Kabaka Mutebi’s “quiet diplomacy” has brought prosperity to Buganda and Uganda
On July 31, the Kabaka of Buganda, Sabasajja Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II and all the Baganda celebrated his 21st coronation anniversary at Mawoggola County Headquarters in Western Buganda.
As in the past whenever the Kabaka appears in public, thousands and thousands of people came out to welcome him.
People built big triumphal arches on the roads where he was designated to pass. One interesting thing that people in towns might not see is that, with the exception of the main highways, in the villages in the remote areas people make diversions on the village roads so that the ordinary people do not pass through the triumphal arches until after the Kabaka has passed through it.
I remember in the olden days during the reign of Sekabaka Mutesa II, we would have football competitions between secondary schools in Buganda. Sekabaka Mutesa II used to play in the King’s College Budo team, which was his old school. Thousands and thousands of people would converge on Nakivubo to see him.
Sekabaka Mutesa also encouraged an annual football competition between the provinces in Uganda. It was extremely popular. It was intended to solidify “love” between the Uganda tribes.
This coronation anniversary has happened at a time when there is a lot of talk of confrontation between various Uganda monarchs; from Toro to Rwenzururu, and the central government of President Yoweri Museveni. The Buganda monarch has in the past borne the full brunt of such confrontations. The people are happy with the Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II. Although he is a constitutional monarch, which is a good thing in modern times, Muwenda Mutebi has shrewdly maintained “quiet diplomacy” between himself, his government in Mengo, and President Museveni and the central government. This has helped a great deal to end confrontational politics which existed in 2001, 2006, and 2011.
A now popular monthly newsmagazine called `Entanda ya Buganda’ was launched to educate the people on education, agriculture, trade and Buganda culture, community development, health and how to maintain tribal peaceful co-existence with other tribes.
Consequences of confrontation
Muwenda Mutebi II is the 36th Kabaka of Buganda and he is the one who restored the Buganda Kingdom after 27 from the time former president Milton Obote abolished the Kingdoms after the 1966 political crisis.
He understands the consequences of unwarranted confrontation since he was enthroned after Baganda underwent terrible suffering and misery and had to wage war led in Bulemezi.
The war was spearheaded by three elders (Abataka), Paul Kavuma who was Katikkiro in the 1950s, Prince Badru Kakungulu of Kibuli and Bishop Yokana Mukasa formerly of Mityana. These men worked out a secret plan with Museveni and he led the five year war in an area known as “The Luweero Triangle”. That war was won on January 26, 1986 when Museveni’s NRA, the UFM/A of Dr. Andrew Lutakome Kayira and FEDEM of George Nkwanga captured Kampala and all the surrounding areas.
But when he was still Sabataka, before he became the Kabaka, Muwenda Mutebi II participated briefly in the war in Western Buganda assisted by Alhaji Moses Kigongo who was commanding the NRA there and he is now the Vice Chairman of NRM.
The two sides the Baganda and Museveni emerged join victors after winning the war. Yoweri Museveni became President on January 29, 1986 and the Baganda restored their Kingdom on July 31, 1993 at Naggalabi, Buddo in Busiro County.
Why did the Baganda work out a secret plan with Yoweri Museveni to restore the Kingdom??
According to the “politics of the day” in 1980/1981, it was only Yoweri Museveni who had the “military muscle” to assist them fight that war. He had been the deputy chairman of the then ruling “Military Commission” which was headed by the late Paul Muwanga. The “Military Commission” was ruling Uganda after the overthrow of President Godfrey Binaisa. Museveni had also been the minister for Defense, a position that put him in control of the Kabamba Training Barracks. Above all that he was highly experienced in “guerilla warfare” after participating in the FRELIMO Liberation Movement of the later former president Samora Machel in Mozambique when the black people were fighting for Independence from the Portuguese in the 1970s. Museveni trained 40 young Baganda in Kabamba and they were part of the group who started the war in February 1981 with Museveni’s 17 PRA fighters.
Reign of tranquility
The Kabaka of Buganda is the symbol of unity of the Baganda. He is the “heart” of Buganda. All the people are extremely happy in their hearts because they have Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II at the helm.
