We can not move on amidst a Cold Civil War yet.
I never want to do a blog about Uganda’s politics or blog on anything plainly. Commenting on Uganda’s politics is also a matter of life and death but at the moment the dead are better off in Uganda. To comment in-depth on Uganda’s politics the Buganda question which is political has to be invoked and that will make one sound sectarian or tribal especially for those who loathe reality.
So 18 million registered voters, about 10 million come out to vote. The winner of the election got almost 6 million and the runner-up was given 3.6 million votes. Uganda is said to have about 42 million people, a figure I dispute just like many. With the said numbers can one say confidently that it’s democracy? Not outrightly, yet Uganda is considered to be a democracy even with a clown prince in the picture. Uganda is not a kingdom but parents have a way of looking at life. A doctor will want their children to join the medical world, we have seen families of educationalists, for some people law is a must, even after my bachelor’s degree in procurement and logistics my parents are always asking me how far with CPA. The president of Uganda is a good father and like Jomo Kenyatta has plans of having the son carry on in an event he failed to wake up one-day. Uganda’s politics is subject to the laws of life and family.
2021 is not about today but the future, how many people think there will be a National Resistance Movement party after President Yoweri Museveni is no more. Those who see the old man as a god of some kind worry about his existence every passing hour. He has not shown any signal of who or how he would wish things to move into a future without him. The Future is always inevitable and it should be planned for.
To try looking at the future we have to look back at the past to put the Buganda question into context. Buganda is a region in the center of Uganda and it’s largely but not entirely made up of the Ganda people (Baganda). They are considered to be a tribe with a monarchy system. In the Ganda language (Luganda) there is no word for the tribe but instead nation/state/country. If you are reading this and you speak a bit of Ganda check your vocabulary to fact check. In 1000 AD Buganda was made up of 10 clans and today they are 52 clans. As the region grew the smaller states they took on both in war and peaceful means became part of the Kingdom with equal rights which expanded the clan system. It also explains why the Ganda language takes on different forms from several corners of the central region.
Fast forward to modern times, Buganda is the biggest region in size and population. The Ganda people are the most hated people within the pearl of Africa a reality they know clearly. The word Buganda without the letter “B” makes up the word “Uganda” making it the mother of the country one of the many reasons it’s not liked by the rest of the people that make up the Country.
In 1962 the year Uganda became independent from British rule after an election that led to hanging results without a party taking a majority of the vote. Buganda was hated more by Uganda for going into a coalition government with other regions going by the words of Professor Taban Lo Liyong at Writivism 2018 at the National Theatre in Kampala. They were three major parties that took part in the election, The Democratic Party (DP), Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), and Kabaka Yeka (KY) led by the Kabaka of Buganda. DP led by Ben Kiwanuka a Muganda failed to agree with the Kabaka to form a government because the former had a strong influence of the Catholic Church that had a rift historically with Mengo the harness of the Buganda Kingdom. This disappointed Uganda as a whole. They hated Buganda but preferred to have them as leaders. The Kabaka reached an agreement with Milton Obote the head of UPC from the Lango tribe and the Northern part of Uganda for the sake of the whole country to form a government. The UPC man later fell out with the Kabaka in 1966 and violently attacked the palace in Mengo. He then abolished Kingdoms. Some say he was revenging for not having made it to Kings College Budo because the British governor didn’t know who his father was.
When Idi Amin Uganda’s greatest leader overthrew Milton Obote in a Coup unlike his former boss recognized Buganda in his way, according to Derek R Peterson a historian he returned all the personal properties of the Kabaka and he handed them to his Son and the current Kabaka. It’s even said that the prince clowned silently. Idi Amin returned the remains of Ssekabaka Mutesa who had died in England after Obote forced him into exile after the palace attack. These power moves Idi Amin made on his power board were political brokerage for his time in power.
In 1980 when Yoweri Museveni decided to head to the bush to wage a war against the regime of Milton Obote he staged his plot in Buganda for a reason. He knew how vital the region was to the power play. Before NRA started its operations there were already pro Buganda rebel groups operating against the government like Dr. Andrew Kayiira’s UFM/FEDEMU. Paul Kagame the current president of Rwanda a member of NRA than in that struggle known as the Luwero war was in charge of uniting Buganda groups into the wider struggle. Those who were there then claim the war went to a standstill until Museveni made a deal with the current Kabaka of Buganda in London. The Kabaka made his way to the battlefields and he talked to Buganda, each family in the region committed fighters both male and female to the struggle a move that changed the tide of the war. With certainty from Kiboga where I come from it’s almost impossible to find someone above 50 years who didn’t take part in the war. These areas that lost everything they gave in the war are the least fortunate in Museveni’s Uganda.
In the past Buganda has been accused by the rest of Uganda of helping Museveni stay in power. A wild accusation because the Baganda have barely gained anything from the 3 decades of Museveni. The only hope people from central have is in the diaspora. If you studied NUP’s diaspora financial backing the greatest portion of it is made up of Baganda that have sunk millions of dollars to try and have the party make gains it did it’s the first year. After the war, the Baganda were isolated in a systematic war from employment. The Baganda retreated to Businesses that again were attacked through an unfair and selective tax system. We have seen cases of people forced to give up shares of their businesses but this is not unique to Baganda, it happens to any thriving youth of any tribe operating a Business in the heart of Uganda.
The central region has operated around “better the devil we know” till Museveni hatched a plot to take away land from Baganda in a funny land commission that largely backfired. Then mixed fortunes from the gods befall them through Robert Kyagulanyi A.K.A Bobi Wine who they didn’t trust at first. They decided to answer in part the question of Professor Mahood Mamdani who asserted that why did the Baganda the majority and power brokers have the mentality of a minority. When their own decided to challenge President Yoweri Museveni they did not quiver in their support for him something that has not gone well with the Chairman of the ruling part. As Uganda moves 2026 Museveni knows he has no legitimacy without the backing of Buganda. It also explains why his victory speech happened away from the capital of Uganda. He appeared like Turkey’s Tyip Ordegan after his last attempted Coup to overthrow him. Museveni’s torn and mannerisms showed a clay and iron man.
