Daniel Kalinaki's weblog

A commentary on news and events in Uganda and elsewhere


Just an ordinary bloke.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How do you solve a problem like Somalia?*

SECOND FLOOR - After al Qaeda struck America on September 11, 2001, the US government declared war on Iraq and Afghanistan. The Bush Administration argued that it was in America’s interest to fight terrorists on foreign soil than on US territory.

In our case, we deployed troops to Somalia to try and hold the pieces of that country together. On July 11, the al Shabaab terrorist brought the war to our territory with the twin attacks in Lugogo and Kabalagala that have so far claimed 76 lives.

Such dramatic events have the potential to force rash or irrational decisions – in our case of whether to bring our troops home, as many people are now urging, or defiantly keep them there as the government appears inclined to do.

What we must do is rationally debate the Somalia question. It is a debate we should have had – but did not have – before sending our troops into Somalia. Now it is a debate that we must have, seeing how ordinary civilians in Kampala can become victims of a conflict thousands of miles away.

Somalia is not a new conflict; the country ‘failed’ in 1991 and has since then been a collection of tribes and clans struggling to control the territory and the people. The Americans tried to sort it out in 1993 but beat a hasty retreat when 18 US soldiers were killed by armed militia and dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. The Somalis were then left to their own devices (usually guns and mortars) until they started harbouring suspected al Qaeda terrorists fleeing the fighting in Afghanistan, and hijacking ships off the Indian Ocean coastline.

Clearly, therefore, Somalia is a global problem and an African problem but is it a Ugandan problem? Yes. A failed state in the neighbourhood is bad for everyone – especially a state that is willing to harbour terrorists who have had a record of spreading terror in the region.

But if a failed Somalia is a danger to global commerce (through piracy) and world peace (through terrorism), why has it been left to Uganda and Burundi (itself a state not too far from the precipice of failure) to try and save the world?

The Ethiopians went in before us, beat back the militias and helped install a transitional government. They then left us and Burundi to keep the peace – but there is no peace to keep in Somalia and our troops have, in some cases in the past, been sitting targets, unable to pre-emptively strike at al Shabaab even when they are aware of plots by the militia to cause mayhem.

Even worse, they are labelled as invaders or foreign occupying forces helping prop up a regime whose popularity is suspect. If it looks like Iraq and smells like Afghanistan then it just might be Somalia.

We must change the rules of engagement. First, we need more countries to commit troops to Somalia. It is a shame to the African continent for only two countries out of 53 to commit troops.

Secondly, we must change the mandate of those troops; there is no peace to keep in Somalia so they must go in to try and achieve what the US army failed to do; disarm the militias and create meaningful peace.

Thirdly and most importantly, however, the solution to Somalia will have to be political, not military. The people of Somalia have to decide how they want to be governed and by whom.

We must use the 7/11 attacks to galvanise Africa to sort out the Somalia problem once and for all – the African Union Summit in Kampala next week could not have come at a more opportune moment – otherwise those killed in the Kampala blasts would have died in vain.

*Article first published in Daily Monitor column, In My View, on July 15, 2010.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why Museveni carried a gun and not a spade

SECOND FLOOR - The picture of President Museveni visiting the landslide-stricken areas of Bududa last week while dressed in army fatigues and carrying an AK-47 rifle has dominated debate.

Several commentators wondered why the President carried a rifle to a scene of mourning and not a symbolic bible or a functional spade.

The real reason is probably pragmatic; that the Presidential Guard Brigade didn’t have the time to deploy fully in the area before the visit and that the President chose not to leave anything to chance and carried his rifle on him.

Nevertheless, the symbolism of the President’s rifle packs a potent political message.

In the heady days to the run up to independence across Africa, many political movements presented themselves as progressive and development-oriented, and ready to transform political power into economic self-sufficiency.

Their campaign symbols were more likely to be hoes, ploughs or guns that had been converted into farm implements. Others, to show their strength and willingness to take on the colonial masters, had clenched fists and the like.

Throughout the 60s and 70s, when coups and armed struggles raged across Africa, election campaign slogans and symbols gave way to the real thing as battle tanks jumped from party badges to city streets.

The end of the Cold War allowed us to return to western-style democracy with regular elections and campaigns but the populations remained largely illiterate and symbols ever more important to appeal to voters.

Since we were a one-party state under the Movement in Uganda, symbols had to be adapted to individuals to symbolise what they stood for. The right symbol said more to voters than a dozen campaign rallies.

Thus, when President Museveni chose to carry the grinding stone in 1996 – the year he officially became a civilian – he came off as the candidate to carry the country forward with all its problems.

Five years later, in 2001, the environment had changed and Museveni was facing a stiff challenge from Kizza Besigye, who had just quit the army and the government.

President Museveni needed to appear strong but to also represent stability and continuity so the cotter pin became the de-facto symbol of his campaign. It was a disarmingly simple message; most rural voters are familiar with bicycles and appreciate that small as it is, the cotter pin holds the whole thing together and is not easily removable – even by a hammer, which became Besigye’s symbol.

