The Roots, Emergence, and Growth of the Uganda Peoples Congress, 1600-1985
by Yoga Adhola
Updated: November 2006
The Uganda Peoples' Congress (UPC) was formed on the eve of independence. It was an organization not just to wage the struggle for independence, but also struggle for the due recognition of marginalized nationalities/identities. The impetus for the formation of UPC was a desire on the part of the minority nationalities (tribes) or identities for recognition. By identity we mean "a person's understanding of who they are, of their fundamental defining characteristics as human beings." Recognition or the absence of it shapes identities. The withholding of recognition or the misrecognition of other identities can cause identities to suffer real damage. "Non-recognition or misrecognition can inflict harm, can be a form of oppression, imprisoning someone in a false, distorted, and reduced mode of being". Misrecognition can be particularly damaging when the subjects of this misrecognition begin to internalize this distortion of their identity. The subjects internalize the distorted identity by engaging in self-deprecation. At this point, for the minority nationalities/tribes/identities to liberate themselves, the first task ought to be to purge themselves of this imposed and destructive identity. It is to do just that, that the minority nationalities or identities/tribes formed the Uganda Peoples' Congress.
It is the object of this essay to trace the roots, emergence and growth of the Uganda Peoples' Congress. We locate the roots of UPC in the emergence of Buganda as a dominant power in the area that historians have come to call the interlacustrine region of east Africa. We agree with Professor Kiwanuka that this dominance began around 1600 from then it lasted virtually unchallenged until the eve of colonization when Omukama Kabalega of Bunyoro organized Bunyoro to resist Ganda domination. As the Banyoro were effectively pressurizing the kingdom of Buganda, the British who were seeking to colonize the area, made an alliance with the Buganda and moved on to crush the kingdom of Bunyoro. The Baganda were to be used to subjugate other nationalities as well. They were also used as initial administrators in most of the colony. Thereafter, the development of the colony tended to begin in Buganda, and then radiated to the rest of the colony. All these tended to make the Baganda feel superior. It also made the other nationalities feel the need to engage in action that would improve the status of their respective identities.
The earliest point in history from which we can trace the evolution of this contradiction is around 1600. Up to that point the Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara (2) had been the most powerful nationality in the region. As a result of Bunyoro-Kitara's preoccupation with an attempted secession on her western borders, a situation, which rendered her eastern frontiers relatively undefended; and Buganda's recovery over a period of time, Buganda was able to accumulate adequate military strength with which to effectively launch an offensive against Bunyoro. (Kiwanuka, M.S.M. 1975: 19-30) Being rather limited, these advantages only enabled Buganda to recover her previously lost territory. However, in due course, from the reign of Kabaka Mawanda (1674-1704), as a result of annexing the tributary of Kooki from Bunyoro, Buganda acquired immense advantage. These territories Buganda had acquired had very important consequences: "until then Buganda had been very short of iron and weapons, and had to buy their iron from Bunyoro. Now, however, Bunyoro had lost not only the rich reservoir of technical knowledge of smiths of Buddu and Kooki." (Kiwanuka, M.S.M. 1968: 607) Controlling these strategic factors, and given the fact that Bunyoro was involved in formidable domestic problems, Buganda went on to defeat Bunyoro battle after battle, and consequently eclipsed Bunyoro as a dominant power in the region. This dominance was to last unchallenged until the eve of the colonization of Uganda, when during the reign of Omukama (King) Kabalega, Bunyoro regained her military strength and began recovering her territory. In the course of the two centuries that this dominance lasted, the Baganda embraced an acute sense of nationality chauvinism on the one hand, and the nationalities dominated by the Baganda developed deep resentment of the Baganda.
Buganda invades Busoga:
Yet the Banyoro were not the only people who suffered the humiliation of being conquered and dominated by the Baganda; the other people to suffer were the clans which were eventually to constitute the nationality called Basoga (3) to the east of Buganda. While Kabaka Mawanda and his armies were driving Abagerere through Bulondonganyi into Bukuya, they became attracted to and invaded the rich states of Busoga. At the time the Basoga states were militarily weak and not united. (Kiwanuka, M.S.M. 1971: 76) The Basoga were organized in loose confederation of clans, each of which were not only independent but also jealous of each other and engaged in frequent warfare. Such a state of affairs made Busoga very vulnerable. None other than Professor Kiwanuka, himself a Muganda, tells us that the victories of the Baganda "were sullied by deeds of atrocity, and marked by dreadful slaughter and arson. The terror which Mawanda's armies struck has left the impression that an army of professional brigands could not have behaved worse."(Kiwanuka, S.M. 1971: 76-77) The name of Mawanda unleashed terror and horror among the Basoga, giving rise to the Lusoga (adjective from Busoga) saying " Omuganda Mawanda olumbe lwekirago lwaita mama na taata " (Mawanda, the nefarious Muganda, slaughtered all our mothers and fathers.) (Kiwanuka, M.S.M. 1971: 77) Following the death of Mawanda around 1704, there was a pause in Buganda's wave of aggression and expansionism. The two kings who reigned after Mawanda (Mwanga and Kagulu) had immense personal and domestic problems which confined their energies home. It was when Kyabagu (1704-1734) came to the throne that Buganda reactivated its expansionist campaigns. (Kiwanuka, M.S.M. 1971: 78-80) At one time when Kyabagu led a ferocious band of Baganda to invade Busoga, he found Busoga country pleasant and more peaceful than Buganda and decided to settle in Jinja and incorporate Busoga into Buganda. This evil design met very stiff resistance from the Basoga and Kyabagu and his army had to leave for Buganda. But this unity that the Basoga had built to resist the invading Baganda did not last; its collapse made the subjugation of the Basoga possible right up to the inception of British colonial rule. John Roscoe observes that as late as 1890 the Basoga did not only have to pay tribute to the Kabaka of Buganda (Kiwanuka,M.S.M. 1971:142-3; Wilson, C.T.& Felkin, R.W. 1882: 149; Roscoe, J. 1924:149), they were also politically tied to Buganda as some sort of tributary.
Even areas as distant as what later became known as Bukedi were not safe from Ganda invasions and plunder. (Rowe, J: 1967: 168) In 1863 there was a local dispute in Busoga. One of the disputants was called Kalende, whose maternal ancestry was in Bukedi, brought in a force of 'Bakedi' to aid him. The `Bakedi', being able warriors easily captured the estates desired by their nephew Kalende. However, Wakoli, the Soga chief who lost, petitioned Kabaka Mutesa, making sure he took with him an appropriate present of ivory. Mutesa summoned Kalende and kept him in prison for four to five months, duration long enough for Wakoli's subjects to reinstate themselves in the disputed villages. Eventually, when Kalende returned home feeling humiliated, he wasted no time in recalling his relatives to administer another beating of Wakoli. Wakoli too went right back to Mutesa who immediately dispatched an expedition to demonstrate to the 'Bakedi' the power and authority of the Kabaka of Buganda. Attracted by the wealth of cattle in Bukedi, the Baganda chiefs enlisted in large numbers. The "Bakedi" laid for the invading Baganda an ingenious military trap: they left the Baganda to enter their country with ease, only to ambush them on their return when they were encumbered with loot and booty. The whole rear division was annihilated in so decisive a defeat that Kabaka Mutesa found it wise not to attempt revenge. (Oboth-Ofumbi, A.C.K. 1959: 4-5)
The imperial tendencies of the kingdom of Buganda also affected the peoples inhabiting the area to the west of the kingdom and out of whom the British were to carve out the former kingdom of Ankole (4). Having annexed Buddu as we have already shown, Buganda not only raided the nascent Nkore 'empire', (Morris, H.F. 1960: 11-12) it also interfered in her internal politics and civil wars in attempt to place puppets on the Nkore throne. An example of both plunder and interference took place when Omugabe (King) Kahaya died and his son, Nyakashaija, was installed on the throne. To ensure firm hold of the throne, Nyakashaija attacked and defeated his elder brother, Rwabishengye. The defeated Rwabishengye sought aid from Kabaka Kamanya (1798-1825) of Buganda and entered Nkore with an army from Buganda. There was absolutely no justification for Buganda to provide Rwabishengye this assistance; it was well known throughout all the kingdoms of this region that the first-born prince never succeeds to the throne. The motive for this Ganda involvement in the politics of Nkore was plunder; and this soon revealed itself when, much as Nyakashaija fled from the invading forces, Rwabishengye, instead of taking over as the Omugabe, merely returned to Buganda with plunder. (Karugire, S.R. 1971: 179-80; Morris, H.F. 1960: 12) This had not been the first nor was it to be the last case of Buganda plundering Nkore. In the reign of Omugabe Gashyonga alone, Buganda, under the leadership of Kabaka Suna II (1825-1852), invaded and plundered Nkore three times.
When Omugabe Mutumbuka died around 1870 and the customary scramble for succession erupted, Mutesa of Buganda sent an envoy to intercede. Ostensibly Kabaka Mutesa's envoy was to make blood brotherhood with Makumbi, the leader of the Nkore delegation and the surviving legitimate claimant to the throne, something which is only undertaken in good faith from both sides. However, the envoy had secret instructions to kill as many as possible of Makumbi's supporters. At a meeting set at Kabula for the performance of the ritual, the supporters of Makumbi were led into a trap and no less than 70 leaders, including 20 princes, were massacred in cold blood. It was the height of treachery that was difficult to forget. Until recently, elderly Banyankore were still remarking to Professor Karugire: "Only the Baganda could have thought of such a thing."(Karugire, S.R. 1971:240) Fortunately, the faction with legitimate claims rallied around one of the princes of Nkore, and went on to defeat Mukwenda, the pretender to the throne supported by the Baganda.
The next injustice Ankole suffered in favor of Buganda was the loss of the territories of Kabula and some parts of the former kingdom of Bwera, which had been part of the grazing lands occupied by Nkore pastoralists. The events leading to this expansion of Buganda by the British began with the deposition of Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda. Some Baganda who could not accept this went over to Kabula and, basing themselves there, put up very spirited resistance to the British and erstwhile rulers in Buganda. Between 1897 and 1899 the resistance was so successful that they nearly closed the border between Buganda and Ankole -- only highly protected convoys could make transit between the two kingdoms. The authorities in Ankole were accused of failing to administer the area and, in 1899, the British Sub-Commissioner of Ankole District was instructed to remove the Munyankole chief from Kabula and replace him with a Muganda one. Henceforth the area was to be regarded as Buganda territory although it had been "on the "Ankole side of the border."(Karugire, S.M. 1971: 214)
Eventually, an empire, however powerful, gets to be challenged. This happened to Buganda in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Bunyoro, under the able leadership of Kabalega, not only got reorganized but also acquired muskets from the Arabs. On account of these two factors, Bunyoro "succeeded in driving the Baganda back, only to find that their final victory was frustrated by the arrival of the British who protected the Baganda with rifles and Maxim guns." (Danbur, A.R. 1965: 39) The Baganda, who were being seriously pressurized by the Banyoro, had gone into alliance with the British who had come to colonize the Nile valley and were looking for an ally. In any colony, outside control by a few thousand colonizers is impossible without winning allies from among the colonized peoples. A number of factors made the Baganda and not any other nationality the choice for this alliance: they had a fairly developed social and administrative system, a standing army of a sort, and a history of conquest and expansion stretching for three centuries. While the British consciously used the Baganda, to the Baganda their being used was mistaken for the continuation of their dominance and expansion. To the British, on the other hand, once "established in Buganda, their preferred method of consolidating themselves on the Upper Nile was simply to enlarge Buganda." (Roberts, A.D. 1962: 435) The two forces thus made perfect common cause in imposing colonial rule in Uganda.
The first operation the Anglo-Ganda alliance mounted was against their most serious threat, the Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara. (Danbur, A.R. 1965: 84-87) This was in December 1893 when Colonel Colville led a full military campaign against Kabalega and the Banyoro. After suffering a series of defeats, Kabalega was driven from his country and forced to take refuge in Lango in 1894. As a reward for assistance against the Banyoro, Colonel Colville in the early part of 1894 promised the Baganda chiefs that all Bunyoro territory south of River Kafu would be incorporated into Buganda. This was roughly the area comprised of Buyaga and Bugangazzi (Bugangazzi) northern Singo, Buruli and the formerly semi-independent area of northern Bugerere which had been part of Bunyoro territory. (Dunbar, A.R. 1965; Roberts, A.D. 1962: 194) Colonel Colville was forced by illness to leave Uganda before implementing this promise. However, when E.J.L. Berkeley who succeeded Colville was in 1896 appointing a Munyoro to be chief of this area, the Ganda chiefs present reminded him that his predecessor had pledged the area to be part of Buganda. Berkeley consulted the Foreign Office who instructed him to implement the promise. The incorporation into the Kingdom of Buganda of this territory, which was clearly part of Bunyoro with Banyoro inhabiting, was so blatantly unjust that two British officers then serving in Bunyoro, Pulteney and Forster, resigned their posts in protest against the decision. Banyoro never accepted this situation and this loss of territory was to become the festering "lost counties" issue which was a subject of many deputations by the Kingdom of Bunyoro to the British throughout the colonial period.
The other victim of the Anglo-Ganda alliance was the former Kingdom of Toro. Formerly a mere province of the empire of Bunyoro-Kitara, Toro rebelled and seceded from the empire during Bunyoro's decline in the early part of the 19th century. By 1830, Toro had become a fully independent kingdom ruled by a Babito dynasty descended from Kaboyo. However, with the resurgence of Bunyoro under the leadership of Kabalega, Toro was brought back under Nyoro hegemony. Later, as a result of the defeat of Bunyoro by the Anglo-Ganda alliance, one of the major losses suffered by Bunyoro was Toro. Although Toro territory could not be added to Buganda, taking advantage of their warm relations with the British, the Baganda were to install Kasagama, a Toro princes who had been in exile in Buganda on the Toro throne. This suave move gave Buganda access to immense influence in Toro. Baganda became the most influential advisers at court, and were the teachers of Christianity. Eventually Luganda (the language of the Baganda) rather than Lutoro was to be used by officials of the government of Toro. Ganda customs and manners too did eclipse the Toro ones at court.
This Ganda sub-imperialism in Toro was soon to meet with very stiff resistance. (Steinhart, E.I. 1971: 105-107) It all began when Princess Bagaya, Kasagama's sister returned to Toro from captivity in Buganda where her anti-Ganda sentiment had been sharpened. She had been captured from Bunyoro where she was wife to Kabalega and taken to Buganda when the Anglo-Ganda alliance overran Bunyoro. In captivity in Buganda her relationship to the Baganda was that of a captive and hostile member of the dynasty of Buganda's arch enemy. It must have been heart-rending for her, on being repatriated to Toro, to be greeted in Luganda, the language of her captors, by her brother's messengers. Her brother's chiefs too addressed her in the language of her captors. Her food was prepared in Ganda style and Luganda hymns sung in praise of her return. Bagaya lost no time in becoming a champion of Toro customs and culture, and a focus of anti-Ganda sentiment in the kingdom.
