermore, Buganda’s perennial capacity to mobilise its population for sociocultural and economic development - with very limited resources - again proves the potency of traditional institutions in spite of the hardships they have endured since colonial conquest and occupation. And, although it’s leadership is unelected, it remains credible and respected in ways that elected leadership may not be.

Why? This may be due to the intrinsic connection with its populations’ beliefs and aspirations or, due to the frustrations its people suffer with the way democracy is controlled in this part of the world.

But, whatever the reason for failed ‘democracies’ in Africa, the power-relations and political realities in (B)Uganda point to nothing but a need to revisit the constitutional foundations of both entities so that the country’s full potential may be unleashed in our lifetime.

In short, the popular display of goodwill to the Kabaka and his government over the years needs to go beyond pomp and circumstance. It needs to be translated into tangible socioeconomic and political development.

How this may be achieved consists the single most important challenge that our political  and traditional leaders face - as we look forward to a future of political stability and shared prosperity.

The Kabaka, and singer Mesach Ssemakula, reminded us at this year’s festivities, that no amount of song or dance will help the situation. But, perhaps more importantly, that success will be achieved - only once we get off our laurels and break some sweat.

Happy birthday and long live Ssabasajja!


0 #1 kabayekka 2019-04-17 19:36
One wonders what this writer means by saying that the current Central government regime is legal and political on the territory of the state of Buganda.

The state of Buganda never did put any signature to the current formulated constitution of Uganda.

And if it did, an official statement is anxiously awaited by the educated Ganda of this Ancient African state. Efforts by this so called legal regime to rule the country of Buganda failed when a regional tier system of administration was stopped in its tracks.
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0 #2 kabayekka 2019-04-18 03:00
It is the political mistakes of these Ganda members of parliament who have taken it to themselves to try and lead the state of Buganda to where it is currently stranded in political limbo.
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+1 #3 Isac 2019-04-18 12:28
Owk. Makubuya, you clearly know that "federo is the only answer.

Furthermore, you clearly know that M7 will never ever accept federo, yet he hold the power to grant it at the moment. Kakaba Mutebi clearly knows it too. What has Mutebi done?

Continue to support M7! Why? Because Mutebi is in a contort zone. He is protected by the SFC and well fade! Therefore Mutebi sees no need for a federo and only interested in maintaining the status quo.
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0 #4 Akot 2019-04-22 17:49
Quoting kabayekka:
It is the political mistakes of these Ganda members of parliament who have taken it to themselves to try and lead the state of Buganda to where it is currently stranded in political limbo.


All Buganda has to do is become a real 'country, nation' outside Museveni's Uganda & run its affairs independently.

If Buganda becomes a real nation, it will have control of it's land, manage it as bagandans want, have foreign embassies, be member of UN....!

Does Buganda need Museveni & be part of his Uganda till he dies, then what?

This applies to all tribes that want to be real nations/countries that run their affairs without being afraid of Museveni, who, by the way, has no tribal land in Uganda!...
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0 #5 Akot 2019-04-22 17:55
...If Buganda is as organised, has the leadership we are told it has, then why is it not a FREE nation ouside Museveni's tribalistic system?

Time to ask why Acholi that was destroyed, isolated, will never be respected nor wanted by Museveni, continues to help maintain the tribalistic system!

As even Buganda is not a real 'nation-country' minding its affairs, what will the situation be when Musevnei will be no more?

What will the situation be for the rest of tribes, including those without tribal leaders, as there is no common opposition leadership, leave alone saying there is NO opposition leadership against Museveni?

Some Ugandans tell Museveni to leave, but forget there is no way things will be better as he will leave the divisive tribalistic system on, while our people have no common opposition leadership & not 1 tribe has guts to be INDEPENDENT from the others!...
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0 #6 Akot 2019-04-22 17:58
...With Museveni still on/alive, Ugandans can bury they heads in sand & pretend they are good & he is the bad one!

But once the dictator will be no more with our people's tribalism exposed, who will be blamed?

After Museveni is dead;

- Who will army/police teargas, harass, arrest Ugandans for defying?

- Who will opposition leaders continue to divide Ugandans for?

- Who will pay tribal leaders?
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0 #7 Akot 2019-04-22 18:17
Isac, thanks.

Mutebi, like Acholi tribal leader, are no better than Museveni, yet Acholi/Bagandans don't see it!

Sir E. Mutesa ll joined Dr Obote to form the Republic of Uganda, even when he diden't like it, because it was the only option that gave Ugandans chance to be FREE without taking to arms to fight for independence as the rest of the world was doing!

Bagandans went along with Sir Mutesa's choice then!

Even Amin couldn't make Ugandans enemies of themselves nor use them against one another, nor tribally divide & rule them as Museveni has done!...
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0 #8 Akot 2019-04-22 18:21
...Today, Mutebi is helping Museveni reduce his fathers efforts to nothing as he is helping Museveni destroy/own Uganda that includes Buganda!

Why don't Ugandans see their only way out, the only means to stop Museveni finally owning their country fromed by tribal lands, is through UNITY & not by helping him, especially as the demon uses Ugandans against themselves?

What life/future is there for any tribe when Museveni drops dead with the tribalistic system standing, army/police ensuring it's Museveni & no other to rule, while opposition leaders don't see the country called Uganda is no more, but a tribalistically divided & ruled zone that will finally belong entirely to Museveni?
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0 #9 Akot 2019-04-22 18:36
Why is tribal leaders standing down & UNITY OF ALL that will throw Museveni out, then give chance to;

- Formation of Independent Tribal States, or

- Reformation of the Republic, not a better choice for Ugandans?

Why is keeping Museveni in power through the tribalistic system, a better choice & duty for Ugandans?

By now Ugandans must know there is no way they can go for Federal States as long as Museveni is on as this will leave him landless!

Yet, we should now ask;

*what if Museveni becoems a real man, real dictator & dismentles the tribalistic system & reforms the republic of Uganda as he wants?
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