President Museveni’s 2006 symbol – dry banana leaves – came about almost by accident, as it shared a name with another term in office, which the President got thanks to a controversial process of amending the Constitution.

Although political parties are now allowed to campaign with their symbols, smart candidates acquire personal symbols that help them stand out from the crowded field.

President Museveni has the NRM bus and his distinctive bowler hat, which make him instantly recognisable wherever he goes in the country but the gun is the supreme symbol for it is recognised – and feared – by all.

The President could have turned up in gumboots and a shovel but so can Besigye, or Mao, or even Abed Bwanika.

None of the other presidential candidates can turn up with a gun without being arrested, not even former Army Commander Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu.

Rural voters are drawn to power and military might, not agricultural innovations. That’s why the heavily armed Presidential motorcade draws crowds while the latest tractor model doesn’t. President Museveni knows this – which is why he turned up with a gun, not a spade.

* This article was first published in my Daily Monitor column..

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Of Good Grades and Bootstrap Pulling Mayors

THE LITTLE FOREST BY THE CITY - This morning, on my Hard Talk show on 933 KFM radio show, I had Kampala Mayor Nasser Ntege Ssebagala aka Seya talking about his life, business and politics. I was impressed. Not by his intellect -- he has never been accused of that -- or by the way he has run the city (down, in case you haven't noticed) but by his tenacity and determination. This is a guy who made a fortune in his early 20s, blew it, went into politics and reinvented himself.

His English is getting better (yes, it was worse than that!) but he clearly knows what he wants and is willing to work for it. Thinking of Seya and his illiterate but smart rise to the top, I was reminded that we -- and I mean Monitor Publications -- have been running what I think is an interesting series that tracks down top students in national exams to see where they are, supplemented by an analysis of the education sector and whether it is producing grades or good people.

We -- yes, still talking about said MPL -- have also just launched a scholarship scheme to sponsor the top 24 PLE students across the country. I went in to speak to the students on Thursday about careers, etc.

These are the 'brightest' kids in the country. None of them had read a newspaper in the previous seven days. None of them had read a book -- any kind of book -- in the last month! None of them knew the meaning of the word 'fugitive'.

Ssebagala, on the other hand, quoted Sir Winston Churchill, referred to Mahatma Gandhi, and drew parallels with Jacob Zuma and his rise to power. Could it be that the more you read the less you know? I am quite frightened, to be honest! I must complete THAT book, THE BLACK SWAN!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bash the Baganda and gag the gays; Bahati's Bill was always a diversion

THIRD FLOOR - President Museveni today apparently told senior officials of his ruling National Resistance Movement party that the Bahati Bill, which proposes stiff penalties, including death, to homosexuals in Uganda, did not have the backing of the government and would probably be shelved.

This was the first time President Museveni was speaking out publicly about the Bahati Bill although Daily Monitor had earlier quoted a US media outfit saying Mr Museveni had given assurances to the US govt that the Bill would not be passed. So President Museveni, as usually happens, is set to come off as the voice of reason and moderation. He will have a chat with Bahati, the Bill will be sent back for further consultation and probably die a natural death. It will certainly not return before the elections due in 2011.

The reality, however, is that the Bahati Bill was a well calculated diversion by the government, designed to take attention away from the Buganda Question, which was festering in the immediate aftermath of the Sept 2009 riots in Kampala, as well as the Land Bill which was forced through soon after, with Buganda, its mouthpiece CBS radio shut down, unable to mobilise against the Land Bill.

The pro-gay rights lobby will probably celebrate this backing off as victory for reason and liberalism. Some might even congratulate Mr Museveni for being humane and progressive. But it is all one big sham -- and one that has been repeated several times over. This was never about men and women who turn out in masks to demand for their rights to an alternative sexual orientation; it was always about trying to pull a mask over our heads while Buganda was bashed in.

Can we now get back to the CHOGM inquiry? We should find out who really took the car money -- and who dished out money for hotels to be built hours to the arrival of the first guest...


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Buturo makes a mountain out of a mole of morals

SECOND FLOOR - Ethics and Integrity minister Dr James Nsaba Buturo has just issued a statement in response to two stories in today's Daily Monitor. The first is about Sweden threatening to cut aid if the anti-gay bill is passed. The second is about the EU accusing the government of paying lip service to the fight against corruption.

In his statement, (be patient, it is pasted below) Dr Buturo warns donors against poking their long noses in what is none-of-their-business. In defending the government in its 'fight' against corruption, Dr Buturo says: "It is a failure of one's understanding of the complexities of corruption to advocate that Government, for example, addresses matters to do with morality."

Soon after, he lashes out at the Swedes by emphasising the government's support of a bill that seeks, according to its backers, to end the immorality of homosexuality. Contradiction? You decide.

Oh, and one final idle point: Length of Dr Buturo's submission on the anti-homosexuality bill: 382 words. Length of his take on what many consider to be the biggest problem in the country today, corruption; 265 words.



This statement is in connection with two issues, namely, a statement said to have been made by the European Union Ambassador to Uganda on the subject of corruption and comments made that Sweden will cut aid to Uganda over the anti homosexuality Bill.