Today when you stand in front of the Bulange at Mengo and look at the Palace you see how the Road called the Royal Mile aka Kabakaanjagala Road has been widened and marvelously rebuilt by the Mayor of Rubaga, Joyce Sebugwawo and Kampala Capital City Authority.
When I talk of the people I do not mean Baganda only. I mean all the people in Uganda and I do not think that there is anyone who can dispute that the Kabaka has made tremendous contributions.
The Kabaka has done a lot to rebuild the Buganda Kingdom and restore its glory. But the restoration of the Buganda Kingdom has brought peace and tranquility and development in the whole of Uganda.
When Milton Obote abolished the Buganda Kingdom and other Kingdoms because of the political differences which developed between him and Sir Edward Mutesa II in 1966, the whole country was plunged into complete economic and social stagnation and all kinds of suffering.
The Kabaka has encouraged the Baganda to restore the glory of Buganda by rebuilding the economic power of the Baganda which Obote had destroyed in 1966 and thereafter. Now as a result of that the Baganda have done quite a lot in different areas of development. They have built schools, universities, hotels and lodges, hospitals, places of worship, factories and industries, social and entertainment centres, big commercial buildings in Kampala and other towns, as well as new towns where people are transacting businesses.
The Kabaka has encouraged people in Buganda to grow more coffee. For so many years until 1988 coffee was the economic backbone of people in Buganda and the leading cash crop for Uganda. The revenue from coffee helped us a great deal in the war to end the tyrannical regimes in Uganda.
The Kabaka encourages people to educate their children because the Kingdom needs educated, skilled and professional people now and in the future. He encourages people to start their own employment because the situation has changed.
The people are happy that since the time he became their Kabaka, he has established so many development projects everywhere in Buganda. He has made huge donations to schools and hospitals.
In 1994 the famous Central Broadcasting Services (CBS) FM Radio was established to broadcast news bulletins daily and to educate people on how to develop themselves economically.
He established Mutesa I Royal University in Masaka, with a campus in Mengo Kakeeka and another one in Buwekula Mubende. There is also the Mutesa I Royal Vocational Institute at Mengo Kakeeka, Lubiri High School and Lubiri Vocational School. There is also a department called BUKADEV which advises people to start development projects on their own where they live.
The CBS Radio advised people to start a saving scheme called POWESA in every area. People save money and later apply for a suitable amount as a loan to start business and pay back the loan in instalments which do not hurt them. CBS is run by a team of men and women who are highly experienced and skilled and it is headed by an entrepreneur Ow’ekitiibwa Kaaya Kavuma who is highly qualified in business management. The Baganda clans (Ebika by’Abaganda), which were weakened during the tyrannical regimes, have now been strengthened since the restoration of the Buganda Kingdom.
Every year there is a football competition between the clans and the clan which defeats all of them receives the Kabaka’s Football Shield given to them by the Kabaka himself.
The counties also compete for the Kabaka’s Cup and the County which defeats the other counties receives the Kabaka’s Cup every year. All theses matches are intended to strengthen the Buganda Kingdom and keep the people always united.
Working with the people
Finally, the Kabaka appointed an excellent government in Mengo headed by the Katikkiro Ow’ekitiibwa Charles Peter Mayiga. I was reliably informed that the Kabaka gave his Katikkiro full powers to carry out reforms in the process of restoring the glory of Buganda.
What the Katikkiro has done in one year is wonderful. Most important he set a new policy of “going to the people” in the villages all the time. He has been almost everywhere. He surprised people when he rebuilt Amasiro at Kasubi in record time and embarked on completing “Masengere” House at Mengo near Bulange. People in Buganda and everywhere in Uganda are very happy with the Katikkiro and what he is doing for the country.
Other milestones that could be considered are the establishment of the Buganda Television, a kingdom daily newspaper both in Luganda and English, and a commercial bank owned by Buganda. The bank should be called the `PanUganda Bank’, a name which cuts across all interests of people. Some rich Ugandans of Asian origin have set up their own commercial banks in Kampala. Why not the Baganda?
Kavuma-Kaggwa is an elder from Kyaggwe in Mukono District