The true and clear historical record of Buganda’s role in the liberation war of 1981/1986
We have to thank the people of Bugerere County, one of the 18 counties of the Buganda Kingdom, for the biggest welcome they accorded the Kabaka of Buganda Sabasajja Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II when he visited that area recently. The Kabaka visited Bugerere for three days from January 27 to January 29, 2014 which was the climax of the whole visit when he addressed thousands and thousands of his people who came to welcome him.
Many people had never seen him before. People said that the Bugerere visit was the biggest welcome the Kabaka has ever received from the time he started visiting the counties in Buganda.
People built beautiful triumphal arches with polished reeds to welcome the Kabaka right from Namanve, the border between Kyaddondo and Kyaggwe counties. Arches were built in every trading centre all the way to Ntenjeru, the headquarters of Bugerere County. Triumphal arches were built everywhere in all the sub-counties of Bugerere county.
People were so happy to welcome the Kabaka that they spent sleepless nights dancing wherever triumphal arches were erected.
The Kabaka’s regular visits to every county each year are so important and symbolic because they solidify the kingdom and the people keep it in their hearts that the Kabaka is always with his subjects.
When the Kabaka speaks to his people he concentrates on advising them to grow more food, coffee and other cash crops for local consumption and for export. He advises people to educate their children and prepare them for the future because that is the best investment for the children. He advises them to stop selling their land because they cannot go anywhere after selling off their land and they will be in perpetual poverty and miserable life.
The Kabaka planted coffee in different areas of Bugerere and he opened many development projects.
In a unifying speech the Kabaka said that – “It would be nice if we all respected the constitution.
“Bugerere since 1920 has been the destination of different immigrants from different parts of Uganda and out of Uganda: Sudan, DRC, Kenya, Tanzania and other places.
“We know all of you are our people. We speak the same language although our origins are different. People from different ethnicities have been united here for a long time indeed. We beg that politics should not make you lose peace”.
The Kabaka finally said that there was no questioning that the territory belongs to Buganda.
The Kabaka’s visit to Bugerere after the 2009 “Kayunga riots”, reminded me of the time of the Milton Obote revolution which started on My 24, 1966 when Government troops invaded the Mengo Palace forcing Sekabaka Sir Edward Mutesa to flee into exile in the United Kingdom. It reminded me of the social and economic suffering which the Baganda endured all those years when the Kingdom was abolished by Obote.
A bitter political disagreement between Sekabaka Mutesa and Obote and wrong information given to Obote by anti-Buganda elements in the country that Mutesa was amassing weapons in the palace to fight Obote forced him (Obote) to attack the palace militarily.
Later, the old Kingdom which started in 1500 with Sekabaka Kintu, was abolished by Obote and the 1962 Constitution which had granted Buganda a federal status, was also abolished. The army occupied the palace as well as Bulange until 1993 when the Kingdom was restored by President Yoweri Museveni and NRA.
The “political and economic power” of the Baganda was completely destroyed. There was indeed “political darkness” for the Baganda and thousands of them sought refuge in Kenya, Zambia, U.K, USA and other countries.
As we say; a “revolution devours its progeny”. Obote also was overthrown twice by his own army and he died in the second exile in 2005 in Zimbabwe. Unlike General Amin who was not allowed to comeback when he fell sick in exile in Saudi Arabia, Obote’s remains were allowed back into the country and were buried by the NRM Government in Lango his ancestral home.
After realising the misery and the suffering which the Baganda endured without their Kabaka and Kingdom, three Baganda Elders (Abataka) Paul Kavuma (former Katikiro of Buganda), Prince Badru Kakungulu of Kibuli and Bishop Yokana Mukasa formerly of Mityana, boldly decided to launch a war to fight Obote militarily early in 1981. Victory was achieved on January 26, 1986.
The true history
According to “the politics of the day” at that time; and I want the young generation to understand this especially those who meet me on the streets of Kampala and say “you Kavuma-Kaggwa and Prof. Lule, you are the people who brought this man President Museveni”.
I am writing to give a true and clear historical record of what exactly happened and led to the liberation war of 1981/1986.
The Military Commission of Paul Muwanga and Yoweri Museveni as his deputy organised general elections on December 10, 1980.
Two parties DP and UPC were competing. The Democratic Party won by 75 seats and Paul Semwogerere went to Muwanga to organise the swearing in ceremony but Muwanga told him to “come back tomorrow”.
Paul Muwanga telephoned President Nyerere in Dar es Salaam and told him – “the DP has won by 75 seats and Semwogerere is demanding to be sworn in as President what do I do?” Tanzanian troops were still in Uganda after helping us to overthrow Amin.
Nyerere told him – “Muwanga you have got my army there, change all the results”. This conversation was overheard by our DP sympathisers in the Post Office at that time.