Government welcomes views that well wishers of Uganda make concerning her governance. It should be noted from the outset that when such views are from Diplomats who are accredited to Uganda, the standard diplomatic practice the world over is for such views to be communicated to Government through well known diplomatic channels. It is never, ever, standard practice in the civilized world for a Diplomat to address the Press of the country in which he or she is serving on how the host country is handling affairs of its land.

That said, Government takes interest in views that have been, allegedly, publicly aired in the Daily Monitor Newspaper of Thursday, 3rd December 2009.

It should also be clear to whoever cares to listen that nobody, including Uganda's friends, cares more about the people of Uganda than Uganda Government itself. Any pretence otherwise is simply false. His Excellency President Museveni and his Government have a passion for our citizens to a degree no one else has. We are mindful that every five years, our mandate to govern has to be renewed by the people of Uganda themselves.

It is being alleged that Government is offering lip-service as far as corruption is concerned. Such a comment can only be made by individuals who either know the truth but choose not to say it or are unaware of what is going on. The easier part always has been to blame Government for this disaster we now call corruption. It is correct to say that Government should do more than it has done so far in the fight against corruption. Government needs not to be told this by anybody about the need to actually raise the tempo of our response against the corrupt. Government has started doing that!

Lack of understanding of complexities of corruption often leads some people or critics to expect Government alone to fight corruption. It is clear to Government and whoever cares to understand the complexities of corruption, that it will take more than Government alone to defeat the corrupt. These people that are corrupt usually enjoy the support of foreign companies. The corrupt are found in government, the media, civil society organizations and citizens, to say the least.

If one is genuine about seeing the end to corruption, one should be advocating for collective will from all these actors to end corruption. It is a failure of one's understanding of the complexities of corruption to advocate that Government, for example, addresses matters to do with morality. Therefore, one of Government's new approaches in the coming year is to appeal to all the actors mentioned above to do more that what they have done so far and that includes Government.

There is a Bill in Parliament known as the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This subject is causing a great deal of interest around the world. The people of Uganda believe that practicing anal sex at the expense of heterosexual sex is not a normal practice. Ugandans know or believe that homosexuality involves practices that are dangerous and high risk to the human body which is designed for heterosexual functions. Ugandans also believe that anal sexual intercourse, foreign objects used in sexual intercourse and promiscuity do not deserve to be defended at all.

Having said that, it is clear to many of us that the over reaction so far is not surprising to us. Uganda accepts that in some countries it is normal practice for men to sleep with men and women with women. It is often defended that imperatives of human rights defend this practice. We do not believe so in Uganda. Majority of Ugandans hate to see the promotion of illegalities that they consider as dysfunctional, abnormal and unhealthy.

Ever since the Bill on Homosexuality was presented in Parliament, there have been various reactions as well as over-reactions from countries which are annoyed at our independence to enact our Laws. Consequently, we hear they are threatening to take action against Uganda. It is revealing that support to Uganda literally translated means that it is on condition that Uganda should do the bidding of givers of such support regardless of what Ugandans themselves think.

It is also revealing that support which would benefit countless number of orphans, children and mothers can be withdrawn simply because Government is protecting its citizens against vices such as homosexuality. Government has been clear about this matter that homosexuality or homosexual practices will not be promoted, encouraged and recommended to the people of Uganda.

Finally, on the issue of the Bill, those who are promising threats to the people of Uganda need to be helped to understand that the Bill is going through the normal democratic process of debate. The Bill is not the final document that will become Law. If there is belief that threats will influence Parliament to debate against the wishes of Uganda, those responsible for such threats should forget. We should all wait to see how Membens of Parliament will acquit themselves over this matter.
Dr Nsaba Buturo (MP)


Monday, September 14, 2009

Here is the letter closing CBS radio

11th September 2009
The General Manager
Central Broadcasting Service (CBS)
Bulange, Mengo


We refer to the Electronic Media Act, and more specifically to section 7 read together with section 8 thereof, which requires that the right to broadcast be exercised in accordance with the minimum broadcasting standards which are contained in the First schedule to the Act.

We also refer to the terms and conditions for operating a broadcasting license duly executed by Central Broadcasting Service (CBS) as a prerequisite for the renewal of the license for the period 2009/2010.

As you may be aware, non compliance by Central Broadcasting Service (CBS) with the minimum broadcasting standards and other general provisions of the law has been the subject of continued dialogue between the Broadcasting Council and the management of (CBS) from September 2007 to date.

The Public Spectrum Rationale

Note that the electromagnetic spectrum has been deemed, since the beginning of broadcast regulation, to be a publicly owned natural resource. This "scarce public resource" rationale forms the foundation on which broadcast regulation is based. In the case of Uganda, the Government allocates frequencies to broadcasters

including Central Broadcasting Services to be utilised within the framework of the Electronic Media Act and other relevant laws. It must be emphasised at this point that the electromagnetic spectrum remains the property of the Government of Uganda and has simply been allocated to a broadcaster to be utilised as per agreed terms and conditions.