In his victory speech, Museveni blamed Buganda for being tribalistic in the manner they voted. Buganda is the most progressive and open-minded society in Uganda. It’s only in Buganda that someone from another region is allowed to buy land and settle in a community. This is a plain fact. In Buganda Intermarriages are normal yet even the president’s son has a different view on the issue. Someone from another region will be voted to office in the Central region something that is unheard of in other regions and yet the president says Buganda is tribal. Tribal after giving him free food for his forces when he was a rebel. When his more than 14 ministers were MPs in Buganda he did find the region tribal.
What Museveni called sectarian is what he has natured for the last 30 years. When the National Unity Platform (NUP) was formed it was his regime through security forces that made sure it only operates in the central region and the result was that almost all his MPs were swept off the political scene in Buganda. It’s actually just the start because the NUP is legal and it can decide to be like the Scottish National Party that advocates for the independence of Scotland. The SNP will ask for independence whenever London goes against the will of Scotland. Scotland is the home of the British Navy and Nuclear submarines. The NUP has the backing of the People a situation you can compare to the Oromo in Ethiopia. Oromia is a large region in Ethiopia but most marginalized. The question of Buganda is a bit different from that of Biafra in Nigeria because Buganda still wants to be part of Uganda and doesn’t have oil Wells yet at least publically. Unlike Biafra, Buganda has never attempted an armed rebellion against the central government.
The Western region that is a natural stronghold for NRM is also planning for a post-Museveni era with moves like ANT led by Mugisha Muntu who used to head the military and also attempted to run for the presidency in Rwanda. General Henery Tumukunde didn’t take part in the 2021 election for today but he was also laying the groundwork for the Western region’s future when the NRM becomes weak.
Eastern Uganda has the ghosts of UPC more than the North, they appeared to align to NUP but money kept them to yellow. Where the East falls as for the future is still foggy. Easterners politically have no United front. They like other regions have been used as faces of government but in an actual sense have no power. The East of the country controls Uganda’s borders with Kenya the biggest trading partner. It’s also through the East that Museveni used to smuggle his arms during his personal liberation war. The region is more inclined to strong men and women than political parties.
Northern Uganda is the most uncertain politically in the whole equation. Once a stronghold of the FDC a mass National party that opposed the NRM for 15 years, the region appears to be submissive to Museveni hard to believe. The Northern region put up a formidable armed Resistance to the Museveni regime for more than 20 years through the LRA. Joseph Kony operated in the North because he had the support of the people. Before him, there was Alice Lakwena. Today there is a party led by Odongo Otto Uganda Economic Party (UEP) that is scheming to take the North secretly in the future as the leading party.
Buganda didn’t vote on tribal lines, how comes the west didn’t vote for Kyagulanyi. The north appears to have voted for Museveni but it was just a rigging ground. You can’t explain why a district voted for opposition MPs but decided to vote for the president. It’s all NRM’s deception that is not holding water.
West Nile a place that gave Robert Kyagulanyi international limelight after by-election is honestly pro NRM historically. I have been to the region at a time when a local insurgence tried to raise up a sign that they too a have political future plans. It turns out the region that produces the highest number of foot soldiers for armed forces is not openly happy with the administration in Kampala. Their loyalty is being taken for granted. They are choosing to oppose within the NRM a move that symbolizes a weakness to the party. They may not hold after Museveni is no more in one mass party.
What is happening today is that as Ugandan’s we are trying to be oblivious of the politics and the government prefers it that way. In reality, we are divided, and let’s for a minute believe Museveni got his 6 million votes and Robert Kyagulanyi 3 million, figures that represent a division.
Museveni is going to be the last president of Uganda. Even before he dies he may explore the possibility of being prime minister a play that may allow him to try to defuse the tensions he has brought about in his miscalculation. Obote used to call Museveni Rwandan, today everyone openly calls him Rwandan meaning that he has failed to unite the country and he too is a victim of his tribalism. The Prime Minister model will require a defragmented party system to form coalitions to form a government. It could be what the country needs but it would be strongly against the reasons Museveni went to war.
When President Yoweri Museveni started to use terms like “I will crush” his opponents, Uganda descended into a cold Civil war that has kept on taking different shapes. Lately, it’s between him and the Central region on one front and the other front he is facing religious leaders. The cold Civil war at some times fills hot for example in November when his forces went onto a hunting expedition in Buganda when scores of innocent civilians were taken like animals. In some regions of Uganda, you can’t go on an evening walk alone because people are simply disappearing. The unemployment issue is international but in Uganda, it takes on ethnic lines extending the cold Civil war to social-economic grounds.
Whoever wins the Cold civil war the result will be the same, Uganda will be clearly divided and regional political parties will be the order of the day.
In his victory speech, President Museveni talked about a regional country that tried to influence the election process, this is the same man talking about the East African community. He talks about African unity and he is not open about the free African trading area. He is either working on double standards or just being old.
How Museveni’s next cabinet will look will determine if he can still learn or he is ready to reinforce his refined monarchy Democratic system. A system that holds a referendum on his administration every 5 years. How the reality now does not mean it’s the end, Uganda’s future may be written at the moment but again it can be changed to suit humanity.
The United Nations thinks Uganda held its best election ever, this same United Nations has looked on as Rwanda went into genocide and Congo burn again and again. The most racist organization on the planet by makeup can not fairly observe what is happening in Uganda.
If you have a different view I would really like to hear from