It took Paul Muwanga three days to change all the results and he awarded victory to Obote/UPC.
On December 20, 1980 we decided that I take the true results to Prof. Lule in Nairobi so that we call an international press conference and we announce the true results.
I was arrested by the Tanzanian troops at Busia border and thoroughly beaten up by the soldiers and they took all the results.
In Kampala, Paul Kavuma who was the leader of the Baganda at that time in the absence of the Kabaka, decided to join his small group of young fighters with Yoweri Museveni’s Popular Resistance Army (PRA) which was also a small fighting group of young Banyankole and Banyarwanda. Negotiations were successful and Museveni agreed to work with Buganda. Museveni’s PRA merged with the late former president Yusuf Kironde Lule’s fighting force; the Uganda Freedom Fighters (UFF).
At that time the only person who had the “military muscle” to help and work with Baganda to fight Obote was Yoweri Museveni (now President). People should now understand that because it is the truth.
He was deputy Chairman of the Military Commission, he was the Minister for Defence and he had overall control of Kabamba Military training barracks and he was a tough military and bush fighter after fighting alongside with FRELIMO in Mozambique when they were fighting the Portuguese for the Independence of that country.
Museveni told Paul Kavuma to give him 40 young Baganda boys to train them at Kabamba and the late Sam Njuba was in charge of recruiting them.
Museveni trained them and those were the Baganda, Banyankole and Banyarwanda who started the war on February 6, 1981.
Although President Museveni now hails only 27, the actual number should be 67 not 27 only.
I know all this because I was part of the “original think tank” of Prof. Lule in Nairobi and was always communicating with Paul Kavuma in Kampala and sometimes I used to come secretly to Kavuma’s Home at Lungujja to deliver and take secret information to Prof. Lule.
The Think Tank included the late Abu Mayanja, Dr. Sulaiman Kiggundu and Balaki Kirya.
Museveni did not do well in the initial stages and he was advised by Paul Kavuma, Prince Badru Kakungulu and Bishop Mukasa to go to Nairobi and negotiate with Prof. Lule and form one strong fighting army.
Museveni arrived in Nairobi in July 1981 for negotiations. Prof. Lule had formed UFF to replace Uganda Freedom Movement (UFM) of Dr. Andrew Kayiira who had not done well in the Bujuuko forests and the late Mumaanya was to command the new army.
Some people in our group who were not conversant with the situation on ground in Uganda were objecting to work with Museveni but Prof. Lule, Balaki Kirya, Abu Mayanja, Dr. Sulaiman Kiggundu and Kavuma-Kaggwa told them that the Bataka in Kampala had already agreed to work with Museveni and we have to go with that and nothing will change at all.
Negotiations were carried out in the home of the late Chris Mboijana near the Catholic Kianda College in Kabete on Uganda Road and NRM/NRA were formed and Prof. Lule was elected Chairman of NRM deputised by Museveni.
Museveni was elected commander of NRA deputised by Mumaanya, but Mumaanya later died mysteriously at the Kenya/Uganda border.
Fighting went on full speed although it was stalling somehow in Western Buganda and Sabataka now Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II went to the frontline in Masaka area from Nairobi and joined Moses Kigongo who was the then commander in that area and the Kabaka recruited thousands and thousands of young Baganda to fight. We achieved victory on January 26, 1986 and the Buganda Kingdom was restored on July 31, 1993.
I want the Baganda and the people of Uganda to know that the biggest achievement on the side of the Baganda out of the Luweero five-year liberation war, was the restoration of the Buganda Kingdom.
When we restored the Buganda Kingdom we started to rebuild our economic power and political power which Obote had destroyed and people can now see what we have done everywhere in Buganda and Uganda. People in Buganda and elsewhere have built schools, universities, hospitals, hotels, lodges, resort beaches on Lake Victoria, factories and industries, small and big commercial buildings in Kampala and the surrounding areas.
People have built modern trading towns in their areas. If you drive on Entebbe road, Masaka road, Jinja road, Mityana Road, Bombo/Gulu road, Gayaza/Bugerere road, you see the development which has taken place, since the restoration of the Buganda Kingdom. Kampala is the economic engine which moves all kinds of businesses and people from all corners of the country converge there and transact business.
People have built beautiful, modern and permanent living homes everywhere in Uganda. Baganda have developed good music which entertains people on all kinds of activities including places of worship.
It is good that President Museveni fulfilled the agreements he made during the negotiations with the Kabaka in London, Nairobi and Kampala, and Paul Kavuma and the Bataka and Prof. Lule in London and Nairobi before the fighting that “when we achieve victory the Buganda Kingdom will be restored”.
Kavuma-Kaggwa is an elder from Kyaggwe in Mukono District