The Minimum Broadcasting Standards and the Terms and Conditions
The minimum broadcasting standards requires that:
(a) any programme which is broadcast:
(i) is not contrary to public morality;
(ii)does not promote the culture of violence or ethnical prejudice among the public, especially the children and the youth;
(iii) in the case of a news broadcast is free from distortion of facts;
(iv) is not likely to create public insecurity or violence;
(v) is in compliance with the existing law;

(b) Programmes that are broadcast are balanced to ensure harmony in such programmes;

(c) Adult -oriented programmes are appropriately scheduled

(d) Where a programme that is broadcast is in respect to a contender for a public office, then each contender is given equal opportunity on such a programme

You will recall that the Broadcasting Council and the management of CBS have held a series of meetings to address pertinent issues that arose in 2007 and 2008 and on the whole CBS had agreed to operate within the ambit of the Electronic Media Act and more specifically, had undertaken to comply with the Minimum broadcasting standards.

In providing proof of compliance with provisions 4, 10 and 11 of the Licensing Terms and Conditions in the previous year prior to the renewal, CBS stated that it had broadcast programs that promote public interest, local content and diversity in program content, programs that deal with educational services and safeguard, enrich and strengthen the cultural, social and economic fabric of Uganda and programs that ensure pluralism in the provision of news, views and information.

Furthermore the terms and conditions have embedded under provision 11, the minimum broadcasting standards which CBS undertook to comply with. The Licensee (CBS) undertakes under provision 13 that the Council may cancel the license by notice in writing for breach of any of the provisions contained in the Licensing Terms and Conditions.

The Broadcasting Council duly issued to CBS broadcasting licenses in respect of its stations for the year 2009/2010. We would like to emphasise that it was understood that the issues that had been raised in 2007/2008 would be adequately addressed by CBS in order to warrant the renewal of the broadcasting license.

Major Issues arising in 2007/2008
The issues that arose during the period in question, that is 2007/2008 included:
• Compliance with the minimum broadcasting standards generally
• Compliance with sections 4 and 5 of the Electronic Media Act in respect of the registration of producers and presenters with the Media Council
• Adequacy of Technical facilities which included installation of a pre-listening devise and inadequacy of the facilities that are used for the Mambo Bado Programme (which is a live broadcast made in a hall and not in a studio)

Meetings of 24th August 2007 and 7th September 2007
For your ease of reference we refer to the meetings of 24th August 2007 and 7th September 2007 which arose out of complaints made to the Broadcasting Council by the Police in respect of programmes by several radio stations including Central Broadcasting Services (CBS).

The two meetings agreed to a way forward and the broadcasters including CBS undertook:
• To comply with the minimum broadcasting standards;
• To guide personalities who are invited to discuss on talk shows by giving them guidelines;
• Instruct and take charge of their presenters / producers;
• Ensure that producers / presenters strictly adhere to the script during discussions;
• Scrutinise topics in respect of their sensitivity in relation to the public;
• Invite two persons with divergent views to discuss each topic in order to ensure balance;
• To make guests sign disclaimers before she / he goes on air taking responsibility for their actions;
• Not to invite the same persons to appear on the same programme repeatedly;
• To inform the Broadcasting Council within two weeks of the meeting of August 24, 2008, of action that had been taken against the producers / presenters mentioned in the meeting.

Meeting of January 30, 2008
Thereafter the Council received further complaints in respect of the Mambo Bado Program of 28th December 2007 which led to the meeting of 30th January 2008. At that meeting the Broadcasting Council raised the same issues in respect of the Mambo Bado Program of 28th December 2007.

The meeting of 30th January 2008 agreed to maintain the way forward agreed to in the meetings of Friday August 24, 2007 and Friday September 7, 2007 which therefore formed part of the position of 4th February 2008 arising out of that meeting.

Meeting with the Minister of ICT Held on 17th October 2008
Thereafter the Broadcasting Council received a complaint in respect of the Mambo Bado Programme of Saturday 11th October 2008. In an attempt to resolve the matter more conclusively, the then Hon. Minister of Information and Communications Technology chaired the meeting between the Broadcasting Council and CBS on the 17th October 2009 and all the instances of our dialogue were reviewed as a true sequence of events.

The most pertinent outcome of that meeting was that it was agreed that guidance will, at the beginning of the Mambo Bado Program be made by the presenter on the subject matter and on the rules of engagement during the discussion of the topic of the day so as to ensure compliance to the minimum broadcasting standards.

Suffice it to note at this point that the Broadcasting Council noted and duly communicated failure by CBS to comply to this position during the Mambo Bado Program of 18n October 2008, which was the following day after the meeting with the Minister.
This situation confirmed then, as it does presently, what the Broadcasting Council had submitted during the meeting with the Minister that the inability of producers or presenters to effectively manage the programs in question (Mambo Bado, Crossfire, Twejjukanye and Kkriza oba Gana) is one of the factors in the failure by CBS to comply with the minimum broadcasting standards as specified in the Electronic Media Act.

Non- Licensing of CBS in 2008
Due to the continued breach by CBS, the Council convened a meeting with the management of CBS on the 20th November 2008. During that meeting the Secretary of the Council gave the genesis of non-licensing of CBS 89.2, explaining that the programmes Kiriza oba Gaana, Mambo Bado, Cross Fire and Twejukanye aired on CBS 89.2 occasioned breach of the Minimum Broadcasting standards.