While indirect influence was being exerted in Toro, other areas were being assimilated outright. On the very day of Ganda expansion into Bunyoro territory, in the areas that later constituted the "lost counties," the Kooki Agreement by which the former sovereign kingdom of Kooki was incorporated into Buganda was signed. This was done pursuant to the British strategy on the one hand, and the Buganda illusion of continuing three centuries of expansion on the other hand; both of which have already been alluded to. Two times, with Ankole and Toro being targets, there was a real possibility of this Buganda "expansion" westwards getting very serious. Faced with administrative difficulties in the kingdoms to the west of Buganda, Commissioner Berkeley had "proposed to and the foreign office agreed that in due course the whole of these two western kingdoms (Toro and Bunyoro), as well as Ankole to the southwest should be incorporated into Buganda, just as Kooki and large parts of Bunyoro had already been."(Morris, H.F. 1960: 44) To implement this policy with respect to Toro, in March 1897, an envoy of the Buganda Lukiiko (Council), with the foreknowledge of the colonial authorities, suggested to Kasagama that Toro should forfeit its independence and accept the "blessing" of becoming part of Buganda as Kooki and Kabula had done. In the proposed arrangement Kasagama would become a county chief within the Kingdom of Buganda. Kasagama both resented and rejected the offer. Needless to say such imperial desires by Buganda, and such bias by the British, was to irritate other nationalities and cause them to resent Buganda.
An ally who had up to then served the British so well, and who was to still serve them no one knew for how much longer, deserved a reward and an incentive. Such a prize came in the process of the constitution of the Uganda Protectorate and the newly constituted Buganda aristocracy. It took the form of an agreement or 'treaty', the Uganda Agreement of 1900 between the British and the new aristocracy the British had put in place to rule Buganda as representatives of the Kingdom of Buganda. The impact of the agreement was to accord Buganda a distinctive and privileged position as compared to the rest of Uganda. The agreement also enabled the Kingdom of Buganda to retain a degree of autonomy which served to preserve its political institutions, as well as secure her a favored position in the governance of the colony. Further, the agreement, by allocating land to certain chiefs, served to create a permanent ruling class in Buganda. (Rowe, J. 1964 :) Finally, apart from these concrete results, the very signing of the agreement - something which had not been done with the rest of the other peoples of Uganda, set off myths that the relationship between Buganda and the British was a quasi-diplomatic one; something which, though unreal, was to have significant implications in the later history of Uganda.
Meanwhile the British objective to impose colonialism in the north eastern part of what became Uganda, and the illusion that the Baganda were expanding an empire had dovetailed to give rise to a formidable army of the Baganda led by Kakungulu. (Gray, J.M. March, 1963; Thomas, H.B: 1936; Twaddle, M.) Three main interests had converged to constitute this army. Kakungulu had the ambition of founding himself a kingdom, the Baganda under his leadership desired war booty, and, the British wanted to subjugate the people of this area. The pattern of subjugation was "first an armed expedition would be made from an established fort to a new area; the pretexts were often obscure, sometimes a request for help from a warring faction or sometimes a threat of attack by local inhabitants; after skirmishes or pitched battles a new fort would be established and a garrison of Baganda installed." (Lawrence, J.C.D. 1955: 18 ref 7) Apart from the resentment that such foreign intrusion was bound to arouse, bitterness also came from Kakungulu's method of warfare which involved the erection of forts - one of which "took only three weeks to build and whose massive ramparts which can be seen to this day must have required the labor of many hundreds of unwilling workers." (Gray, J.M. 1936: 19) The practice of taking war booty that included women and cattle was another cause not only of immediate resistance, but of long-term hatred. And largely because the British were in the background, and the Baganda were the ones not only immediately prosecuting the war but also meting out what the people regarded as gross injustice, the brunt of resentment ended being targeted at the Baganda.
After every successful campaign to subjugate an area, the process of instituting an administrative system immediately followed. Like the campaigns to subjugate, the institution of administration too unleashed experiences which were to contribute to the dichotomization of the politics of Uganda, with Buganda on one side and the rest of the country on the other. This pattern arose from the British utilization of the Baganda in the initial administration of the colony. As early as 1893 Lugard had argued that "subordinate officials for the administration of Uganda (by which he meant Buganda) may be supplied by the country itself, but in the future we may even draw from thence educated and reliable men to assist in the government of neighboring countries (meaning the rest of Uganda)."(Lugard, F.D. 1893: 650) This argument was later to be accorded high official sanction by the Acting Commissioner of Uganda, F.J. Jackson, when he wrote: "The Baganda methods of administration though by no means perfect should be the standard." (Hansen, H.B. 1984: 368 ref 9) In line with this thinking, when time came for establishing an administrative system, not only was the Ganda administrative structure imposed on the other areas, the Baganda were also used as administrative agents in the initial administration of the colony.
There arose two dialectically related but contradictory responses to this policy. While their use as administrative agents and the adoption of their structure filled the Baganda with immense pride, the same process caused the rest of the country to feel a sense of deep humiliation. Professor Burke, the anthropologist who did a study of some areas in which the Ganda administrative system was imposed and agents used, was to observe that the subsequent political history of these areas is a product of rebellion against the Baganda. (Burke, F.G. 1964: 177; also see 14, 13, 17, 18, & 132) Yet the administrative system per se was not the only problem; the Baganda agents managing it not only expected feudal decorum which was unpopular with their subjects also had a very irritating condescending attitude to those who they considered beneath them. The overall effect of all of the experiences of those whom the Baganda were administering was a kind of internal colonialism, often much harsher and humiliating than the British one. The result was very spirited resistance to the Baganda agents all over the colony.
Ganda colonial administrative agents:
Perhaps the most determined resistance to the use of Ganda agents in administration came from Bunyoro. As a result of the spirited resistance to British intrusion the Banyoro had put up, the British officials viewed them as "hostile to programs and incapable of efficient government." (Steinhart, E.I. 1973: 48; also see Uzoigwe, G.N. 1972; and Santyamurthy, T.V. 1986: 200 ref 129) It therefore became necessary to introduce Ganda chiefs in Bunyono to serve as `tutors' to the regime of collaborators being established there. In 1901, the Ganda chief, James Miti was installed as chief in Bunyoro. This was soon followed by an increasing number of Ganda agents being appointed. By June 1902, the district officer in Bunyoro was observing "the very bad feeling that exists between the Banyoro chiefs, and those who have been brought from Uganda (meaning Buganda) and elsewhere and put in charge of some of the counties."(Steinhart, E.I. 1973: 50) This bad feeling was arising from the fears among the Banyoro that their once proud kingdom would be taken away from them by means of piecemeal annexation or expropriation by the Baganda as had been the case of the "lost counties." There was also the fear that the Ganda would eventually take over the full authority in Bunyoro, and thus turn Bunyoro into a colony of Buganda.
Eventually as the Nyoro chiefs and other relatively enlightened people gained confidence, they began to question the rationale of the use of Ganda agents as chiefs in Bunyoro. This questioning was to exacerbate as James Miti's territorial authority and influence over Duhaga, the Nyoro monarch intensified. Duhaga was sharply criticized by the Babito, the ruling caste in Bunyoro, for allowing the Ganda to gain a foothold in the kingdom, and for permitting himself to be controlled by his Ganda advisors. To these grievances must be added the cultural imperialism of the Baganda whose most painful aspect was the use of Luganda as the official language of state. The situation continued to deteriorate, and by 1907 the Banyoro could not take it anymore. In February the Banyoro rebelled: the Baganda chiefs were driven out of the countryside and sought refuge in Hoima, the capital. During the crisis, the Banyoro sent envoys to the neighboring kingdoms of Toro, Ankole and Busoga and "the lost counties" in the hope of finding allies who might extend the anti-Ganda rebellion through the Ganda dominated provinces. Although the revolt was eventually suppressed, the "Nyangire Rebellion", as it became known, lasted several months and had a long-lasting effect.
Northern Uganda too had its share of Ganda abuse. As administrators, the Baganda were brought into south western Lango (5) in 1907 and western Lango in 1909. (Ingham, K. 1958: 156-157; Roberts, A.D. 1962: 441) Considering the fact that the Langi had fought and defeated the Baganda in the battle of Dokolo, the Baganda were a very unfortunate choice for this task. Further, as John Tosh, the historian who did research on political authority among the Langi observed: "For such a delicate mission (establishing an administration), the Ganda agents were in many respects ill-qualified. They came from a highly centralized, hierarchical and competitive society. Traditionally, they despised those of their neighbors, referring to them as Bakedi (naked people). In the 19th Century the Ganda had raided the Bakedi for booty; they now saw their government authority as renewed opportunity for plunder and profit."(Tosh, J. 1974: 54) Between January 1910 and July 1911 alone, there occurred "109 conflicts between Baganda agents and their followers and the local natives, in which five agents and 10 followers have been killed, 6 agents and 11 followers wounded, and 170 natives killed or wounded."(Tosh, J. 1974: 51; 3-54; 58; 62 etc;)
The neighbors of the Langi, the Acholi (6) too suffered abuse in the hands of the Baganda. In the initial period of the colonization of the Acholi, there was a tendency to use the Baganda agents as administrators on the fringes of Gulu district. These agents were often inadequately supervised, a situation which resulted in the agents creating their little empires for themselves. Such behavior led to deep and widespread resentment which often erupted in violence and the killing of the agents. (Dwyer, J.W. 1972: 204 ref 72; also see note number 1) In Bugisu (7), too, where the Baganda had been used in violent imposition of colonialism, there was stiff resistance to the use of the Baganda as administrators. Dr. La Fontaine, an anthropologist who studied Bugisu observed that through the use of Baganda, the British "provided the Gisu with the stimulus of alien rulers, who not only appear to have despised those very cultural traits which symbolized tribal identity to the Gisu, but were prepared to proselytize their own way of life, which differed strikingly from traditional Gisu custom. An implicit comparison with the Ganda and a desire to achieve equal standing with them was an important strand in the development of Gisu tribalism."(La Fontaine, J.S. 1969: 183).
Neighboring Bukedi district too was a hotbed of resistance to the Ganda agents. In 1905 there erupted a serious and spontaneous revolt in Padhola country. The Ganda chief administering the area, Mika Kisaka had exceeded the instructions of the British Collector and was committing what the Jopadhola people felt were unbearable excesses. Furthermore, the Jopadhola people were incensed by the arrogance of the Baganda, and the perpetual sexual indulgence of the Ganda with the local women. In June 1905 two incidents which occurred simultaneously in two different parts of Padhola flared into violent revolts which resulted in the death of a number of Baganda agents.(Santhamurthy, T.V. 1986: 265-266)
The western region of Uganda too had its share of irritation from Baganda. In 1908, for instance, one of the Baganda chiefs who was administering Igara county in Ankole filed the following report: "I am writing to tell you about our district Egara, all the people here are rebellious, and they don't give us some food, if one of our men wants to walk about they want to kill him . . ." (Karugire, S.R. 1971: 232-3) Ankole's neighbors, the former district of Kigezi, too experienced resistance to the Baganda.(Hopkins, E.E. 1968 ) Here among the most irritating aspects of the Baganda agents was their use of the agency to exploit the people. A good example is the case of taxation. "The rupee was used as the currency for taxation during this period, and this was brought in by the Baganda, or only possessed by the chiefs. They would tell the people that one rupee, for example, would buy three goats, so that if a person failed to produce three rupees, he would have to pay nine goats. In this way a Muganda agent or trader would pay in rupees and take the goats, but if the goat owner refused, chances were that he would be arrested. Consequently, all his goats would be sold at the lowest prices." (Turyhikayo-Rugyema, B.1976: 124) Such naked injustice was bound to give rise to resistance. A number of uprisings took place during which a number of Baganda agents were killed. The resentment to the Ganda agents was to last long. Professor Santhyamurthy who conducted field research in Kigezi in the 1960s records that he "was regaled with many a tale of resistance to Ganda chiefs" by informants who were old enough to have lived during the period of Ganda rule. (Santhamurthy, T.V. 1986: 200 ref 128)
With the imposition of colonialism over Uganda completed, further development in the colony - whether initiated by the British or by the colonized people, should have been national in character as it was in other colonies. This was not the case in Uganda; development tended to assume a dichotomy: Buganda, on the other hand, and the rest of the country on the other. The initial cause of this trend is the fact that both the missionaries and the colonialist began their work in Buganda, thereby giving the kingdom a head start. Further, as we have already explained, the Baganda were not only used as soldiers in the imposition of colonial rule, but also as initial administrators in the rest of the colony. All these occurrences and factors combined to imbue the Baganda with an acute sense of chauvinism, which in the context of the 1900 Agreement that retained Buganda as a separate and distinct entity, easily translated itself into a sense of separatism. As Professor Pratt was to observe, the Baganda continued to regard "themselves as a separate people and to view Buganda as an autonomous political unit. Buganda, not Uganda was their nation. They belonged to Uganda as part of British overrule. It touched neither their affections nor their sentiments. There was little sympathetic interest in being incorporated into a larger African nation and there was great sensitivity to any slight to tribal pride."(Low, D.A. & Pratt, R.C. 1960: 253)
There is no doubt this kind of feeling was bound to clash with national development. The first time, Ganda separatism went against national development was in relation to the Legislative Council (Legico). When the Legico was initiated in 1921, the Kabaka of Buganda and his ministers rather than argue for greater African representation, as it was being done in other African colonies, sought to obtain assurances that Legico would not affect the 1900 Agreement. They wrote: "The safeguarding of native interests can best be done by maintaining inviolate the existing Agreement. The interests and welfare of Buganda will necessarily form a secondary consideration in view of the general interest and progress of the whole territory."(Low, D.A. & Pratt, R.C. 1960: 254; Furley,O. 1982: 138-39) The same sentiments were to be expressed by Serwano Kulubya, the leading Buganda delegate to the Joint Select Committee on Closer Union in 1931. (Low, D.A. & Pratt, R.C. 1960: 254 ref. 2) The mere raising of these objections served to underscore the distinctiveness of the Kingdom of Buganda; and, the apparent success, such as in the case of Closer Union when it appeared Ganda pressure thwarted the move to East African federation, tended to fuel the fires of separatism. (Santhamurthy, T.V. 1986: 243) From then on, Baganda developed a tendency of resisting what in their opinion would result in interference in what they regarded as their internal affairs or would undermine Buganda's institutions or position as guaranteed by the practice of indirect rule and the 1900 Agreement. It is this tendency and the resistance to it by the rest of the people of Uganda that was to dichotomize the politics of the country.
The 1930s was a period of relative economic decline throughout the colonies of Africa and this had major political consequences because the economic recession led to protests which constituted the beginnings of modern anti-colonial movements. The depression pinched even harder because it occurred in the context of rising expectations based on the relative prosperity of the first two decades of the century, when the terms of trade were relatively favorable to Africa, and peasants and traders had profited. As a result of the depressed level of the economy and the resulting curtailment of the colonial services, disillusionment set in. Two sets of different but related developments made this disillusionment particularly explosive. Not only had the representatives of pre-colonial polities - the chiefs and kings been absorbed into the colonial hierarchy as its most loyal collaborators, but the newly educated elite, far from seeking to return to pre-colonial structures, sought to share in the administration of the new order. Among those educated people were men like Dr. J.B. Danquah of Gold Coast (later Ghana), Chief Obafemi Awolowo of Nigeria, and Ignatius Musazi of Uganda. These were "the western-educated elite, who having reached and in some cases surpassed, the intellectual attainment of their colonial administrators, on the administrators' own terms, began to demand for participation in the administration. It is this class of people who led the criticism of the colonial structures throughout Africa in the late 1930s.
While in other African colonies such as Nigeria and Ghana, this situation constituted the anvil upon which the nascent country-wide national movement was forged, this was not the case in Uganda. Both the uneven nature of colonial development which made Buganda a more developed enclave even politically then and the rubric of "indirect rule" which carved out a separate political arena in Buganda conditioned "an ambivalent nationalism not entirely divorced from parochialism" (Santhamurthy, T.V. 1986: 242-243) to develop alongside Buganda separatism. As a result, political agitation in Uganda during this period was not only limited to issues affecting Buganda but also geographically restricted to the kingdom.
