By Stephen Lwetutte
LONDON-UNITED KINGDOM/NEWSDAY: Buganda’s eternal civility and welcoming spirit, that welcomed even an unknown quantity commoner (Omukopi) like you at your point of need – lonely, rejected and dejected – is and has been its strength both metaphorically and literally, Mr President.
Kindly desist from abusing it under the influence of that dangerously deceptive feeling of invincibility that has slowly but steadily crept into your psyche over time. Instead of courting controversy and trouble, you should be seeking a honourable and dignified imminent exit and trying to leave behind a legacy worth remembering. You should thus pick your battles wisely.
That none other than His Majesty Kabaka Muwenda Mutebi himself last Saturday 31 July 2021 during the celebrations at Nkoni Palace in Buddu of his 28th Anniversary on the Throne alluded to this issue in his remarks is telling. You seem to have now made it your pastime to pick public fights with Baganda, probably after sensing rejection, its implications and the inevitable consequences. The last straw that broke the horse’s back must have been the recent Buganda block vote against you.
You now feel, ill-advisedly so, that you must revenge and that, before you leave, you hit Buganda’s nerve to legalise and regularise massive land grabbing in Buganda. In so doing, you must hope that you will succeed in undermining and weakening the Kingdom of Buganda. As a good history scholar, you couldn’t have forgotten Buganda’s history, significance and role in Uganda, the Region and the world that quickly as to develop delusion and illusions against her.
It almost beggars belief that you are the same Yoweri Museveni who, 40 years ago, was running around desperately seeking the audience of His Majesty (then Crown Prince) Ronald Muwenda Mutebi to enlist his assistance for your rebellion and even volunteering to right all the wrongs of previous dictators. Yet you are indeed the one but, to quote you yourself during NTV’s On The Spot programme hosted by Patrick Kamara in May 2012, “after the age of 75,,,the vigour is not as much as before,,,it is good to have [leaders]below the age of 75.”
You know very well that, even in Ankole where you claim to have your roots, you could not dare start a rebellion, not only because you lacked the support base, but because there was a deficit of resolve, determination and bravery to withstand Obote’s forces known for their scotched-earth policy approach towards support for the rebels. In the end, your only and last option was Buganda – but the question is now acutely posed, including by His Majesty the Kabaka, as to why Buganda’s welcoming, accommodative and tolerant nature is being used and abused as to be misconstrued as a weakness?
In your numerous musings, you have stated that you disagreed with Obote’s methods of attack and abolishing of the monarchy, but not the principle. Your strategy has been to undermine it from within, using subtle methods with the hope that it will implode. You have sown discord within the ranks of the royal family, orchestrated secession and deployed known anti Buganda Baganda personalities to undertake sensitive policies affecting Buganda – from Besweri Mulondo on the issue of Federo during the Constitutional Assembly deliberations, to Bidandi-Ssali on the implementation of the policy of sharing power to Judith Nabakooba/Dr Sam Mayanja on the issue of the abolition of Mailo land. Yet we all know, it is you, Mr Museveni instigating these matters behind the scenes- we are not stupid.
However, despite close to 40 years of directly trying your antics, there is general consensus that you have failed in your anti Buganda schemes. There is, therefore, no reason to believe that this latest one regarding the abolition of Mailo land will succeed – you do not only now lack the [political] vigour as you concede, you have also long outstayed your welcome, and any continued stirring up friction for your selfish purposes will only serve to upset inter tribal relations, and offend inflame their sensibilities.
This country is failing on every count and seems to be limping from crisis to crisis – from economic to political, to human rights and to COVID-19 crises. Nothing seems to work, and anarchy and impunity by those in charge of running the public affairs and who should be held accountable is now state policy and practice going by the recent very loud cases.
Instead of addressing, redressing and buttressing developmental policies after decades of misrule and mismanagement, you are antagonising the country to divert attention from these crises. I put it to you, Mr President, that you are now a liability and the hurdle standing between the people of Uganda and their progress.
The writer is a Multilingual Human Rights Practitioner, formerly at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International in London for over 20 years and now Legal and Human Rights Consultant
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