In addition the producers and presenters of these programmes were not qualified and therefore failed to manage the programmes. The Secretary pointed out that several meetings were held with the Management of CBS concerning those programmes whenever CBS 89.2 was operating outside the law and this had resulted in CBS not being licensed for the past six months.

During that meeting CBS undertook to:
• Pre-record some programmes.
• Suspend errant presenters/moderators
• Cooperate with the Broadcasting Council
• Regulate controversial political programmes.
• Restrain abusive/outspoken guests
• Minimise programmes that bring confrontation with Central Government
• Invite the Broadcasting Council to CBS to give guidelines to the discussants as to how programmes should be presented and explain the functions of the Council.
• Balance topics and ensure that discussants are from divergent groups.
• Invite Government officials to CBS to explain certain topics.
• Contact the Media Council once again for registration of its journalists, many of whom had qualifications.

The Council therefore agreed to issue to CBS a provisional broadcasting licence for six months and would closely monitor CBS programmes to ensure that minimum broadcasting standards are complied with. On completion of the period of 6 months, the Committee would review the performance of CBS to give appropriate remedies based on their observations.

In its letter of January 21,2009 the Council communicated its position on the licensing of CBS. Due to the progress made by CBS in complying with the minimum broadcasting standards, the Council amended its earlier resolution and agreed to issue to CBS a broadcasting license for one year.

Meeting of 3rd August 2009
The main agenda was stated as deviation by CBS once again from agreed positions which were arrived at during the meeting of 26th November 2008 and other prior meetings. This it was pointed out, arose out of a number of complaints received by the Broadcasting Council from different sectors of the public and institutions in respect of the Twejjukanye Programme which was broadcast on Sunday 19n July 2009 and the Mambo Bado Programme which was broadcast on 25th July 2009. Excerpts of these broadcasts were read out to CBS.

The Committee further informed CBS that it has taken the opportunity to listen to the recordings in respect of the programmes in question and found that they raise the same issues that have been the subject of continued dialogue between CBS and the Broadcasting Council. The issues revolve around the non compliance by CBS with the minimum broadcasting standards, which was responsible for the delay in the renewal of CBS's license in 2008.

CBS acknowledged that it had once again reneged on its undertaking to comply with agreed positions that have been the subject of the continued dialogue. While stating its apology, CBS pleaded exceptional circumstances prevailing at the time of the broadcasts that is between the period 12th July 2009 to 2nd August 2009.
By its letter of 3rd August 2009, the Committee sought clarification from CBS as to the exceptional circumstances so as to be guided in its decision. While CBS responded in its subsequent letter the exceptional circumstances have never been explained.

Complaints arising in September 2009
While the issues raised at the meeting of 3rd August 2009 are still pending, CBS has once again reneged on its understanding. The Broadcasting Council has taken exception to the role that CBS has been playing in mobilizing and inciting the public to riot around the Kakaba's planned visit to Kayunga District. This is evidenced by the escalation of violence which resulted in lose of life and property and brought business to a stand still in some parts of the city on the 10.09.09

Non Compliance with Provisions of the Penal Code Act
Note that CBS is also required to comply with other provisions of the law. The programmes in question the contravention of sections 39 and 40 of the Penal Code Act Cap 120 which provide for seditious intention and seditious offences.

Suspension of Operations &. Withdrawal of License
We note that while CBS made an undertaking not to keep inviting the same personalities to these programmes this has not been complied with.

We further note that the consistent dialogue between the Broadcasting Council and the management of CBS does not seem to yield the desired results and the undertakings by the Management of CBS on the whole have not translated into action on your part.

The Council therefore proceeds under section 10 and section 25 of the Electronic Media Act. Section 10(a) and (h) provide broadly for the powers and functions of the Council.

Section 10 provides for the functions of the Council to include:
(a) To coordinate and exercise control over and to supervise broadcasting
(b) To carry out any other function that is incidental to any of the foregoing

Section 25 (1) provides that the Council or its duly authorised officer may confiscate any electronic apparatus which is used in contravention of this Act.
The Council further proceeds under section 6 of the Electronic Media Act. In executing its duties under section 6 which provides for issuing of broadcasting licenses, the Council formulated licensing Terms and Conditions which are duly executed by CBS. The Terms and Conditions have embedded under provision 11, the minimum broadcasting standards which CBS undertook to comply with. The Licensee (CBS) further undertakes under provision 13 that the Council may cancel the license by notice in writing for breach of any of the provisions contained in the Licensing Terms and Conditions.

The Council therefore withdraws CBS's broadcasting license in accordance with section 6 and section 10 of the Electronic Media Act and the Terms and Conditions for Operating a License.

Godfrey Mutabazi
C.C. Hon. Minister Information and Communications Technology
C.C. Hon. Minister Information & National Guidance
C.C. Attorney General, Ministry of Justice & Constitutional Affairs
C.C. Inspector General of Police

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Kabaka/Buganda calls off Kayunga trip

SECOND FLOOR - News just in! Buganda has issued a statement calling off the trip. They say they have failed to get guarantees for the Kabaka's safety. He who owns the guns calls the shots. Discuss.