The main channel for this agitation was an organization variously called "Sons of Kintu" "the Grandsons of Kintu" or "the Descendants of Kintu" formed on May 28, 1938. The chief organizer and Secretary of the organization was Ignatius Kangave Musazi. Ganda neo-traditionalist in ideology, the organization had two main objectives: to direct the complaints of the farmers and merchants into channels where they would be heard; and to get rid of the government of Buganda then headed by Martin Luther Nsibirwa as Katikiro. Although the organization failed to attain most of its objectives, it succeeded first in mobilizing people in the countryside to a level which had never been attained in the colony before, and, secondly, in propelling Musazi into a long political career.
The following year the Second World War broke out. Although the colonial system looked impregnable at the beginning of the war, it did not take long for the war to take so heavy a toll on it that in a sense the war became a major turning point in the liberation of Africa from colonial rule. The war brought "about demonstrable changes in the attitudes of the colonial powers towards the way in which they had administered their African subjects and placed them on the defensive about empire, the war also wrought major changes in the consciousness of the colonized peoples."(Crowder, M. 1975: 31-32) A major factor to put the colonial powers on the defensive was the rise to world leadership of both the United States and the Soviet Union, something which was largely conditioned by the war itself. As the war progressed, there might have arisen an impasse or the Germans might have won had the two powers not tipped the balance. This was to make the two powers very powerful. The two new superpowers were, for totally different reasons, to oppose colonialism and add voice to the internal opposition in Britain. The war also provided conditions for greater internal opposition to colonialism in Britain: the Labor Party, for instance, gained immense strength when its leader, Clement Attlee, became deputy Prime Minister in a coalition government.
Apart from the effect the war had on the international context of colonialism, the war also triggered major changes in the domestic conditions of colonialism in Uganda. The medium for the war to cause far-reaching social transformations in Uganda was the participation of Africans in the war. Africans were not only enlisted to fight the war, but Africa was a major source of supplies. The total number of Africans who participated directly in the war is estimated at 533,084 of whom 76,166 were from Uganda. (Schleh, E.P.A. 1968: 20) To most of these recruits who had lived in isolated villages hardly affected by the colonial government, common military service had the effect of propelling the recruit to transcend former ethnic barriers. The period of total involvement with and dependency on an agency of the state had the effect of also inculcating in the recruit a new culture in which the state was from then on to play a major role.
The war was also to greatly politicize the African soldiers. What caused them to get politicized was the necessity for the colonial powers to provide a stake which would serve to mobilize them to war. This had the effect, particularly in cases where outright concessions were made, to demonstrate to the colonized peoples that colonialism was not as invincible as they had previously thought. Further, by causing the movement of Africans to distant places such as India exposed the combatants to a range of experiences much broader and inspiring in the anti-colonial struggles than they had encountered at home. Those who served in India, for instance, got first hand experience of the double standard of Britain. While being told that they were fighting to preserve freedom and democracy, in India, the combatants witnessed fellow colonial subjects being prevented from protesting British restriction on political freedom in India. Such experiences were to ignite a resolve in the combatants to wage struggles against colonialism when they returned home.
While this constituted the major immediate impetus to the evolution of countrywide nationalist movements in all other African colonies, this was not the case in Uganda. In Uganda these, conditions which were so favorable to mobilization, instead fueled two tendencies: the move towards Ganda separatism, and the evolution of an ambivalent nationalism. Of these two forces, both of which had emerged in the 1930s, the first to organize itself was Ganda neo-traditionalism and separatism. It organized as the Bataka Party founded in 1946. The previous year those who were to constitute the leadership of the Bataka Party had been at the leadership of the political struggles which culminated in the riots that broke out in January 1945. (Apter, D.E. 1961: 227) The senior mutaka who got involved in these 1945 struggles, James Miti, assumed the leadership of the Bataka Party and became the torchbearer of Buganda "nationalism".
Much as the term mutaka has a distinct meaning, it was conveniently redefined to encompass every Muganda. "Every Muganda is a mutaka" was the slogan opportunistically coined to exploit the fact that to be a citizen of Buganda one had to first belong to a clan. The party was extremely reactionary, and ideologically committed to the purity of Ganda traditions and institutions. A large number of landlords were members of the party. (Apter, D.E. 1961: 249) A major point of contention for the Bataka party was the democratization of the Lukiiko. They believed elective chieftaincy would serve to place their members in the Lukiiko. "As a form of social and political organization, it claimed allegiance on the basis of nationalism and support of Buganda . . ." (Apter, D.E. 1961: 249) A number of units of the party and some leading members were of the view that clan identification with the Kabaka and Kiganda chauvinism could break all other forms of social stratification and affiliations. The party openly sought to preserve the more backward and negative aspects of Ganda culture. Thus, for instance, it attacked missionaries for having reduced the population of Buganda by introducing monogamous marriage.
Simultaneously, as Ganda neo-traditionalism was organizing itself into the Bataka Party, a Janus-headed nationalism under the leadership of Musazi was also evolving. Although rather ambivalent, this was a direct response to the changed political conditions ushered in by the end of the war. In his speech opening the new parliament in November 1946, King George VI had declared: "In the territories for which my government is responsible, they will seek actively to promote the welfare of my peoples, to develop the economic life of the territories and to give my people all practical guidance in their march to self-government." (Ingham, K. 1958: 228-9) In line with this pronouncement, the colonial administration in Uganda carried out a number of reforms intended to prepare Uganda for independence. Of all these moves, the one which was to have the greatest impact in stimulating the people of Uganda politically to organize themselves, and later lead to the formation of UPC was the encouragement of the formation of cooperative societies. It not only led to the formation of the Uganda African Farmers Union (UAFU), but through the UAFU it laid a basis from which an anti-colonial movement was to be formed five years later. The issue around which the politically charged UAFU got organized was the marketing of cotton. The evolution of the marketing of cotton into a political issue arose from the way Britain had used its control of marketing structure to relate the prices paid to the growers to the low price paid for Uganda cotton by the British Ministry of Supply (Gartrell, B. 1979: 400) through its bulk-purchase agreements. The meagerness of the proceeds the growers received was further aggravated by the operation of a fund intended to stabilize the economy. The operation of these two factors had the effect of seriously depressing the proceeds reaching the producers. Between 1930 and 1938, the growers received an average of 60% of the proceeds from cotton exports, in the 1941-42 season they earned 45% and in the three following seasons their share ranged from 28% to 38%. (Ehrlich, C. 1965: 473) Furthermore this, growers were by this time bearing the full brunt of the tax on cotton exports as both exporters and ginners were no longer making a contribution to this source of government revenue. This was quite burdensome given that the cost of living had more than doubled. In response to these depressing economic conditions, people began to put pressure for greater returns from and greater share in the marketing of the basic export of the colony. There were two types of people putting pressure: the prosperous aspiring African entrepreneur, and also the more populist demand for participation through cooperative organization.
Uganda African Farmer's Union:
It was this populist aspiration which provided the basis for the formation of the Uganda African Farmers Union (UAFU) led by Musazi in 1947. The formation of the UAFU was a very significant step in the political development of Uganda, especially the national movement. With its formation, the national movement had reached the level of development which Hodgkin called associations which "provide the cells around which a nation-wide political organization can be constructed."(Hodgkin, T.L. 1956: 85; Twumasi, Y.:35) However, these positive contributions notwithstanding, the UAFU carried with it the Achilles heel that had bedeviled the earlier attempt at a national movement in 1938. Much as the grievances about the marketing and ginning of cotton - the aspiration informing the UAFU was nation-wide, there was no attempt to broaden the union beyond Buganda so as to encompass the whole country. The channels that the Union sought to utilize, not only to organize itself but also voice its grievance, were traditional Ganda institutions, something which tended to exclude or repel the non-Ganda. From the very beginning, for instance, there was a curious overlapping between UAFU and the Bataka Party. (Apter, D.E. 1961: 251) There was also the curious coincidence of both organizations having trails going back to the " Sons of Kintu " movement of 1938. Further, Musazi is reported to have used Bataka units as the initial organizational base. Finally, much as the two organizations agitated separately, there was no doubt that from time to time they did overlap.
By 1949 the desire of the people of Uganda to have a say in the marketing of cotton - whether by cooperative organizations or prosperous enterprising entrepreneurs, and the concomitant agitation for the same had reached crisis proportions. As part of the agitation, the peasants in Buganda responded to a call from their leadership to boycott the sale of their cotton: instead of selling the cotton, they stored it up in their huts. In this crisis, Musazi, through the Uganda Farmers' Union was leading the more progressive of the forces, and the Bataka Party was the vehicle for those imbued with unbridled Ganda neo-traditionalism. Simultaneously, the political struggles which had erupted in 1945 between the old establishments of the Ganda ruling class formed at the turn of the century, on the one hand, and the new aspiring elements consisting of the rising traders and the emerging educated class, on the other hand, had attained a new peak level. The "new men" did not only feel the leadership in Buganda was heavily influenced by the British colonial authorities, but, being Ganda neo-traditionalist, they also wanted to put a break on what they saw as the erosion of Ganda culture and institutions. They also wanted some degree of democratization. With the intensification of the political crisis in the colony, different as the Bataka Party and Farmers Union were, they became "thoroughly mixed together."
As the principal organizers of both forces were Baganda and so the bulk of the people participating, the focus of attention inevitably shifted to the Kabaka and the political institutions of Buganda. The day before the first Lukiiko session of 1949, one of the leaders of Bataka Party warned the Kabaka that the Lukiiko would not sit unless the number of elected members was increased to 60 and certain chiefs were dismissed. (Apter, D.E. 1961: 257) The man was immediately arrested, hastily tried and imprisoned for two years. The following day crowds gathered for the opening session of the Lukiiko and the Bataka threatened to obstruct the proceedings if their claims were not attended to. The Kabaka, accorded them audience, and promised to look into the matter of chiefs. Thereafter, for the next two months there was much public debate, with both Bataka and Farmers Union addressing rallies. (Apter, D.E. 1961: 257) Finally, the Bataka leaders decided to petition the Kabaka directly and to make representation in person. (Apter, D.E. 1961: 258-9) To this effect a pamphlet telling people to come to Mengo was distributed, and the people came in large numbers. A delegation of eight representatives of the Bataka Party was admitted to the audience of the Kabaka, but while they were presenting their demands, the crowd became restless and the police was called. As the police was attempting to arrest certain leaders, there was resistance touching off violence and rioting ensued. Buildings in Mengo (8) were set on fire, and houses of certain unpopular chiefs also got burned in the rural areas. Normal governance broke down; and the situation went out of control. A state of emergency was declared, and both the Bataka Party and Farmers Union were banned.
Formation of UNC:
Following the ban of Uganda African Farmers Union in 1949, Musazi next organized the Federation of Partnerships of Uganda African Farmers (F.P.U.A.F.) in 1950. (Apter, D.E. 1961: 310-313) The "partners" registered at the Registry of Companies and Business Names were twenty men described as farmers. These included I.K. Musazi, Peter Sonko, George Lwanga, Erieza Bwete and others who had been prominent in the 1949 riots, Bataka Party or UAFU. The Federation had links with Fenner Brockaway, the British Labor Party liberal M.P. and enjoyed the warm support of the Congress of the Peoples against Imperialism. Unlike its predecessor, the UAFU, which was virtually limited to Buganda, the Federation was spread in most parts of eastern and northern Uganda. The Federation received immense technical assistance from foreign co-operators, and volunteers suggested by Brockaway were active in Uganda working for F.P.U.A.F. (Apter, D.E. 1961: 311) among such volunteers was an American, Dr. George Shepherd who Musazi had met in London. Dr. Shepherd was an idealist whose strong sympathy with the poor and oppressed had been shaped when, as a young boy, he lived with his missionary parents in China. (Stonehouse, J. 1960: 48) The arrival of Dr. Shepherd in Uganda in 1951 injected into the Federation very crucial elements in its management and eventual transformation into a political organization, the Uganda National Congress, the following year. Not only did he bring in badly needed management skills, he brought in political insight as well. There is evidence that he was a key catalyst in getting Musazi launch the Uganda National Congress (UNC). Dr. Shepherd himself was to write: "I soon decided that it was important, both for the welfare of the people of Uganda and the co-operative movement that a political party be launched. This would take the pressure off the Federation of Farmers to be a political unit itself. And it would bring into the field an organization that would openly deal in the political issues, which after all were the decisive ones."(Shepherd, G.W. 1955: 94)
The other source of the germ of the formation of UNC was a group of radical political activists who discussed the idea of the formation of an anti-colonial movement with Musazi in London. One of these radicals, Fenner Brockway was to write: "It is quite possible of course that Musazi thought of establishing Congress after the riots of 1949, but I don't think it took a very concrete form in his mind before the discussion which we had in London. I would not claim to be the author of the idea but certainly it was discussed by George Padmore, Dr. Leon Szur and myself. We urged Musazi strongly to establish a movement of this character and Dr. Szur particularly was responsible for insisting that it should be of an inter-racial nature. For this reason it was called the Uganda National Congress rather than Uganda African Congress. In practice, I don't think Indians or Europeans have joined but Musazi agreed that membership should not be limited to Africans in the hope of bringing in sympathizers of other races."(Ascherson, N. 1956:8)
In the absence of sizable participation of the Asians and Europeans, the anti-colonial movement led by Musazi consisted of essentially two tendencies: the ambivalent nationalism typified and led by Musazi, and the true (Kohn, H. 1964: 64) nationalism yet unorganized and leaderless. In his endeavors to constitute a political organization, due to his ambivalence, Musazi first approached a respected Muganda chief whom he thought had the appropriate stature and qualities to lead the movement. (Shepherd, G.W. 1955: 168-170) When this chief refused, and not discouraged from his search for an appropriate Muganda of stature to provide leadership, Musazi next approached Kabaka Mutesa (sic) himself, who also turned him down. Reluctance to participate in a nation-wide anti-colonial movement did not limit itself to the leadership of Buganda -- it pervaded the Ganda masses as a whole. Not only did the Baganda believe their interests were being catered for within the 1900 Agreement, but given the feudal character of their society, all political leadership, thought and organization was taken to repose in the Kabaka. There was no way a true national movement (9) would make headway in the Buganda of those days. George Shepherd did observe: "The Uganda National Congress might have died at birth if it had not been for the interest which was shown in it by several leaders from tribes other than Buganda."(Shepherd, G.W. 1955: 169-170) And so it was from leading chiefs and elders of Lango, Teso and Toro that Musazi found enthusiastic support for the formation of an anti-colonial movement, the UNC, launched on March 2, 1952.
1953 Buganda crisis:
The following year Buganda became engulfed in a major political crisis which was to have far-reaching effects on the politics of both Buganda and Uganda. By 1953, the decolonization process which had begun with India in 1947 was fast catching-up in Uganda. Yet much as the British desired Uganda to become independent as one country, as early as 1949 it had become clear that Buganda was set on a course of separating from the rest of Uganda. (Apter, D.E. 1961: 261 ;) And so, to proceed with the decolonization of Uganda, the British found it necessary to reverse the separatist tendencies of Buganda. To oversee this reversal, Sir Andrew Cohen was appointed Governor of Uganda. As head of the Africa Division in the Colonial Office, Sir Andrew had presided over the rapid political advance of the colonies in West Africa and was responsible for the relative democratization in other colonies. He arrived in Uganda as Governor in January 1952, and, after an intensive familiarization with the situation, took steps to weaken the forces leading Buganda to the path of separatism.
