Thursday, May 6, 2010

Buganda should observe 3 days of prayers from 10 to 12 September every year to thank God for having saved the Kingdom

Katikiiro of Buganda after being blocked on trying to get to Kayunga

The September 2009 riots should not pass like that, they represent
a serious development in the history of Buganda and that of Uganda; when the central government decided to block the going to Kayunga by the Kabaka of Buganda, yet when Kayunga is under Buganda; hence the jurisdiction of the Kabaka of Buganda. The development was very annoying to not only Baganda hence the eruption of the riots.
William Kituuka

Buganda wants Museveni to apologise over September riots
*Kampala* The Mengo establishment has asked President Museveni to apologise for last September riots. The Kingdom’s Deputy Information Minister, Mr Medard Sseggona, said the clashes were a result of the government’s failure to inform the minority ethnic Banyala in Kayunga District that the area was part of Buganda. He said the government joined the Banyala leader, Capt. Baker Kimeze to cause ‘unnecessary tension’.
Last September, the government blocked Kabaka Ronald Mutebi from visiting Kayunga to preside over the kingdom youth day celebrations which consequently sparked off riots in the kingdom. At least 27 people died and scores of others were injured. “It doesn’t demean the President when he says sorry for the riots that claimed lives because the issue of Kayunga was the root cause of the whole problem,” Mr Sseggona told Daily Monitor on Monday.
He, however, applauded the President for confirming what he described as the gospel truth about the kingdom’s territorial boundaries.
“It is stipulated in the Constitution that Kayunga is part of Buganda and we thank the President for confirming what we have always said,” he added.
But the Presidential Press Secretary, Mr Joseph Tamale Mirundi, said demanding a presidential apology was uncalled for since it was Mengo’s ‘arrogance’ that caused the mayhem.
“The contentious issue was not whether Kayunga was part of Buganda or not. But it was that there were people who needed to be consulted before the Kabaka could visit the area,” he said, adding: “Because of their arrogance they disregarded this and eventually caused chaos.”

Are Buganda's Riots the Symptom or Cause of Problems?
Godber Tumushabe
21 October 2009
Kampala — In its editorial, the New Vision of September 22 agreed with President Museveni's analysis that corruption and youth unemployment were the root causes of the riots.
On the same page Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi implored Ugandan leaders to pursue unity and justice. On the next page a one Emmanuel Ninsiima wrote that "the youth employment policy is spot on and for that reason the root cause of rioting has been diminished or eliminated."
While I was tickled by the article of the archbishop, New Vision editorial of the following day (September 23) imploring the church to stay out of politics sounded crap. I had thought that the crap about leaving politics for politicians was over and institutions such as the church, cultural institutions or NGOs should simply try to be non-partisan.
Those who hold out to teach us about what is political and non-political are being disingenuous. For sure, is it political that for seven years our government has failed to make a national land policy and hence has to adopt a fire fighting approach on land issues - whether they are to do with Buganda, Northern Uganda or Bunyoro? Is it also political that salaried Ugandan workers are taxed to death but neither Kampala City Council nor the government can fix the crumbling road infrastructure in Kampala?
In the world of policy analysis where I have devoted my career for the last one and half decades, we have a common saying which goes: "the beginning of failure of policy is failure to identify the right policy problem." For example, in the case of Uganda, are youth unemployment and corruption the root causes of the riots as the New Vision and the President would like us to believe? Does having a youth employment policy the magic solution to youth unemployment as Ninsiima opines? Orombi comes close to identifying the root cause of our current predicament by asking the right questions. Were the events of September 10-12 about Buganda Kingdom? Or were they about disrespect for the President? Unfortunately he, too, quickly delves into tertiary issues: disunity, anger, grievances, tolerance, etc.
Undeniably, Uganda has registered record progress over the last 23 years President Museveni has been at the helm of power. While many explanations can be advanced to explain these achievements, I can volunteer two of such explanations because they are the ones we require urgently to dig ourselves out of the abyss. First is leadership. During the first 10 years of the Museveni presidency, he and his colleagues provided the kind of leadership that the country yearns for today. These were Museveni's peers. Many of these peers have since either abandoned ship or have gone into hibernation. Today, Museveni works with politicians who are looking for survival or hoping that a sunny day is soon coming and hence they don't have to wreck the boat by providing advice that may not be consistent with what the President wants to hear. Second is freedom. In spite of curtailing political freedoms especially the operations of political parties, the NRM government established an environment of freedom that unleashed the ingenuity of individuals and young people to engage in business. That is why Ninsiima is wrong on the prescription for youth unemployment. We don't need a youth employment policy. What is needed is an atmosphere of freedom to unleash the ingenuity of our people to start new businesses, create jobs and youth unemployment will give way to productivity.
It is difficult to describe the character of contemporary Ugandan politics or economy. In 1986, Uganda under NRM started off as a socialist model and evolved into a capitalist model along the trajectory of "market fundamentalism" or the idea that the market will fix everything. But widespread corruption is inconsistent with a functioning market economy. Politically, the NRM started off as an organised and disciplined movement, managed one of the most organised constitutional discourses of the century, was pushed into experimenting with multiparty democracy and then produced a still birth. Economically, Uganda is not a socialist nor a capitalist economy or their hybrid which I would call quasi-state capitalism that you would find in China. It is just something else and hence the reason we can't explain why there is growing youth unemployment, policy or no policy. Politically, Uganda is neither a dictatorship nor a democracy, or their hybrid that I would call semi-democratic authoritarianism, it is just a presidential authoritarianism, the reason those street protests will either continue or can only be pushed underground to eventually evolve into a full scale insurgency.
In a way, we have become a country that celebrates history without pointing to meaningful and tangible achievements. Every 9th of October, we celebrate independence but our degree of political, economic or even cultural independence can easily be contested. Every 26th of January, we celebrate the success of the "revolution" but we have almost thrown the Ten Point Programme in the dustbin or at best mutilated it to some 15 points that do not make much sense. Every 6th of February, we dedicate our memory to the gallant men and women of the UPDF who paid the ultimate price to liberate Uganda from dictatorship but the same UPDF is being unleashed on unarmed citizens protesting the emergence of a presidential authoritarianism.
The People's Republic of China is only 13 years older than Uganda having been founded only 60 years ago. When they celebrated their 60th anniversary on October 1 (only 8 days before Uganda celebrated its 47th anniversary), China celebrated a number of achievements: It is the world's most populous nation, world's third largest economy and trading nation, has become a global innovator in science and technology and is building a world class university system.
For Uganda, we have lost our position as a leading coffee producer, our education and public health systems are in shambles, and our 15-year-old constitution is in tatters. I have heard our President making declarations on how youth unemployment will be solved through industrialisation. But saying the same things after 20 years always makes me feel like I am listening to a descendant of the Boboun monarchy. Celebrating survival and celebrating achievements are two different things. All the problems we are talking about are caused by two things: regime longevity and regime survival. Regime longevity and regime survival undermine political and bureaucratic discipline, then breed impunity and complacency. This perpetuates poor service delivery which in turn breeds grievances that eventually erupt into uprisings or riots as we saw recently.
The writer is a lawyer and policy analyst

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