Transcript of M7's speech to Buganda MPs on Kayunga visit

A Statement By

H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

President of the Republic of Uganda

During the Meeting with the Buganda Parliamentary Caucus

Entebbe State House

10th September 2009

Buganda Parliamentary Caucus

I greet you all.

I have come to address you about the sustained unconstitutional behaviour of His Highness Kabaka Mutebi, the Mengo Kingdom officials and the Kabaka’s Radio, CBS.

As you know, the kingdoms were abolished in 1966 by the UPC government. Even when Uganda got independence in 1962, I was old enough to follow the events. I was 18 years old and in senior two at Ntare. I was also a youth-winger of the Democratic Party (DP) although I did not vote in 1962 because the voting age was 21 years at that time. Therefore, the youths who say the NRM does not care about them should, first, remember that it was the NRM who lowered the voting age to 18 years to include the youths early enough. In the period preceding independence, there was debate and maneuvers among the players. The Mengo establishment formed a political party called Kabaka Yekka (KY), which used intimidation, especially against DP supporters in Buganda, to win all the seats in the Lukiiko except 3. DP took a principled stand and pointed out that it was dangerous to mix politics with traditional leadership. The Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), on the other hand, deceived Mengo that they would do whatever the Kabaka wanted even if it was not compatible with the principles of democracy. The consequence of all this was, for instance, the denial of Baganda from voting directly for their 21 Members of Parliament (MPs). While the rest of the country voted for the MPs directly, Buganda had to use the Electoral College system – the Lukiiko, which itself had been elected through disgusting intimidation, being the Electoral College. The intimidation included boycotts of businesses, cutting people’s crops, etc. It is amazing that CBS, working with the Nambozes, has revived this. It will not be allowed to continue, you can be sure of this.

Then, KY formed an alliance with UPC (omukago), this was ‘a marriage-of-convenience’, based on that dishonest formula where UPC believed they were using KY and vice-versa. The Federal and semi-federal (federo) arrangements they constructed amounted to having states within states in such a small country like Uganda. Uganda is only the size of the US state of Oregon. Moreover, the concept of a modern government was new. How could you have such a paralyzed system of government with numerous power centres manned by people that were only beginning to hear of an accountable government? You can see the problems we are having with the decentralization process we put in place. On account of the incredible corruption that had crept into the systems of Local Governments, we had to re-centralize the CAOs. You have been hearing that powers of taxation have been abused by town-clerks, Gombolola-chiefs, etc. They have been, for instance, overtaxing banana-sellers, muchomo-sellers, gonja-sellers, etc. What would happen if we had been constitutionally enfettered in such a way that we could not correct these anti-people mistakes? You remember the problems of Nigeria with their Federal Regions that caused the 1965 crisis in Nigeria.

It was the paralysis in the constitutional arrangements of the 1962 Ugandan Constitution plus UPC’s lack of straight forwardness and their double standards that, eventually, caused the 1966 crisis and all the subsequent tragic events. By 1986, about 800,000 Ugandans had died through the extra-judicial violence that followed those mistakes.

In 1966, I was a very active DP youth-winger, this time in senior six. Our group vigorously opposed Obote’s actions although we were aware of the flaws in the 1962 Constitution. The situation kept deteriorating until we took up arms against the dictatorship in 1971. When we triumphed in 1986, the subject of restoring the traditional leaders started coming up. Even in the bush, opportunists like the late Kayiira started bringing it up. In the bush, however, especially during the Kikunyu conference of 1982, the NRM openly rejected Kayiira’s position of talking about monarchies. We said that we were fighting for the freedom of Ugandans; once the Ugandans had got their freedom they would decide on what to do. That was our position. Our major points were captured in the 10-Points Programme. Therefore, those liars who say that we committed ourselves to monarchism in the bush should be disregarded. Many senior Baganda leaders, etc. – came to see me about this issue. I sought guarantees from them that the monarchies, when restored, will never meddle in politics again, as happened in the 1960s and before.

They all agreed and swore that they would never allow their monarchy to meddle in politics. That is how that principle was captured in article 246 (3 e). The same article (3 f) provides that cultural leaders will not ‘wield Legislative, Executive or Administrative powers’. Article 178 reiterates the same principles and goes into details.

While those discussions were going on and decisions were being taken, other old issues re-emerged. The Banyoro MPs, especially Hon. Kabakumba and even Muruli Mukasa, raised the issue of the Bunyoro lost counties: Buwekula (Mubende), Ssingo (Kiboga), Buruuli (Nakasongola) and even parts of Bulemezi (Ngoma, etc.). They wanted them to be returned to Bunyoro. I told them that ideologically, as a nationalist and Pan-Africanist, I did not believe in the concept of “lost counties” within Uganda. I gave the example of my family. Suppose, I said, for some reasons, one of my children grew up at Saleh’s place. It could be because I was sick or away. Are you going to say that he is “lost”? I did not think so, I told them. However, there was one proviso: he must be well treated; he must be treated like Saleh’s own children. If he is discriminated against, then the question of his real parentage comes up. We, therefore, constitutionally provided that all these areas should remain in Buganda as provided for under Article 5 of the 1995 Constitution. However, also, under 37, it is stipulated that:

“Every person has a right as applicable to belong to, enjoy, practice, profess, maintain and promote any culture, cultural institution, language, tradition, creed or religion in community with others.”