In March 1953, together with the Kabaka of Buganda, Mutesa II, Sir Andrew issued a joint memorandum on constitutional development and reform in Buganda. Among other reforms, two political changes were announced: 60 of the 89 Lukiiko (Buganda Parliament) members were to be elected, and the Kabaka agreed to consult a Lukiiko Committee before selecting his ministers. (Low, D.A. & Pratt, R.C. 1960: 317-349; Low, D.A. 1971: 106) These two reforms were bound to dramatically democratize politics in Buganda, and therefore greatly weaken the entrenched position of the neo-traditionalists who were holding the reigns of power. The doors to office and responsibility were also being opened to those elements in Buganda who were opposed to both British colonial rule and the neo-traditional chiefs and ministers, in one word the Uganda nationalists from Buganda. The other intended effect - and perhaps the most significant - was to begin the process of facilitating the atrophy of the Kabaka and other tribal institutions.
The bait launched by Sir Andrew seemed well swallowed by both the Kabaka and the Lukiiko until everything was thrown overboard by a speech made in Nairobi by Oliver Lyttleton (later Lord Chandos), the Colonial Secretary on 30th June, 1953. The speech alluded to the possibility "as time goes on of still larger measures of unification and federation of the whole of East African territories."(Low, D.A. & Pratt, R.C. 1960: 323) Reacting to the speech, the Kabaka wrote to the Governor that "the statement of the Secretary of State for the colonies is bound not only to shake the foundations of trust amongst our people but will badly damage the good relations which hitherto exists between Buganda and the British."(Low, D.A. & Pratt, R.C. 1960: 324) To this, the colonial authorities responded with assurances that the Kabaka dismissed as far weaker than previous ones. The Kabaka also made two demands: (a) that the affairs of Buganda be transferred from the colonial office to the foreign office; and (b) that a timetable for Buganda's (not Uganda's) independence be prepared. Clearly these two demands were intended to begin the process of detaching Buganda from the rest of Uganda. As the Kabaka was to argue, "the policy of developing a unified system of government along parliamentary lines must inevitably result in Buganda becoming less and less important in the future." (Low, D.A. & Pratt, R.C 1960: 325)
There was no way the British were going to accept the dismemberment of the colony. After long and patient-wearing negotiations intended to persuade the Kabaka to drop the demands, the Governor presented the Kabaka three conditions upon which cooperation with the British was to be based. When the Kabaka rejected these conditions, the Governor withdrew British recognition from Mutesa as provided for in the 1900 Agreement and deported him to Britain. The Baganda got thunderstruck by the news of the deportation, and a profound sense of pain and shock overwhelmed the kingdom. The Kabaka's sister collapsed and died on hearing the news, and her funeral was a peculiarly tense moment. All this was because, to the Baganda of those days, the Kabaka was the visible link between them and the cosmos. He played the role of a major psychological pillar of support. A move that undermined his authority was damning.
At the political level, the intrusion by the British - foreigners to boot - in a matter so intimate to the Ganda polity offended the Baganda as a whole, including those who had lost confidence in Mutesa during the 1949 riots. In fact, almost instantly, the deportation transformed Mutesa's image from that of the playboy of the 1940s into a hero. Beyond interference, the Baganda also felt a sense of pique. Before the deportation, the Baganda had believed that, unlike other nationalities in the rest of Uganda, they had never been conquered, that the British overrule over them was by invitation and for protection and education. They had therefore assumed the British could not deal with them summarily the way they did with other nationalities. The deportation dealt a serious blow to this illusion. It also bruised and challenged the pride and self-esteem of the Baganda as a collective. Even those who were nationalistic in outlook and those who had favored the democratization of the powers exercised by the Kabaka, got enraged by the deportation. As Professor Pratt was observed: "The rights and wrongs of the Governor's attitude counted less in their judgment than the seemingly arbitrary, abrupt and humiliating fashion with which the British dealt with . . ." the Kabaka. (Low, D.A. & Pratt, R.C. 1960: 334-335)
Following the deportation, the British initially prosecuted a strategy to have Mutesa replaced as Kabaka. Some efforts were made to persuade Mutesa to renounce his rights to the throne, and to get him to agree not to return to Uganda without the consent of the British government. When Mutesa could not acquiesce, the colonial authorities found themselves in a legal bind.(Low & Pratt 1960:333) The constitutional basis upon which the Governor could act in a crisis such as the one then raging was either Article 6 or Article 20 of the 1990 agreement. Article 20 provided that "should the Kabaka chiefs or people of Uganda (meaning Buganda) pursue, at any time, a policy which is distinctly disloyal to the British Protectorate; Her Majesty's Government will no longer consider themselves bound by the terms of this Agreement."(Kiwanuka, M.S.M. 1971: 299; Low, D.A. & Pratt, R.C. 1960: 362) In Article 6 the British Government pledged to recognize the Kabaka as the native ruler of Buganda as long as the Kabaka, chiefs and people of Buganda conformed to laws and rules instituted by the British Government. However, as the colonial authorities were eager to preserve the legal basis of the rest of the Buganda government, they stopped short of invoking these provisions.
Unable to replace Mutesa, the colonial authorities then resorted to negotiations. Addressing the Lukiiko on 3rd March 1954, Governor Cohen put forward the view that "a representative group of Baganda, with such independent help as could be secured, should think through their own problems in preparation for some subsequent discussions which he was prepared to hold with them."(Low, D.A. 1971: 114; & 136 footnote 54; also The Times 4 March, 1954) By independent help Cohen meant expert assistance in the form of an academic. This role fell upon Professor Keith Hancock, then Director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London. Hancock left London for Uganda on 21st June 1954, taking with him an assistant and a secretary. In Uganda he pitched camp at Namirembe Hill, the Anglican Church headquarters, rather than government premises. The Buganda committee that was selected to do business with Hancock "was not typical of the membership of the Lukiiko; and the absence from it of Amos Sempa, the exceptionally adroit Secretary of the Lukiiko was an indication that it had been formed with a view to its being easily repudiated if necessary." (Low, D.A. 1971: 118)
At the first meeting of the committee, Hancock was unanimously elected chairman. During the sessions that followed, the committee got polarized over the issue of what came to be known as a federal "fence" for Buganda. A number of committee members sought Buganda to be regarded as an entity separate and distinct from the rest of Uganda, something which Hancock did not quite accept. For many members of the Committee, Bishop Kiwanuka hit the nail on the head when he argued that the major problems would easily be resolved if it was recognized that Buganda was a nation. Hancock, after resisting this position for sometime eventually conceded that "a special relationship between Buganda, and Uganda might just be feasible."(Low. D.A. 1971: 122-123) Later, as had been planned the Governor joined the discussion in July 1954. The involvement of the Governor transformed the Buganda Constitution Committee into what came to be known as the Namirembe Conference. After fairly lengthy deliberations, the Conference drafted a new agreement to replace the 1900 Agreement. This was a pivotal accomplishment: it cleared the way for an accord to be reached in London early in 1955. By this accord, it was agreed the Kabaka would return, and the Lukiiko would accept the new Agreement. Following this Mutesa returned on 17th October 1955, amid tumultuous rejoicing. To Mutesa and the Baganda generally, whatever the contents of the 1955 Agreement (which was) signed on 18th October, the mere act of the return was viewed as triumph. (Low, D.A. 1971: 133) "The ability with which the Baganda won the return of the Kabaka heightened their separatist sentiments and chauvinism, leading them to assume they could "act and negotiate independently and without reference to the wishes and sentiments of other tribes of Uganda." (Low, D.A & Pratt, R.C. 1960: 349)
Political polarization begins:
The return of the Kabaka in 1955 through a resolution which seemed to be a triumph for Buganda exacerbated the feeling among the Baganda chauvinists that they were destined to rule the rest of Ugandans after independence. They had got imbued with this feeling from factors which we have discussed at the earlier part of the essay. They were also relatively wealthy compared to other Ugandans, had a greater degree of sophistication in European culture, and had relatively higher educational attainment - all of which arose from the British favors of the Baganda. The engine of this revanchism (Nzongola-Ntalaja, 1985: 545-546) was the neo-traditionalists. They had garnered themselves tremendous political prestige during the Kabaka's deportation; most Baganda felt they owed the return of the Kabaka to the neo-traditionalists. With this support from Buganda, having been used by the British to run the affairs of the kingdom for half a century, and, viewing the rest of the country as no more than an appendage to Buganda, the neo-traditionalist assumed power was to be passed on to them at independence. In this frame of mind, the neo-traditionalist began to act like people who had been understudying the British, and who merely had to work out the appropriate mechanism for the transfer of power.
This assumption and concomitant conduct was received in very bad taste by the rest of the colony, not ready to simply change masters. The first, openly high-powered resistance to these Ganda presumptions was voiced on the floor of the Legico. Assuming that conditions were ripe for power to be passed over to them, a representative of the neo-traditionalists moved a motion in the Legico in April 1956 that Uganda be granted independence by 1958. In the ensuing debate, George Magezi, later a prominent member of the UPC spoke for many when he opposed the motion saying: "We have no political party which is well represented throughout the country. All I can say is that every party is bending its head to Mengo."(Lowenkopf, M. 1961: 60 ref 2) All the Ganda representatives voted for the resolution except Father Masagazi, a Roman Catholic. Father Masagazi's vote is significant because he, like other opponents of the bill, was not opposed to self-government per se, but the fact that such a possibility in the immediate future would mean a Ganda dominated government which in turn, to him, would be neo-traditionalist (or Protestant) dominated government. The bill was defeated.
The message from this defeat landed on totally deaf ears. The neo-traditionalists still assumed power would be passed on to them at independence. To this effect, at a meeting of the Lukiiko in 1957, the Omuwankia (Treasurer) of Buganda let slip a remark that Uganda ought to become "a Federal state under the Kabaka". (Low, D.A. 1971: 191) Then in 1958 a committee of the Lukiiko announced that they had asked the colonial authorities to ensure that the Kabaka became "king" of the self-governing Uganda. These acts of chauvinism gave rise to a crescendo of hostility in the rest of the country. The Katikiros (Chancellors) of the Western Province kingdoms talked of forming the Western Provincial Council to resist Buganda. In the rest of the country, contrary to earlier expectations by Baganda, Legico members organized the District Councils to pass angry resolutions against the chauvinism of the Baganda. As the resentment to Ganda chauvinism mounted, rumors began to spread that "the old and widespread hostility against them (the Baganda chauvinists) would be channeled into a new-style political party." (Low, D.A. 1971: 190)
As all this was going on amongst the political groupings of Ugandans, the British methodically continued preparing the country for independence. On October 10, 1957 the British Secretary of State for the Colonies, while in Uganda as part of an East African fact finding mission, gave his approval to the unanimous view in the colony that direct elections for the Legico be held in 1958. (Bing, J.H. 1974: 40-41; 44-45) However, by this time the Buganda Government's initially positive stance toward direct elections had eroded, as had its concomitant enthusiasm to be involved in the Legico. Not only did Buganda view an accelerated movement toward independence with foreboding, but the neo-traditionalist had come to realize that direct elections in Buganda, whether to the Legico or to the Lukiiko, represented a serious threat to their hold on power in Buganda.
To stem this development, the neo-traditionalists engaged the colonial authorities in a duel over the Legico in the early part of 1958. (Bing, J.H. 1974: 43 footnote 41) The rationalization for the contradiction was the appointment by the new Governor, Sir Fredrick Crawford of two new African backbench members to replace the Governor and the Buganda Resident (Provincial Commissioner), and the naming of a substantive Speaker to replace the Governor who previously played the role of presiding over the proceedings of the Legico. This played right into the hands of the Baganda. These changes, the Baganda argued, were unconstitutional as they violated the 1955 Agreement by which the British had agreed to postpone all constitutional changes for a period of five years. Because of these changes, the Baganda further argued that the character of the Legico to which Buganda was required by law to appoint representatives had altered, and they were therefore not going to elect the five Baganda members of the Legico. The rest of the country went through the electoral process and the new 62 members Legislative Council assembled in the terminal weeks of 1958.
In the absence of the Ganda neo-traditionalists who were skeptical of all progress towards independence, the non-Baganda African representatives in the new Legico unanimously urged the colonial authorities to speed up the process to full independence. They supported and participated in a Committee appointed by the Governor "to consider and to recommend to the Governor the form of direct elections on a common roll for representative members of the Legislative Council to be introduced in 1961". (Bing, J.H. 1974: 45-48) The Committee was also to inquire into "the size and composition of the Legislative and also possibly the Government." The fifteen member Committee consisted of the chairman, J. V. Wild, the Administrative Secretary, two other Europeans, two Asians and ten Africans, of whom six (11) were directly elected representative members of the Legico. There was no Muganda in the Committee, as the Kabaka's government refused to put forward names for additional appointments to represent Baganda.
By this time the polarization of Uganda politics, with Baganda chauvinists on one side, and the rest of the Ugandans on the other side was becoming obvious. The neo-traditionalist who were then leading Buganda were apprehensive about the position of Buganda after independence. They knew that a balance of power between Buganda and the rest of Uganda which was favorable to them and which ensured their dominance in Buganda depended upon the British. Because of the strong ties between the British and the neo-traditionalists which had existed since the battle of Mengo in 1892, the neo-traditionalists realized the British were more inhibited from a blunt use of central government powers against Buganda than a nationalist government that was led by non-Ganda or by Ganda opposed to the neo-traditionalists. The Baganda, therefore, desired, at the very least, constitutional guarantees before central authority passed into African hands. The non-Ganda, on the other had, were pressing for rapid progress toward full independence.
It was in the throes of these fleeting developments toward independence that Apollo Milton Obote, the man who was to become "the culture hero, the prophet," and the principal exponent of the psychic state of the members of what was to become the UPC was to emerge. Obote had returned to Uganda in 1956 from Kenya where he had gone to work. (Gertzel, C. 1974: 47-51) While in Kenya he had got deeply involved in the anti-colonial struggles over there: he had been a very active member of the Kenya African Union before it was prescribed, and later was one of the leading members of Nairobi African Congress Party. At the time of his return, Lango, his home district, was represented in the Legico by Yakobo Omonya, a man of limited political skills. With Obote, one of the first people from the district to reach Makerere University, a man who had been forged into a consummate politician in the struggles in Kenya in the theatre, it was not long before Omonya was prevailed upon to make room. Subsequently, in December 1957, Milton Obote was elected to represent Lango District in the Legico. He took his seat in March 1958. Apart from using the Chambers of the Council to relentlessly and courageously wage struggles against colonialism, he also joined other national-democrats in the "opposition to Protectorate government proposals which accorded Buganda differential political treatment from the rest of the country." Within a short time in the Legico, he had established himself as the most articulate anti-colonial spokesman and was generally recognized as the leader of the unofficial members of the Council.
Crisis in UNC:
In the UNC, too, the party under whose umbrella he had been elected to the Legico, Obote's political fortunes were fast rising. When in December 1958, the UNC split and a section of it formed the Uganda Peoples' Union (UPU), Obote who remained in the UNC rapidly acquired a commanding position in the dominant wing of the party. This position was to prove a major asset in the ideological crisis that UNC was later to undergo. The crisis arose out of a need for the UNC to transform itself from a 'primary' or 'secondary' resistance movement (Ranger, T.O. 1968: ; Stokes, E. 1970: 100-106) which both the Bataka Party and Uganda Farmers Union respectively had been, into a modern anti-colonial movement which would not only be anti-imperialist but would also champion the aspirations of minorities. At one time this need had caused a number of the younger members of the UNC to break-off and form the abortive United Congress Party. (Apter, D.E. 1961: 333) The issue which came to be symptomatic of the crisis was the UNC office in Cairo. John Kale or Kalekezi (or Kalisa), after his expulsion from Makerere University, had gone to Cairo and opened an office for UNC. This office did propaganda work with Radio Cairo, and acted as a link between the anti-colonial movement in Uganda and the democratic forces in the anti-imperialist world. (Apter, D.E. 1961: 333) The merits of this office were disputed, and the UNC was to seriously split over this disagreement. A section of the membership of UNC led by Musazi felt that the Cairo office was not only a means of trading "the imperialism of one country for that of another, especially a country (meaning Egypt) that had for 2500 years controlled the whole Nile Valley, but also communism."(Apter, D.E. 1961: 334 footnote 59) The other section of UNC, consisting of elements younger than Musazi, but with greater exposure to the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles elsewhere, not only believed in maintaining contacts with the anti-imperialists world, but desired a more radical nationalist movement of the mobilizing type, striking firmly for a united Uganda while attacking the parochialism of the Lukiiko and Baganda.
The contention between these two political lines came to a head on January 12, 1959. The previous month three senior members of the UNC (Abu Mayanja, Jolly Joe Kiwanuka, and Dr. Kanunka) had attended the Pan-African Congress in Accra, Ghana. They had participated in passing resolutions which among other things, recommended that "those African traditional institutions whether political, social or economic which clearly have shown their reactionary character and the sordid support of colonialism be condemned."(Apter, D.E. 1961:334) Returning from Accra via Cairo, where they called at the controversial office, Kiwanuka defended the Cairo office and identified the real issue at stake: "Uganda cannot remain an island in a sea of Pan-African and universal nationalism. Our establishment of a national office in Cairo has marked a great era in our struggle. It has broken the chains of isolation, and focused world attention on the seriousness of the Uganda people in our unshakable upsurge for freedom." (Apter, D.E. 1961: 334)
To Musazi, that was sacrilege which could not be tolerated in Congress. He proceeded to expel some six (12) of the most significant officials of the UNC who supported the Cairo office. (Apter, D.E. 1961: 334) The response of the six and their political line did not take long to come: at the Annual Delegates Conference held on January 12, 1959, Ignatius Musazi, President of UNC, was expelled from the Congress and Apollo Milton Obote elected to replace him. The conference also went on to endorse all the resolutions taken at the Accra Conference. The significance of these events are are succinctly captured by David Apter's observation: "the old Congress ended . . . Congress had now entered the Pan-African phase of nationalism."(Apter, D.E. 1961: 334) From then on too, the non-Ganda joined UNC in large numbers; "formerly under Ganda leadership, it made little headway."(La Fontaine in Low, D.A. 1971: 254 footnote 64)
Uganda National Movement:
With Obote's election as President of UNC, both the leadership of the UNC, the most significant political organization in the country, and the unofficial members of the Legico had dovetailed into one person. Furthermore, for the first time in about three centuries, the initiative was in the hands of the non-Baganda. The Baganda had not only lost the leadership of the forces then moving history at the time, but their opponents had the upper hand in the Wild Committee which was setting up the ground rules for independence. It was clear that the attempt to stem the tide by refusing to participate in the Committee had not affected anything. The rest of the country had warmly received the Committee, according it public meetings and submitting memoranda. Something had to be done to maintain the 'old glory'. The Baganda elites of disparate political persuasion desperately closed ranks behind an all-Baganda protest movement, the Uganda National Movement (UNM). (Ghai, D.P. 1970: 755-770; Kiwanuka, M.S.M. 1976 :) Ostensibly to protest the British insistence upon minority safeguards, the UNM was essentially to forge unity among the Baganda who were then scattered in numerous small and insignificant parties, so that they could preserve their identity and protect what they viewed as their vital interests.
The UNM leadership ingeniously chose the dominance by non-Africans of trade and business as the issue to rally around. Because of the widespread dislike of Asian traders throughout Uganda, a trade boycott was bound to enlist popular support; indeed, the boycott they called for was an immediate and total success in Buganda. However, largely because of the deep mistrust of the Baganda by other nationalities, and also the opposition to the boycott from the influential non-Ganda leaders of the rest of the country in the Legico, the UNM failed to gain ground in areas outside Buganda. In any case the essence of UNM was resistance to the Wild Committee which, as has already been indicated, was warmly received by the rest of the country. The UNM also lost a lot of support by hurling insults and attacks at the Legico, a body which the rest of the country recognized and was represented in. Finally, because some of the principal concerns of UNM were with the prestige and status of the Kabaka, the rest of the country was totally aloof, if not hostile in some cases.
Formation of UPC:
As though to deliberately rub in the alienation of the Baganda from the rest of the country, the UNM organized large meetings in Kampala. These meetings always culminated in the singing of the Buganda national anthem as the crowd faced towards the Kabaka's palace at Mengo. As a Ganda movement intended to rally all the Baganda, UNM was undoubtedly a tremendous success. It declared war on all political parties, and nearly all the Ganda political leaders were drawn into it, with Mulira and Musazi playing the most prominent roles. The unintended effect of all this success, however, was for the non-Baganda to realize the necessity of unified political effort, so that on March 9, 1960, the Obote wing of UNC and UPU amalgamated to form the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC). Professor Low, making a contemporary observation, wrote that: the "UPC whose prime function - the opposition to the pretensions of the Baganda - fitted precisely the widespread anti-Baganda feeling in the rest of the country." (Low, D.A. 1971: 209) The other effect of the UNM was on the colonial authorities: they became very cautious when dealing with the Baganda, always making sure they told them the truth in as painless a manner as possible. In December 1959, for example, when releasing the findings of the Wild Commission, they refrained from endorsing the majority view for fear it would provoke similar reactions as the UNM. However, they endorsed the crucial recommendation that general elections should be held in 1961 prior to the resolution of the federal-unity constitutional deadlock. Nevertheless, all this caution did not stop the Baganda from engaging in a renewed round of issuing statements and passing resolutions threatening secession. They also threatened to boycott the elections unless prior constitutional arrangements guaranteeing Buganda's autonomy could be secured. Later in June 1960 both Buganda and Members of the Legico sent delegations to London to argue their respective positions: for Buganda, that a constitutional settlement precedes direct elections; for the non-Baganda, that the full recommendations of the Wild Commission be implemented.
Although the colonial authorities gave soothing and compromising responses to both delegations, they continued to prepare for elections. As a response to this firm position taken by the colonial authorities, the Lukiiko voted in December 1960 to secede from Uganda. Unaffected by this vote, the colonial authorities went ahead. The next measure the Baganda adopted was to boycott the elections. Buganda with 24 electoral constituencies had 36,000 voters, a mere 4 to 5% of eligible voters registering. This was in stark contrast to the rest of the country that consisted of 58 electoral constituencies and where 1,300,433 out of the estimated 1,500,000 to 1,750,000 registered to vote, a figure which represented over 75% of those enfranchised. (Obote, A.M. 1986:29)
There is no doubt that the boycott was effective; it clearly demonstrated the existence of a contradiction which could not be overlooked. As Obote was later to observe, no one could "disregard or ignore the serious political situation which the boycott had imposed on national unity and on the institution of parliament as well as on governance by ballot."(Obote, A.M. 1986: No. 57 page 30) The source of this impasse was the fear of the neo-traditionalists, the people who wielded immense influence over political opinion in Buganda, that they would lose their influence in an independent Uganda. They sought to use the status of the Kabaka as a trump card; and to perpetuate their power and influence it was necessary to retain Buganda as a semi-autonomous entity in an independent Uganda. Given this situation, to break the deadlock, it was necessary to create conditions which would assuage the fears of the neo-traditionalists. A formula to do just that was put forward by the Relationship Commission. (Obote, A.M. 1986: 31) In the opinion of the Commission, Buganda was to be granted a federal status, and the members of Parliament representing it should be elected indirectly, with the Lukiiko acting as an electoral college. This formula was hinted to Mengo, and the opinion of UPC on it sought by the Commission.
Given the circumstances obtaining at the time, there was no way Democratic Party, the other major political party in the country, would view with sympathy the predicament of the neo-traditionalist - a state of mind which the Munster Commission proposals assumed. Not only were the interests of the DP and the neo-traditionalists mutually exclusive; their differences were very sharp and deep-rooted. The two forces and the antagonism between them had been forged in the religious conflicts and wars that characterized Buganda in the last quarter of the 19th century. The antagonism between the two forces reached its peak when in February 1892 they fought a pitched battle as Protestants and Catholics, and the Protestants assisted by Captain Lugard won the war. Subsequent to this victory a Protestant oligarchy was established in Buganda, and Catholics were discriminated against in the appointment of chiefs. This state of affairs obtained throughout the entire colonial period, and eventually constituted the grievance upon which the DP was based. Formed in 1954, the DP was essentially organized to redress the discrimination of Catholics. To do this required the dismantling of the system that guaranteed Protestant dominance in Buganda, something which would have meant the collapse of the neo-traditionalist regime. There is therefore no way that the two forces would find common ground or the DP could acquiesce to perpetuate a power arrangement which favored the neo-traditionalists for even an extra day. As a matter of fact they considered the outcome of the 1961 elections as a great victory over the neo-traditionalists which nobody should rob from them. In the words of Kabaka Mutesa: "the DPs were puffed up with pride and success" (Mutesa, E. 1967:16) as a result of the 1961 elections.
Eventually when Obote began discussing the recommendations of the Munster Commission on the direct elections of the Lukiiko with the Mengo authorities, he "found that they were in some kind of quandary. They were not sure of whether or not to accept it and the reason for that uncertainty lay in the dissolution of the Lukiiko and the election of a new one on adult universal franchise and in secret. The Lukiiko had some very vocal members who wanted nothing to do with the National Assembly; in December 1959, those vocal members had made the Lukiiko to pass a resolution which purported to excise Buganda from Uganda - seccetion. The Mengo Ministers, particularly the Katikiro (Prime Minister), Michael Kintu, were fearful that accepting the Commission's recommendation could lead to the fall of the Mengo government. Kintu told me that right from the 1900 Buganda Agreement, Buganda recognized only British Protectorate authority as being above that of the Lukiiko and that the British were in collusion with the political Parties to impose onto Buganda and above the Lukiiko another authority, the National Assembly and a Uganda Government. Left to Michael Kintu, there was no way of resolving the impasse. I therefore took the matter to the Kabaka Sir Edward Mutesa and the impasse was resolved."(Obote, A.M. 1986)
UPC- KY alliance:
Subsequently, on 5th September 1961, Obote, as UPC leader, issued a statement in which he outlined a strategy for persuading Buganda to participate in the forthcoming constitutional conference to prepare for independence. He invited the Lukiiko to join hands with the UPC and form a "partnership" during the conference. He pointed out that it was the Lukiiko, and not the Buganda DP members of Parliament that was supported by the overwhelming majority of the people in Buganda. He argued that since, as evidenced by the results of the elections, UPC represented the majority of those outside Buganda, then "in the event of the opposition party (UPC) coming to an understanding with the Lukiiko, the British Government must accept that understanding with the Lukiiko as one between Buganda and the rest of the country."(Mutibwa, P.N. 1982: 275) Four days later, a UPC delegation led by Obote met a Buganda delegation led by the Katikiro, Michael Kintu. Later in the day a reliable source was quoted by `Uganda Argus' as saying: "that full and complete agreement had been reached on points which were either left open when the Constitutional Committee saw the Governor, or on which there was disagreement." (Mutibwa, P.N. 1982: 276) Following from this accord, Buganda took steps to attend the conference that began on 18th September. As expected, the UPC supported Buganda's desires on the manner of selecting her 21 representatives to the National Assembly. The two parties also advanced their common position on the timetable for the next elections. Against strong opposition from the DP, these two demands were endorsed by the conference, and a de facto alliance between UPC and the neo-traditionalists sealed.
After the Constitutional Conference, the next major process that greatly affected the fortunes of UPC and the country as a whole was the elections of 1962. A unanimous consensus had been arrived at that however important the elections of March 1961 had been, in view of the boycott, they could not constitute the basis for governance. To remedy this, the DP had proposed that fresh elections should be held after independence. Both the UPC and the Buganda delegations had pressed for fresh elections immediately and before independence. The Conference eventually resolved that elections would be held in April 1962. It was also ruled that the elections of the Lukiiko of Buganda should be early enough for it to take decisions on the form of elections in Buganda at least 14 days before the nomination day for national elections. This deadline was necessary in case the Lukiiko opted for direct elections, and so voters in Buganda would have had to be registered at the same time as those of the rest of the country.
However, much as the neo-traditionalists had gotten in place an electoral procedure in accord with their desire, they did not as yet have an electoral machine. Such machinery was to be launched on Saturday, June 10, 1961 at a mammoth demonstration against the election the previous March of a DP government led by Benedicto Kiwanuka. (Hancock, I.R. 1970:419) Kiwanuka's `sins' were three: he was a Catholic who had opposed the neo-traditionalists; he had fought the elections in Buganda despite the boycott; and he was a commoner who had dared set himself above the Kabaka. To the demonstrators, the actions of Kiwanuka constituted sacrilege and Kiwanuka was a traitor. The demonstrators made it clear they regarded Kiwanuka's government illegitimate. The movement to lead the resistance to DP was called Kabaka Yekka (KY). Its' principal objectives were neo-traditionalist in character: "to see that political changes do not destroy the good customs and traditions" . . . of Buganda (Hancock, I.R. 1970:422); and, not to allow anybody to be above the Kabaka.
As an election machine, KY totally outclassed the DP and spread like wild fire throughout the Buganda countryside. While a number of social and political factors were favorable to KY, the most damning to the DP was the presentation of the issue as a choice between "Ben" (Kiwanuka) and the Kabaka. "In posing the choice this way, Kabaka Yekka was presented as the defender of the faith, the party which was for Buganda and the throne. The Democratic Party had no counter to this sort of propaganda. Kiwanuka announced an increase in prices paid to coffee farmers, he promised to turn Buganda into a democracy, he denounced "reactionaries" and "tribalists", and his followers swore loyalty to their Kabaka. The difficulty was the chiefs and campaigners were able to insist that to oppose the Kabaka Yekka was to oppose Kabaka." (Hancock, I.R. 1970:432) A pamphlet by one of the leading members of KY speculated that DP intended to offer national leadership to some commoner instead of the Kabaka. Much as this assertion alone was adequate to incense the Baganda, the author went on to pose the question: "What sort of Muganda are you who allows Benedicto Kiwanuka or any other person to sit over the Kabaka of Buganda?"(Hancock, I.R. 1970:433) The meaning of this rhetorical question was devastating to DP. "It was a question which reminded a Catholic (Muganda) that he was first of all a Muganda that the election was about identity and not policy."(Hancock, I.R. 1970: 433) The DP had no issue with equivalent power to evoke, and so long before the elections were held the results were a foregone conclusion. The KY won 69 out of 72 seats and proceeded to elect the 21 representatives from Buganda to the National Assembly. In April, after national elections in which UPC won 37 as against DPs 22 seats, the alliance between UPC and KY formed the government led by Obote as Prime Minister.