In this way we persuaded all the Banyoro MPs, including Muruli Mukasa, to vote for the whole package. It was a carefully arranged package, ensuring that everybody was a winner; a win-win formula with no losers.

Unfortunately, however, no sooner had we promulgated the Constitution of 1995, than I started hearing that Mengo was undermining the NRM. I could not believe this. Whenever I would hear such stories, I would ring His Highness Kabaka Mutebi and invite him for meetings. The trend, however, continued and it grew worse in the elections of 2001 and 2006. The Buganda Kingdom Radio spends most of their time demonizing NRM and Museveni, I hear. I never listen to such Radios. However, the wanainchi listen to them. I ignored all this.

As you all know, the NRM repaired the economy of Uganda. As the economy boomed, the price of land went up. The old colonial arrangement of mailo-land now came under strain. The old mailo-land system provided for a paralyzed system of land-holding. Since the 1928 busuulu and nvujo law, the bibanja-owners could not be evicted without the authority of the Governor and there was a ceiling on the busuulu to be paid. Apart from the Idi Amin land decree of 1975, these two have remained the main principles of the land law in Buganda. Our land Act of 1997 recaptured the same principles after the 1995 Constitution had repealed the Amin decree of 1975. On account of the rampant evictions, caused by the high demand for land, which, itself, is caused by the fast growing economy, there was outcry in the public, among the peasants. Even some of you MPs, like Hon. Sekikubo, complained about these evictions. As a consequence of this, I proposed an amendment to stop the evictions. The unprincipled, opportunistic opposition opposed that proposed amendment. On account of reasons I did not initially understand, His Highness Kabaka Mutebi also came out to publicly oppose the proposed Amendment. I think this was a violation of the Constitution.

Additionally, the Kabaka’s Radio, CBS, launched a campaign against the amendment. His Highness the Kabaka commissioned a group of people led by Nambooze to travel around Buganda and incite people, with all sorts of incredible lies, against the proposed land bill amendment and the Government. Museveni ayagala kubba ettaka lyamwe – Museveni wants to steal your land, etc. CBS promoted sectarianism, at one time talking of people with long noses (ab’enyindo mpanvu). It is not our duty to measure people’s noses – long or short. My reaction was to ring His Highness the Kabaka to invite him for a meeting to sort out all this amicably as mature people. His Highness, however, could not pick my telephones or have the courtesy of returning my calls. I told my Principal Private Secretary, Amelia Kyambadde, to keep calling him to no avail. His Highness the Kabaka could not take the calls of the President of Uganda; moreover, the President that led the struggle for democracy and the monarchies. I hear that the Baganda have two proverbs: ‘gwowonya eggere yalikusambya’ (if you help a person to treat a wound on his leg, he will use that particular leg you treated to kick you). Another one says: ‘oguggwa tegubamuka (a forgetful person will not recall that the old beer he drunk, is sweeter than the new beer he is currently drinking).’ Anyway, given my work methods, I did not give up. Whenever any controversy came up involving Mengo, I would telephone His Highness the Kabaka; he would, however, not answer my telephones as usual. When the controversy over Buruuli came up, I telephoned him; but he refused to answer my telephone. I referred the matter to the National Security Council which contacted the Katikkiro and advised him to have a dialogue with the Baruuli cultural leaders or postpone the visit. They treated our advice with contempt. The National Security Council, with my full support, this time, said enough is enough; they stopped the Kabaka from visiting certain parts of Buruuli although he was allowed to visit Migyera where there were some CBS activities.

When the issue of Bugerere came up, I have been trying to talk to His Highness the Kabaka, since May 2009. Again, he persistently refused to answer my calls; I kept trying. At one time I was told that he was abroad. That should not be a problem. There are telephones abroad. My Principal Private Secretary and I failed totally to access him. When the Bugerere issues were building up, after failing to get the Kabaka, I referred the matter to the National Security Council who wrote to the Katikkiro. Rt. Hon. Kivejinja even met the Katikkiro and advised him to talk to the Banyala cultural leaders as well as the Local Government elected leaders and Administrators. Mengo made it clear that they treat all those with contempt. Given that unacceptable arrogance, the National Security Council, with my full support, through informal channels, told Mengo, most firmly, that the function will not take place. That was the position by yesterday evening.

Meanwhile, I have been consulting some of the influential Baganda about this. I told them that we can no longer tolerate this unconstitutional behaviour of Mengo with the apparent connivance of the Kabaka. The progressive forces will definitely take decisive actions soon. During those consultations it transpired that the Lukiiko is now dominated by opposition political activists especially the ones that lost elections. Most of the balanced voices have been removed from the Lukiiko.