Much as these elections were carried out throughout the colony and resulted in a government which was considered legitimate by all parts of Uganda, there still remained some burning constitutional issues to be resolved before independence. The most contentious issue of them all was the "lost counties." In May 1962, just as Obote was settling down at his desk as Prime Minister, the Privy Council Council Commission chaired by Lord Molson published its findings on the "lost counties". Noting the discrimination among other violations of the democratic rights of the Banyoro resident in the counties, the Commission recommended the return of the counties of Buyaga and Bugangazzi to Bunyoro. As expected Buganda rejected these proposals and Bunyoro accepted them. Bunyoro however demanded that this transfer must be effected before the start of the Constitutional Conference scheduled for June 12, 1961. This demand by Bunyoro, coupled with that from Buganda that she would not participate in the conference unless her financial relationship was regularized before then, sparked off speculations about the success of the conference.
Amidst these fears, the conference took place as scheduled and the "lost counties" issue dominated the proceedings. On 27 June, as the Buganda delegation was walking out of the Conference, having sensed the dominant mood, the Colonial Secretary, Mr. Maudling, delivered the verdict of the British government. Buyaga and Bugangazzi were to remain part of Buganda while being administered by the Central Government, and "after not less than two years, the National Assembly shall decide on the date for a referendum - in which the people of the counties will say whether they prefer to be in Buganda or Bunyoro, or remain under the Central Government."(Mutibwa, P.M. 1982: 296) Obote, the Prime Minister, accepted this ruling but both Buganda and Bunyoro had misgivings. Dr. Majugo, a member of the Bunyoro delegation, declared on his return to Uganda, that Independence Day, 9 October, would be "a funeral in Bunyoro" and that Bunyoro would not be part of the independence celebrations. (Mutibwa, P.M. 1982: 297) Be that as it may, Uganda became independent on 9 October 1962, with Milton Obote, the leader of UPC, as head of Government.
There were two principal perspectives of independence. The progressive national-democratic forces led by Obote regarded independence as no more than a necessary precondition for the social, economic and cultural liberation of the people of Uganda. This tendency clearly saw the need for radical social reforms in close cooperation with progressive forces abroad. Obote was very clear about the necessity to forge a nation out of disparate nationalities inhabiting Uganda, and that this was to be done in the process of struggle against imperialism, feudalism and ethnic chauvinism. He also saw the need to dismantle the various structures of oppression erected in Uganda before and during the colonial period. The reactionary tendency of the anti-colonial movement, on the other hand, desired to emasculate independence of its democratic content and make it serve the interests of those classes and political groups which are averse to any radical changes in the socio-economic structure of Uganda. This tendency regarded the attainment of independence as the ultimate objective. To attain its objectives, this tendency relied on imperialism to help it halt any further development of national-democratic liberation in Uganda.
The lost counties issue:
The first major national-democratic undertaking the UPC embarked on after independence was the resolution of the "lost counties" issue. Contrary to the attempt by the UPC who have sought to portray this as struggle over the control of tax revenue, the demand by detractors Bunyoro for the return of the counties was informed by a strong desire for liberation from nationality oppression. These counties had been turned over to Buganda as a reward for assisting in British subjugation of the Banyoro therefore independence would not be real for Banyoro before the return of the counties. Moreover, the Banyoro in the counties were being treated like colonial subjects, who were among other things being forced to abandon their language and adopt Luganda. There is no doubt that the return of the counties would restore the dignity and self-esteem of the Banyoro to a great extent. However, much as the Constitutional conference had resolved that a referendum would be held in the "lost counties" to determine where the residents wanted to be administered from, things were not that easy and straightforward.
The imminence of this referendum unleashed one of the most fervent political struggles Uganda has known. The protagonists in this struggle were the forces of national-democratic liberation led by Obote, on the one hand, and Buganda chauvinism organized by the neo-traditionalists on the other. As the Government of the day was an alliance between UPC and KY, the latter having a stake in the referendum, the UPC leadership had to ensure that it had the necessary parliamentary strength to pass the legislation authorizing and laying down the ground rules for the referendum. By the middle of 1964 this strength had been attained, and Parliament passed the Referendum Bill which provided that only those registered to vote in the counties in 1962 would be eligible to vote. This provision was aimed at excluding the Baganda ex-servicemen who the Buganda administration was settling into the area under the so-called Ndaiga scheme intended to influence the results of the referendum. The Ndaiga scheme had been set up as a device to make double sure Buganda did not lose the "lost counties". To accord it legitimacy, the Kabaka had lent it his personal involvement. He had moved in and resided in the "lost counties" for sometime. The scheme had also bee allocated money well in excess of 30,000 British pounds. Notwithstanding all these efforts, when the results of the referendum were declared on 5th November, the residents had voted overwhelmingly to be part of the Kingdom of Bunyoro. It was a decision that was welcomed not only in Bunyoro, but by all the minority nationalities in the country.
Gulu Conference, 1964:
By this time the principal contradiction of the immediate post-colonial phase of Uganda's history, namely national-democratic liberation, on the one hand; and the compradors, feudalists and other reactionary pre-capitalist and anti-democratic forces, on the other hand, was coming to the fore. Major realignment of political forces took place, with the forces of national-democratic liberation coalescing around Obote. About this time, Grace Ibingira, who was to emerge as the leading organizer of the anti-national-democratic forces was to write: "When Obote later dissolved the alliance and began to plot the political death of Buganda, we chose, rather than betray our allies and friends, to stand by them in what eventually became a very costly undertaking for us."(Ibingira, G.S. 1973: 204) The costly undertaking was the plot to remove the national-democratic elements from the leadership of the UPC and therefore, the country.
The first major move in this undertaking was to weaken the forces of national-democratic liberation by removing John Kakonge from being Secretary General of UPC and strengthen the anti-national-democratic forces by getting Grace Ibingira to be Secretary General of the party. This was done at the Annual Delegates Conference of the UPC held at Gulu in 1964. At that conference, as though to underscore the respective political character of the two forces locked-up in struggle, John Kakonge was accused of producing a report which had "communist leanings."
Following his election to the second most powerful post in the party, Ibingira made a trip to the United States of America to shop for funds in December 1964. He returned with money estimated by Obote to be one million dollars (Obote, A.M. 1968:35). "By 1965 there was a sudden manifestation of opulence among a section of UPC leadership generally associated with Ibingira, including Branch Chairman. There was talk about Ibingira and "the dollars" at all levels of the party."(Nabudere, D.W. 1980:259) With this money, the resistance to national-democratic liberation embarked on a protracted struggle to remove Obote from the leadership of the UPC.
The plot for this involved the enlargement of the National Council of UPC, the organ which elects the President of the party, in such a manner that the resistance would be in the majority. (Obote, A.M. 1968:20) For this, a scheme which Professor Mazrui appropriately named the "Trojan Horse" was contrived. As many Baganda as possible were to be "herded" into UPC. To effect this, in July 1965 Edward Mutesa, the Kabaka of Buganda and President of Uganda convened and chaired a meeting of KY at which it was decided that KY members should join UPC in large numbers. Once in the party they were to use their numerical strength to change the leadership of the party. To spur the Baganda into joining the UPC, members of the Cabinet who were part of the plot, deliberately leaked to the press cabinet resolutions on the plan to call surprise elections. In the leakage it was pointed out that the impending elections could effect the re-election of Mutesa as President of Uganda, unless the Baganda were in a commanding position within the UPC. As expected the leakage alarmed the Baganda, and they enlisted as members of the UPC in large numbers. As all this was happening, in the absence of Obote, who was out the country visiting the Far East, Grace Ibingira as Secretary General of UPC convened an executive meeting of the party to consider proposals to increase the number of representatives from Buganda to the National Council from 3 to 18. (Obote, A.M. 1968: 23) Much as this proposal was resoundingly defeated, it was tabled again for discussion in the first week of October 1965 when it was once again defeated.
When it became clear that the "Trojan Horse" stratagem could not work, Obote's opponents resorted to attempting an outright military coup. Scheduled to take place on Independence Day (9th October, 1965), clear evidence of it first got revealed on 7th October 1965. That day five incidents which initially appeared coincidental, but which were later found to have been orchestrated occurred. First, Obote in his capacity as Prime Minister received a letter from Mengo (Mutesa) informing him that a group of left-wingers (Communists) were intending to overthrow the Government on or about 9th October 1965. The letter requested the Prime Minister as head of Government to issue a statement condemning any such plot. The second incident was an allegation made at the end of a Cabinet meeting by Grace Ibingira that he had uncovered a plot to assassinate several people, including himself, during the independence anniversary. The third was a letter written to the Minster of Internal Affairs by the late Daudi Ochieng, KY Member of Parliament, and copied to the Prime Minister, requesting the Minister to send a senior Police Officer to take statement form an unnamed person regarding the activities of Idi Amin, Deputy Commander of the Army. In the letter Daudi Ochieng observed that upon taking the statement, the Government would suspend Amin from the Army.
The fourth incident was a report by the then Commander of the Uganda Army, Shaban Opolot, to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defense that Opolot had received information that Baganda were plotting to assassinate him, and that soldiers from the Congo would attack the headquarters of the Uganda Army during the independence anniversary celebrations. The object of all these reports - all of which were investigated and found to be false was to create confusion and panic so that the coup could be carried out.
The fifth aspect of the conspiracy was the activities of Major Katabarwa, brother of Grace Ibingira who was Commandant of the Army Training Wing stationed in Jinja. He went to Kampala on 7th October, 1965 and on return to Jinja contacted a number of officers, including two who were on open charge and therefore not on duty, to draw arms and report to Brigadier Opolot at Army Headquarters in Kampala. However, much as these officers reported and "virtually took control of the Army Headquarters", the army refused to carry out their orders and the intended coup failed.
The failure of the October coup plot did not discourage the plotters, rather it spurred them to make a more daring attempt. The major move in this attempt was made in November, 1965 when Brigadier Opolot arranged for two units of the Army to exchange barracks.(Obote, A.M. 1968:23) The intention of this change was to remove the army unit stationed in Jinja, and which had refused to participate in the coup attempt the previous month. However, according to the regulations then in force, such a change could only take place after notification which have been issued be given six months prior, and with the approval of the Chief of Defense Staff Committee composed of senior officers and chaired by the Minister responsible for Defense. Brigadier Opolot was violating all the regulations." The notification was made on 28th November 1965 in a secret letter to the Commanders of the two units, and the change over was to be completed by the end of December 1965. The Chief of Defense Staff Committee knew nothing about the change, and the Ministry was not informed although the secret letter was said to have been copied to the Ministry."(Obote, A.M. 1968: 23) The secret leaked out and Obote ordered Brigadier Opolot to follow proper procedure.
Then in December 1965, Mutesa placed orders for heavy weapons with a Kampala firm. The arms were to come from Britain. On this Obote was later to write: "We have letters from a British firm which show that the firm was not happy with the orders on the grounds that the weapons ordered were too heavy for an individual and that the firm had always dealt with Governments only. One of the letters from the Kampala firm states that President Mutesa had placed the orders on behalf of the Uganda Army and that, although the Kabaka's Government was to pay for the arms, that only meant that the President, in his capacity as the Kabaka, was to have the first trial of arms before handing them over to the army." Obote, A.M. 1968) the next move was made in Parliament on 4th February 1966. Daudi Ochieng', a KY Member of Parliament moved a motion: "That this House do urge the Government to suspend from duty Col. Idi Amin of the Uganda Army forthwith pending conclusions of police investigations into allegations regarding his bank account which should the be passed on to the appropriate authority whose decision on the matter should be made public." (Obote, A.M. 1968: 24-25) During the course of introducing his motion, Ochieng' took liberty to cast aspersions on the credibility of Obote (the Prime Minister), Felix Onama (the Minister of Defense), and Adoko Nekyon (the Minister of Planning). The three officials, Ochieng' alleged, had improperly obtained ivory, gold and money from Congolese rebels. Daudi Ochieng' asserted that within 24 days of 5th February, 1965, Amin had banked a total of 340,000 Uganda shillings - at that time a very large sum of money.
The context in which these allegations were being made was the situation in which the Government of Uganda was involved in covert operations to aid the rebel (Mujaju, A.B. 1987: 484) government led by Gbenye which was fighting against the newly installed government of Congo (Kinshansha) the headed by Moise Tshombe. The Congolese government had retaliated by bombing villages in the then west Nile District of Uganda. The bombings were well known in Uganda, and Ochieng sought to take advantage of it to arouse anger and outrage in the country by cynically portraying the money as a kind of war booty which should have been reported to the government but which Amin improperly put to personal use. Presented thus, Amin needed to be investigated. The object of this motion, however, was not so much to seek investigation nor was it to seek a vote of censure on the officials mentioned; rather, it was two-fold. First, it was intended to provide the premise from which Amin could be temporarily removed from the post of Chief-of-Staff, where he constituted a stumbling block to the planned coup. Secondly, the motion and the discussion consequent to it was to create what "The Guardian" called optimum conditions for a coup. (Mujaju, A.B. 1987) The accuracy of this observation is borne out by the fact that at the Cabinet meeting to discuss the motion, "those Ministers who had sought to achieve their objectives on 4th of February, did not like the subsequent appointment of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the allegations."(Obote, A.M. 1968: 26) They merely wanted action on suspension.
As all this was happening, Obote maintained his cool and continued with his schedules as usual. The previous November he had promised but not fixed a date to tour the northern region in January or February of 1966. The date for the tour was fixed in January, and he left for the tour in on February the 1st. While still on the tour, a platoon of soldiers was sent to the north to bring Obote back to Kampala, dead or alive. This attempt to kidnap Obote was a desperate move the resistance took after failing to get the troops to overthrow the government. When this kidnapping also failed, another desperate attempt was made by way of requesting the British High Commissioner for military assistance on February the 8th. This too failed. Obote returned to Kampala on his own volition on 12th February and, in his own words, realized "the situation was very serious."(Obote, A.M. 1968: 25) He immediately ordered the troops back to their barracks, and sought to discuss the situation with Mutesa, the then President. He also convened an emergency meeting of the Cabinet on 14th February at which he called on the Ministers who had lost confidence in him, and had believed in the allegations by Daudi Ochieng to resign. None resigned. Three days later Obote left for official duties in Nairobi, returning on 19th February when he learned of a circular by Brigadier Opolot to all army units, directing them to go for field exercises. In this circular," Opolot actually stated that because the situation had been normal throughout February 1966, and because for some period of months the army had not done field exercises, February 1966 was the most suitable."(Obote, A.M. 1968: 26) Obote found these observations curious to say the least, ordered cancellation of the exercises and later took what he termed "drastic action". The drastic action was the detention of the five ministers involved in the plot to overthrow the government.
The detention of the five ministers completely upset the strategy of the anti-national-democratic forces, and set the stage for a confrontation which would result in a national-democratic revolution. With Ibingira out of circulation, the leadership of the anti-national-democratic forces reverted to Kabaka Mutesa. However, lacking the political acumen of Ibingira, Mutesa was like a "rudderless ship moving from blunder to blunder" and playing right into Obote's hands. Viewing the situation unveiled by the detention of the ministers as requiring drastic measures, Mutesa took steps to arrange for a military takeover. For this he enlisted the support and participation of Brigadier Opolot, and also sought military intervention by a foreign country, suspected to be Britain. When none of these could materialize, Mutesa, as Kabaka of Buganda issued an ultimatum for the Central Government to vacate the soil of Buganda before May 30, 1966. Although he later said this was a mere bargaining chip, both his friends and foes interpreted the ultimatum to mean de facto secession of Buganda from the rest of Uganda. As a response to the ultimatum, Obote, as head of the Government of Uganda, declared a state of emergency throughout Uganda. Subsequently, on the 1st of June, in a move which treated the ultimatum as act of rebellion, Obote ordered units of the Uganda Army to march on the Kabaka's palace at Mengo. It had been reported that the Kabaka had amassed arms in the palace in readiness for war, and the troops were to search the palace. A battle between the advancing Uganda Army and the palace "guards" ensued. Eventually, after twelve hours of fierce fighting, the Uganda Army established control. The Kabaka had escaped from the palace, and the stage set for a new order in Uganda.