Anyway, last evening, about 8.00 p.m., I, again, asked Amelia to try and ring the Kabaka one more time. This time the Kabaka responded; he rung Amelia who also rung me in our gazebo where I was having dinner with some friends. She rung me at 9.15 p.m. but I told her that I was having dinner and I could not have the privacy to talk. We arranged to talk at 10.30 p.m. Indeed, we talked at 10.30 p.m. I asked him: “Your Highness, why have you been refusing to answer my telephone calls for the last 2 years?” He answered that he was not “aware” that I had been ringing. I asked him: Why does your CBS abuse and demonize us?” He answered: “I do not believe that is true.” Anyway, we went into the immediate matter of Kayunga’s function. I told him that because of the sustained unconstitutional behaviours by your Kingdom, that meeting will only be permitted to take place only under certain conditions which Hon. Kivejinja will communicate to the Katikkiro today (Thursday, 10th of September 2009). I had actually wanted to meet the Kabaka himself today (Thursday, 10th of September 2009) but he suggested a later date. I have no problem with that.

On the issue of the Land bill we had to launch our own counter-campaign of sensitization and forming the bibanja associations. These associations have empowered and emboldened the bibanja-owners. Now that the bibanja members are empowered, some of them have started taking the law into their own hands, if we take the recent examples of lynching landlords in some areas of Kayunga. I blame Mengo and also the opportunists among us who delayed the land bill and created this vacuum.

I also got information that Mengo elements got foreign funds to further their aims of fighting the NRM and undermining the Constitution. We are following these reports very closely and we shall defeat all those elements involved. I encourage my friend His Highness Kabaka Mutebi to distance himself from the Judases. The NRM fought many battles; we shall win this one also.

The conditions for the Kayunga meetings are that:

Rt. Hon. Kevejinja and Mengo’s representatives together with their Katikkiro should meet with the representatives of the Banyala cultural groups as well as the Kayunga political and administrative leaders to agree on the way forward.

CBS stops forthwith their campaign against NRM, including what they have been doing recently, inciting the public to storm the Police who are peacefully carrying out their duties.

If the above conditions are fulfilled, the meeting will take place; if they are not, it will not. Besides I am looking forward to meeting His Highness the Kabaka soon to resolve all the outstanding issues. In my talk with the Kabaka last night, he referred to the difference between political and cultural matters. That is a good point. That is what we have been telling Mengo all along. Then, in that case we should not discuss with the Katikkiro because he is not political; instead we should discuss with the hundreds of the elected leaders in Buganda: MPs, LCV-Chairmen, LCIII-Chairmen, etc. Anyway, I will discuss all this with His Highness the Kabaka, when we meet soon, now that he has answered my telephones after two years.

There is more I would like to say about this. However, let me reserve it for another time. There are a number of issues on which we had agreed with Mengo on which they made about-turn and start misinforming the public. These include the Regional tier, the status of Kampala, etc. Mengo’s Radio CBS also coordinated a boycott campaign recently. This is bad politics and practices and should stop henceforth. I rarely speak publicly about such issues. My method of work is to work confidentially with the Kings or other stakeholders. However, in the case of Buganda, Kabaka Mutebi has denied me this quiet method; hence, the escalation of essentially simple issues.

On the specific issues of Buruuli and the Banyala (Kayunga), the applicable Constitutional provisions are articles 37 and Article 246 already quoted above.

In terms of implementation, we normally insist on District Council Resolutions to find out if the community wishes to have a cultural leader; this is in conformity with Article 246. Both Nakasongola and Kayunga passed the respective Resolutions to that effect. This is the method we used every where, including Buganda. In Ankole, where District Councils did not pass the requisite Resolutions, we did not allow the cultural leaders to be installed. Can more than one cultural leader exist in one kingdom? Yes, because that is what the Constitution says. They need to work out their relationship. This is what we have been telling Mengo to do in respect of Buruuli and Kayunga. In any case, this is not new. The Kamuswaga of Kooki, even under the British, co-existed with the Kabaka. In Busoga there are 11 hereditary chiefs in addition to the Kyabazinga. The bad behaviour of Mengo is being copied by other Kingdoms. Recently, in Bunyoro, there were elements calling for terrorism against Bafuruki, etc. We had to act against them. Therefore, Mengo’s impunity must stop.

I appeal to His Highness the Kabaka to prevail on his groups and stop keeping Uganda permanently on tenterhooks (kubunkeke). We need total calmness to consolidate the gains of the people. If there is anything unresolved it should be discussed quietly, not on the Radios. Decisive action will be taken on any media house that continues the practice of incitement.

I would like to conclude by condemning the criminals, hired by Mengo, that caused damage in Kampala and the suburbs. Initially, the Police acted slowly. Now, however, the Police has been re-enforced by elements of the UPDF. All areas where the hooligans are will be covered and, stern action will be taken against them according to the Police procedures. Looters will be shot on sight as will those who attack other civilians. Those who threaten the lives of security personnel will be dealt with according to the standing procedure of the Police. Shop-owners and everybody should continue with their daily activities. The security forces will protect them. The ring leaders are being hunted for (rounded off) and some have been arrested.

I extend my condolences to the families who lost their loved ones.

I thank all of you for listening to me.