The process of defining the national-democratic revolution in Uganda went through two stages. The first was the abrogation of the 1962 Constitution and its replacement by the 1966 Constitution, which, though interim, made sweeping changes. It nullified all federal provisions which had been the principal character-defining aspect of the old order as enshrined in the 1962 Constitution, and replaced them with instruments for a single unified government. The kingdom of Buganda and the three federal states of Ankole, Bunyoro and Toro lost their autonomy and semi-autonomy respectively; Buganda lost its right to elect its Members of Parliament indirectly; and the Kabaka of Buganda lost his privileged status. At the national arena, the posts of Prime Minister and leader of government, as well as that of ceremonial President were abolished and in their place was instituted the post of executive President. This interim Constitution was effective for a year, and then the 1967 Constitution that gave the final definition to the national-democratic revolution was passed by Parliament sitting as a constituent assembly. The 1967 totally overhauled the body politic of Uganda.
One of the major things the Constitution did was to abolish the institution of the monarchy. By this abolition, the national-democratic revolution had initiated a process of eradicating the survivals of pre-capitalist ideological structures which were either a hindrance to or a drawback to the social progress of the country. In feudal societies," monarchs are symbolically, and indeed actually, the centre around which society is organized as a state. They are considered mediators between the various parts and interests that make up the social order and between the human and extra-human worlds. The king holds the social cosmos together. Thus his rule is, like that of the supreme being of man's religious systems, a symbol of totality." (Grottaneli, C 1987: 313; Ray, B.C 1991: 202) As a result, the monarch is the central symbol of power and legitimacy -- a situation totally inimical to the evolution of the Ugandan nation and the adoption of democratic governance in the country.
By abolishing the kingdom of Buganda and demarcating it into four districts, Obote instituted fundamental changes in the social and political climate of the society of the former kingdom. Up to 1967 Ganda society was a curious mixture of the pre-colonial social structure and the colonial one instituted through the 1900 Agreement. Pre-colonial Ganda society has been described as characterized by "the absence of cohesive and clearly delineated strata, but not, of course in the sense of egalitarianism."(Tuden, A. & Plotinicov, L. 1970: 141) All those who occupied position of authority had objective and economic advantage. These positions also accrued immense social status and prestige. Below the strata of the officials were the "Baganda" common people the undistinguished ordinary people who were not something else. These were the people who did manual labor and paid tribute to the chiefs. As Wrigley observes "inequality seemed natural to the Buganda; it aroused envy but not resentment."(Wrigley, C.C. 1964: 20) Upon this pre-colonial polity, the British, through the 1900 Agreement, superimposed a social structure based on religious affiliation and some degree of class differentiation. In colonial Buganda, one's religion determined one's status and advancement in the Buganda civil service; however, in situations where there were two competitors of the same religion, then the social class in a system which came to be known as "mwana wani (whose child)" tipped the balance. The operation of all this intricate system was nominally in the hands of the Kabaka whose power was exercised by those around him, the neo-traditionalists. The abolition of the Kabakaship and the kingdom, and their replacement by the district administration brought all this to an end. By instituting district appointment boards, a measure of meritocracy was introduced and one's qualifications rather than family or religion was to determine the appointments.
The abolition of the kingdom of Buganda and the demarcation of the territory of the former kingdom into four administrative districts had major long-term consequences for the relations between Buganda and the rest of Ugandans. We have already alluded to the chauvinism of the Baganda, an attitude which set them apart from the rest of the Ugandans. In addition to the sources of this chauvinism which we have already which we have already elaborated upon, another contributing factor was the erroneous comparison which would be made between Buganda and other entities. Unable to isolate the operation of the factors of economies of scale and the differential treatment of Buganda by the colonialists, the Baganda chauvinists ascribed their apparent relative success to what they viewed as the intrinsic superior qualities of the Baganda. From this attitude soon developed an acute form of superiority complex. None other than Abu Mayanja, long-regarded as a "progressive Muganda" was to succinctly express this complex in April, 1962 when he said that while the Constitution could create legal equality in Uganda, natural equality could never exist.(Hancock, I.R. 1966: 265; Mayanja, A.) This kind of attitude was not only setting the Baganda apart from the rest of the country, it also constituted a form of oppression which results from attitudes. (Linlon, R. 1943: 500, 502) As this was arising from Ganda chauvinism, which in turn was also arising from the sense of belonging to a superior entity, the abolition of the kingdom of Buganda brought all this to an end. In the words of Ali Mazrui: "In 1966 Buganda was humbled."(Mazrui, A.A. 1970: 1087) There is no doubt that the nurturing of Ganda humility in place of chauvinism was an essential pre-requisite for the greater integration of Uganda.
The social structure of the former Ankole kingdom was also to be overhauled by the national-democratic revolution. In the dim past, probably several centuries back, the Bahima pastoralists arrived in present Ankole, conquered the Bairu who were the indigenous population and established Hima domination in the area. This domination was "expressed by inferior legal status and the obligation of tribute paying; and along with inferior legal status went inferior social status amounting essentially to a caste difference."(Oberg, K. 1940: 128) The dividing line between Bahima and Bairu was not only marked by race - the Bahima have different racial features from Bairu; but also by certain prohibitions and different modes of livelihood. The Bahima depended for their livelihoods on cattle while the Bairu on agriculture. The Bairu were not permitted to own productive cows; nor were they allowed to marry Hima girls yet Hima boys could take Bairu girls for concubines. If a Mwiru came to possess a productive cow, any Muhima had the right to take it from him. The Bairu were barred from military service and no Mwiru could hold high official positions. Traditionally too, the Bairu were serfs whose exploitation took the form of tribute in food and labor. Furthermore, they had no political status being serfs.
To maintain this system of oppression and exploitation, the Bahima had not only to get politically organized and also to evolve a state apparatus. Centered around the Mugabe (King) as the hub of Hima political apparatus, the Hima state provided protection against foreign aggression and also maintained Bairu in a subordinate position. When the British came, they merely refashioned the Hima state and, through the system of indirect rule, used it to run this part of the colony. Thus British colonialism, for the time that it lasted, served to entrench Hima domination over the Bairu, with the ruling stratum in Ankole being numerically dominated by Bahima throughout the colonial period. As time went on, colonialism occasioned social development that undermined social stratification along caste lines. "The effect of modern education was to instill egalitarian orientations and aspirations among an increasing number of Bairu giving rise to a growing sense of dissatisfaction over their status as second class citizens. Bairu also developed an awareness of greater self-sufficiency from this mastery of modern skills, as well as from new sources of income made available to them through the cultivation and sale of cash crops" ( ). This led Bairu to demand for equality, particularly following the Second World War. In this agitation against Hima domination, the most articulate and vocal voices came from those who eventually became leading figures in the Ankole branch of UPC.
The abolition of the kingdoms and their paraphernalia brought to rest these struggles: the dominance of the Bahima over the Bairu came to an end. The other structure that got overhauled by the national-democratic revolution of 1966 was the Babito dominance of the former kingdoms of Toro and Bunyoro. The abolition of the monarchy, which was the hub of the power of the Babito caste in the in the two kingdoms, also dismantled the three-tier social structure of the two kingdoms. Up to 1966 the social structure of Bunyoro and Toro consisted of the Babito caste at the pinnacle, followed by the cattle-keeping Hima, and the cultivating Iru at the lowest rang of the ladder. These social scales were marked by status, privileges and prestige. Thus the Babito furnished the kingdoms with the ruling dynasty, and most of the chieftainship went to them by virtue of a mythical charter. "The Babito were chosen long ago to rule us," an old peasant once told Professor Beattie, "if it were not for them there would be no royal line to govern, and to be governed by Bairu would be intolerable."(Beattie, J. 1971: 100) Such feudal tendencies pervaded the whole Nyoro society, and tended to be reinforced by the monarchy. The Babito expected to be treated with feudal decorum and the common people felt obligated to do so. All this was brought to an end by the 1966 revolution.
Confident that the dust set-off by the 1966 national-democratic revolution had settled, Obote moved to realign the political forces within the UPC. The UPC had been formed in the terminal moments of colonialism in Uganda and so bore the character bequeathed to it by both the colonial situation and the needs of waging an anti-colonial struggle. At its formation, for example, the UPC was no more than a coalition of notables, representing various districts and the respective tribes (nationalities) inhabiting them. These notables had come into the UPC as delegates representing their respective tribes, and as such were bound to continue the politics of tribalism that the colonial demarcations of districts were conditioning. Furthermore, these notables operated more like a British Cabinet where the leader of the group, the Prime Minister is just the first among equals. To the notables, Obote was just the first among equals. As things stood, the UPC was not yet fully in shape to play its historic role of a truly national-democratic movement. There was need to eliminate or minimize the factors conditioning parochialism within the party. There was also need to strengthen the Presidency or leadership of the party; after all in a charismatic movement like U.P.C. it is in the leader and symbol of the movement that power reposes. It is only fair and correct that the Party Constitution should reflect this reality.
The Common Man's Charter:
With the structural basis for national-democratic liberation firmly in place, having realigned the party structure in such a manner that it was more controlled at the grass-root level, Obote now moved to define the ideology and program of the UPC. This took the form of five documents, the most prominent of which came out under the title, "The Common Man's Charter." Although their ideological contents were labeled socialist, the accurate categorization should be national-democratic. The Charter accurately identified some of the political problems of Uganda as emanating from the pre-capitalist social order which was revamped and made use of by colonialism. A major outgrowth of this revamped social structure was the neo-traditionalists the colonialist used as agents. As independence drew near, the neo-traditionalists we have already analyzed, correctly feared that the end of colonial rule would also be the end of "their then privileged positions and sought to make these positions synonymous with the interests of the common man."(Obote, A.M. 1969: 3) Clause 9 of the charter demystifies these attempts to hoodwink the people.
The Charter also "notes with deep satisfaction the liquidation of anti-national and feudal forces and the introduction of a Republican Constitution."(Obote, A. M. 1969: 4). While appreciating that this had taken Uganda further on the road for liberation, the Charter warned that this was not enough. "We realize that it is by itself an advance towards the goal of full Uhuru (liberation), but because we are also convinced that more has yet to be done, this Charter has been adopted, and its strategy is, in our view, a logical development from the fact that we have been moving away from the hold of feudal power since 1966." (Obote, A. M. 1969: 3-4). The Charter defines the revolutionary changes Uganda was undergoing as "the creation of a new political culture and a new way of life, whereby the people of Uganda as a whole - their welfare and their voice in the National Government and in other local authorities - are paramount. It is therefore both anti-feudalism and anti-capitalism."(Obote, A.M. 1969: 4) Capitalism in Uganda is clearly identified in the Charter as an aspect of international capital or imperialism that by its very nature seeks to curtail the liberation of the people. (Obote, A.M. 1969: 5) To contain the ability of imperialism to exploit the people of Uganda and at the same time "influence the policies of the Government of Uganda" measures to nationalize some economic enterprises were undertaken in 1969.
As every action has a counter-reaction, there was reaction to national-democratic liberation in Uganda. This reaction was both internal and external, and the two aspects of the resistance were so intertwined that it is not easy to demarcate them; as a matter of fact neither could operate without the other. The internal forces arraigned against UPC arose from a number of factors, the most significant of which was the 1966 national-democratic revolution. These who lost status and privileges as a result of the revolution saw Obote and the UPC as the factors which caused their loss, and if there was a chance they would get rid of both. Those who had acquired some amount of property also felt threatened by the nationalization measures. And within the UPC itself, people like Felix Onama, Acting Secretary-General of the party and Minister of Defense, one of the notables who had come together to form the UPC in 1960 found it unacceptable that Obote, "the first among equals" as they regarded him, could rise to national stature while the party constitutional amendment to emphasize the constituency as a unit of party organization at the expense of the district had the effect of marginalizing them. However, the forces arising from all these grievances could not carry out a coup d'etat on their own; they were not coordinated nor did they have means. They therefore constituted the necessary appendages of imperialism and Zionism who had the means and were organized.
The imperial power that had great interest in the overthrow of Obote and the UPC was Britain. As a former colonial master, she had the most to lose from the national-democratic liberation then raging in Uganda. To run Uganda as a colony, Britain had established an elaborate social and political structure. And as in all her former colonies, at independence Britain had striven to ensure the retention of the colonial political apparatus in Uganda. This apparatus was meant to serve her neo-colonial purposes. By the 1966 revolution Obote had upset all this, and no one quite knew when and where he would stop. Obote had also demonstrated some very "irritating" friendship with the anti-imperialist world. In Pan-African circles, Obote was a noticeable member of the radical group of Heads of State. While all these things attracted the attention of Whitehall, the bitterest pill was yet to come: this was the nationalization that affected 80 British firms. It was the straw that broke the camel's back and the British began plotting Obote's overthrow. They worked on both an army takeover (together with the Israelis) and an assassination. For the assassination, Beverley Barnard, an MI5 agent was dispatched to Kampala and he master minded the assassination attempt on Obote outside a UPC Conference in 1969 (Bloch, J. & Fitzgerald, P. 1982: 160) Shot, Obote escaped with a bullet wound in his cheek. The Israeli interest in the removal of Obote from power stemmed from the fact that Uganda bordered on southern Sudan, where black guerrillas had been waging struggles for independence from the predominantly Arab north. This conflict in the Sudan had the potential of constituting a convenient device for Israel to divert Arab forces away from Sinai. To effect this strategy, the Israelis decided to assist in strengthening the Southern Sudanese guerrillas, then called the a Anyanya by making weekly parachute drops of weapons and medicines, while some of their regular troops helped out on the ground with training. It is at this point that the geographic location of Uganda became a crucial factor to the interests of Israel. Bordering southern Sudan, Uganda constituted a potential base for material aid for the Anyanya.
The Israeli intelligence made its first request to the authorities in Uganda for refueling facilities towards the end of 1969. Much as they got a blunt refusal from Obote and, desperately in need of the facilities, they next approached Akena Adoko, the head of Uganda intelligence. They exhorted him that secret services sometimes make arrangements independent of their governments. When Akena too could not oblige, the Israelis next approached Amin. Amin with his close tribal ties with the people in Southern Sudan was not difficult to convince; moreover, Amin was at this same time having administrative problems in the Army. An embezzlement inquiry in which Amin was a prime suspect was about to catch up with him. Then by curious coincidence, on 25th January 1970 the second highest officer Brigadier Okoya was murdered. There was suspicion Amin was involved in the murder of his deputy. Amin feeling besieged, approached the head of the Israeli military mission to Uganda, Col. Bar-Lev with the proposal of a coup as his last ditch means of defense. He is reported to have told Col. Bar-Lev that his local supporters were outside Kampala, and that Obote was in a position to "arrest and kill him" before they could rescue him. It is understood that Bar-Lev advised him to bring to Kampala soldiers from the same area or tribe as himself. It is through this ruse that 500 Anyanya guerrillas who had been trained for the purpose of supporting the coup were brought in. (Bloch, J. and Fitzgerald, P. 1982:164)
As this was happening, Obote was attending the Commonwealth Conference in Singapore. The most controversial issue at the Conference was the British sale of arms to South Africa. In 1963 the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution calling on member states "to cease forthwith the sale and shipment of arms, ammunition of all types and military vehicles to abstained South Africa." Although Britain had abstained at the time of the passage of the resolution, the Labor Party government led by Harold Wilson that came to power in 1964 undertook to implement it. However, later when Labour lost the elections to the Conservatives, the new Prime Minister, Edward Heath resumed British arms sale to South Africa. This outraged the progressive elements in Africa. Obote, for one, was vocal, and soon emerged as the most outspoken African leader against this reversal of policy. When a number of very respected African heads of State threatened to pull out of the Commonwealth, Edward Heath saw this as a "test of the virility of British foreign policy in Africa."(Martin, D. 1974: 29)
The occasion for this test was the Commonwealth Prime Ministers conference scheduled for January 1971. Due to the unease at home, Obote had twice declined to attend the conference. Kaunda and Nyerere pleaded with him to attend. At the conference, when Obote described Heath's policy as racialist, Heath retorted: "I wonder how many of you will be allowed to return to your own countries from this conference." (Bloch, J. & Fitzgerald, P. 1982:163; also Hutton, P. & Bloch, J. 1979: 175) In the early hours of 25th January 1971, a section of the army began to move against Obote's government. A strike force led by the Anyanya mounted an assault on Malire Mechanized Barracks, and completely overpowered an armored battalion loyal to Obote. The Israelis were at hand to provide technical back up, driving tanks and piloting jets at a celebration fly-past. Colonel Bar-Lev was even rumored to have helped Amin pick up his first Cabinet. The coup was absolutely successful, and, as Edward Heath had prophesied, Obote took nine long years to get back to Uganda.
The choice of Idi Amin:
The choice of Idi Amin as an alternative to Obote was premised on the fact that he was "short on the gray matter" and therefore malleable. (Hutton, P. & Bloch, J. 1979: 172 ;) (12) However, this cynical "attribute" was to prove the undoing of not only the objectives of his foreign backers - the British and the Israelis, but also of Amin's entire eight years rule. Amin was a man of limited education - he attended two years of schooling. He not only lacked the ability to run a modern state, but could not even comprehend advice that experts would render him. Rational planning, the weighing of alternatives and reaching balanced decisions were, just beyond Amin's scope. With such a state of mind, he relied on his whims, gut reactions, at times even "divine guidance" as in the case of the expulsion of the Asians, and some of his decrees were inspired by soothsayers. And yet with all these limitations, Amin was confronted with an intracticable political situation. He lacked legitimacy and had a very narrow social base. To come to power, he had to force his way as we have already shown, killing a number of his colleagues in the process. To maintain himself in power, he had to kill all those he suspected of being against him; and the more he killed, the more his social base shrank and the more paranoid he became.
Given the character of Idi Amin we have just described, there should have been no doubt, particularly to enlightened Ugandans, that Amin in the position of head of state was bound to constitute an "unguided missile" which would wreck havoc on the country. Yet a number of people, to whom sections of the population had looked up to for leadership, lent their support to Amin rather than Obote or the UPC. They were soon to find out, as President Nyerere said, that if they thought they were in the frying pan under Obote, under Amin they were in the real fire. Among the first people to be hit by the "unguided missile" was Benedicto Kiwanuka, President-General of the DP. Kiwanuka had not only welcomed Amin with extravagant praise, he had lent credence to the regime by becoming its Chief Justice. In September 1972 Kiwanuka was dragged from his chambers in the High Court and has never been seen again. In December, Dan Nabudere who had sought to give Idi Amin a radical image by soliciting left-wing students at Makerere to support the Amin coup de tat, resigned from East African Railways and fled to Tanzania. He was to be followed by three Cabinet Ministers: Edward Rugumayo, Prof. Banage and Wanume Kibedi. It will be recalled that Kibedi as Foreign Minister had been responsible for the strategy which won Amin international respectability. The other opponent of UPC and supporter of Amin who had to flee for his life was Grace Ibingira. When President Nyerere was pointing out the illegitimacy of the Amin regime and the atrocities it was committing, Grace Ibingira wrote an open letter to Nyerere telling him not to interfere in the newly found freedom of Uganda. In the letter Ibingira heaped a lot of praise on Amin. Ibingira was later to become Amin's ambassador to the United Nations. Ironically, Ibingira was to resign in protest and later in 1979 go to Tanzania to express his unbounded gratitude to President Nyerere for ridding Uganda of Amin.
This bizarre performance was to objectively elevate Obote and the UPC to a very high moral pedestal. The UPC opposed Amin right from the beginning, and never looked back on its word. While others had to take back their initial support for Amin, "for eight years Obote and his lieutenants did little else but dream and scheme Amin's downfall, and for their own return to power. While many other Ugandans either came to terms with Amin, at least in the early years, or found comfortable careers abroad, Obote single-mindedly worked to overthrow the Field Marshal." (Arvigan, T. & Honey, M. 1982: 33) Admittedly, "Obote's schemes while numerous, were also characterized by a high degree of ineptitude, indecisiveness and just plain bad luck." However, this admission notwithstanding, there is no denying Obote was the most serious threat to Amin. It was therefore not surprising that as the war got to the stage of entering Uganda, Obote constituted the center piece of the war propaganda from Tanzania and targeted at the anti-Amin forces in Uganda. On January 12, 1979, Obote released a fifteen-page statement which constituted the first main anti-Amin statement from a Ugandan since the war began. A week later, Obote held a press conference at which he called for a "Uganda-wide rebellion." "Now is the time," he said "for Ugandans to close ranks and coordinate their efforts to overthrow the regime of death. I call upon Ugandans in Uganda army and air force to rise up to their national duty by combining their efforts with those of the masses to overthrow fascist and dictator Amin"(Arvigan, T & Honey, M. 1982: 100). Beyond propaganda, Obote was also involved in the actual fighting: of the Ugandan soldiers and volunteers who accompanied the Tanzanians to war, the largest component (called the Kikosi Maluum - Special Force) was loyal to Obote. Obote was also consulted regularly by President Nyerere on matters of strategy.
Much as Obote's excellent record in the struggle against Amin should have deserved him a prominent role in the post-Amin era, this is not what came to pass; instead of Obote, it was Yusufu Lule whose "involvement in the anti-Amin struggles could be measured in a span of a few weeks spent in hotel rooms and caucuses" who was to become President of Uganda. (Arvigan, T. & Honey, M. 1982: 146). How did this happen? It all began when the war had passed Lukaya and the Tanzanians were getting concerned about the inadequacy of their resources to prosecute the war. By this time the British government had decided the time was ripe to remove Amin. "Britain undertook to assist Tanzania in several ways. It gave several millions pounds ostensibly to help rehabilitate the Kagera Salient, but knowing that the money might find its way into the war effort. It also put some rather ineffectual pressure on British oil companies, urging them to cut off supplies to Amin. This, the companies were willing to do for a couple of days. Most importantly Britain acted as a messenger between Kenya and Tanzanian governments. Specifically, Britain forcefully conveyed to Nyerere Kenyan fears that Tanzania was attempting to install Obote. Nyerere heeded these concerns . . ." (Arvigan, T. & Honey, M. 1982:104) the same point were made much more forcefully in the memoirs of Dr David Owen, British Foreign Secretary at the time: "But the Amin issue did not go away. Later he was ousted by Tanzanian armed intervention, and we aided Julius Nyerere in the attempt. I will never be sure whether it was wise to do so. The price we extracted from Nyerere four our material support was the promise that a mild, decent former children's doctor should be President rather than Milton Obote. Unfortunately the doctor did not have the necessary authority. The end result was that Obote returned to the Presidency, Uganda was riven again and human rights were trampled. Although not quite as bad as Amin's, Obote's rule was still a disaster." (Owen, D 1991)
It was in this context that the Tanzanians caused a conference of Ugandans to be convened in Moshi, Tanzania to constitute a political organization that would assume power upon the collapse of the Amin regime. To give the conference the appearance of a Ugandan initiative, and simultaneously achieve the objective of marginalizing Obote's influence, the organization of the conference was put in the hands of rabidly anti-Obote men. While Nyerere made sure that Obote did not go to the conference, Nabudere and his outfit, through a series of procedural hurdles made sure that most of the UPC members who had gone to the conference were locked out. Thereafter, although professing to be Marxists, the Nabudere clique made a most un-Marxist alliance with Grace Ibingira, the long-term leader of the anti-national-democratic forces, and with the help of the Tanzanians proceeded to maneuver Lule's election as Chairman of the Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF) which was formed at the conference.
Clearly the odds against Obote and the UPC were overwhelming. However, Obote, the greatest political strategist Uganda has known, quickly assessed the situation and came to the view that the newly formed and constituted UNLF was a heterogeneous group which was hoisted on a petard and was not going to take long before exploding (Santhamurthy, T.V. 1986: 703 ref 21). This was a stark contrast to the jubilation in the counter-revolutionary camp where people could not see beyond their noses. The forces against national-democratic liberation could not believe their luck with the Pyrrhic victory they had scored against Obote and the UPC. Dan Nabudere and Grace Ibingira described the victory as a coup de grace. However, the most colorful and representative description was to come from Lule himself. In a moment of extreme elation, at his first public appearance and when he was sworn in as President of Uganda, Lule said in Luganda: "Kyetwayagalizanga embazzi, Kibuyaga asudde" (The tree for which we were searching an axe, the storm has unexpectedly brought it down.) While Lule in his naivety thought by speaking in Luganda, he was communicating in a cryptic manner to Baganda and Baganda alone, the message went well beyond its intended audience. The effect of the remark was to dichotomize the politics of Uganda along the old lines: Buganda on the one side, and the rest of the country on the other.
As predicted by Obote, it did not take long for trouble to erupt in the UNLF. At Moshi led by Ibingira, the anti-national democratic forces had a strategy of using Lule as a proxy while Ibingira stayed on the sidelines waiting to contest the elections. However, a political crisis which was to totally upset this strategy soon ensued. "Within days of assuming office Yusufu Lule had demonstrated that he was neither agreed with nor was capable of following the unusual power-sharing procedure embodied in the constitution of the Uganda National Liberation Front."(Arvigan, T. & Honey, M. 1982: 197) When challenged, Lule defended himself by arguing that the resolutions passed at Moshi and which formed the basis of the UNLF had no legal standing and that he would operate his presidency guided by the 1967 Constitution. Lule generally treated the Uganda soldiers who had participated in the war as enemies loyal to either Obote or Museveni, leaders of a fighting groups, and consequently refused to allocate funds for paying or even feeding them. He was very contemptuous of the National Consultative Council (NCC), the body set up at Moshi to play the role of an interim parliament. Then in an attempt to clearly increase the numerical strength of his supporters in the NCC, he appointed twenty-four ministers and twenty deputy ministers who were to become automatic members of the NCC, and who would easily have outnumbered the thirty members chosen at Moshi. This brought the crisis to a head. When Lule could not heed to the warnings of the NCC, Nyerere summoned the principal figures in the burgeoning crisis to Mwanza for consultations. At Mwanza, Nyerere categorically told Lule that Tanzania would stick by the resolutions arrived at in Moshi; namely, that supreme power lay with he NCC. Clear as this message was, Lule did not heed nor did he realize that he had been emasculated from Tanzanian support. He still remained intransigent. On June 8th an angry NCC adopted a resolution calling on Lule to submit all ministerial and political appointments for deliberation and ratification. After this request was ignored, the NCC met on June 19th to pass a vote of no confidence in Lule, and elected Godfrey Binaisa, a former Attorney General under Obote, to succeed him.
Although Binaisa no longer considered himself a member of the UPC, his election to lead Uganda was inadvertently positive to UPC. This arose from the image of a member of UPC which many, both members and non-members of the UPC, ascribed to him. To UPC members, this image served to boost morale in very trying times. To the non-members of UPC it evoked horror. It was this image that the Ganda chauvinists attacked in the riots immediately following Lule's removal. Contrary to the expectations of the leadership of Ganda chauvinism, these riots not only rallied the rest of the country to support Binaisa but, of a more long-term consequence, caused them to remember that much had not altered in Uganda politics since the eve of independence. Beyond these advantages, UPC also made use of the connections that had been established with Binaisa when he was a member of the party. This connection was to become handy when in the UPC strategy it became time for resolving the question of the control of the army. The Ugandan component of the soldiers who fought Amin consisted of two factions: one led by Museveni, and the other by Lt. Col. Oyite Ojok. It was this component which constituted the original nucleus of the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA). As the two factions were politically different, they operated in an atmosphere of contention, and there was need for a resolution of the contradiction between the two.
As this contention raged, Binaisa to whom none of the factions was loyal was racking his mind trying to devise the means of retaining power beyond the interim period set at Moshi. Two factors were very crucial to Binaisa: the future political role of Milton Obote, and the support of one of the factions of the UNLA. However, late in the year, and sort of out of the blue, Binaisa got relieved from both concerns. At a press conference at Entebbe on November 17, 1980, Paulo Muwanga, the then Minister of Internal Affairs and a man known to be very close to Obote told journalists that Obote was unreservedly behind President Godfrey Binaisa."(Arvigan, T & Honey, M. 1982: 210) To Binaisa who was paranoid of Obote, this assurance from Muwanga who was returning from a long visit with Obote seemed to have cleared the way for his retention of power through the elections. Suddenly the last thing Binaisa wanted to do was to upset Obote. All he needed was to limit the influence of Yoweri Museveni in the army. To do this, Binaisa carried out a cabinet reshuffle on November 20th in which Museveni was shifted from Defense to the politically impotent portfolio of Regional Corporation. Although the reshuffle was in total breach of the Moshi accord and deserved the censure that had been meted to Lule the previous year, Binaisa was left to get away with it.
It however did not take long for Binaisa to find out that the support he had received from Obote and UPC was a tactical ploy. His removal of Museveni had merely served the long-term interests of the UPC, and Obote was still in the contest for the elections. From his days in the UPC he knew how well organized the party could be during elections. On March 25 he unveiled what he conceived was a shrewd scheme to hold on to the Presidency. "The days of the old political parties are gone and gone forever. We've got to move forward not backward. So, whoever wants to face the electorate either for district council, the national assembly or president will have to face the electorate as UNLF," he said ( Arvigan, T. & Honey, M. 1982: 214). In other words, the UPC and other political parties were to be barred from the elections. The proposal which came to be popularly known as the "Binaisa Umbrella", enjoyed support among opportunists and people without political bases like Dan Nabudere and Edward Rugumayo.
The political parties, on the other hand, were furious. They argued that the UNLF was a front bringing together various political organizations, and that by merely joining the front the parties had not expressed a willingness to give up their existence. Notwithstanding, this principled argument, the proposals were overwhelmingly approved on April 17th by the NCC. That same day Obote issued a statement swearing to defy the ruling of the NCC banning political parties. Faced with this defiance, Binaisa threatened to have the police arrest anyone engaging in party activities. This had no effect as the major political parties continued to conduct themselves as though no ban existed. In blatant defiance of the ban, the DP held a delegates' conference on April 19 to choose an executive committee and warn that the party would cooperate with the UNLF only as long as the Front did not block party activities. Two days later, in another act of defiance to the ban on political parties, the UPC held a press conference to announce that Obote would return to Uganda before June.
Obote returns from exile:
Obote returned to Uganda on May 27, 1980. His return constituted the single most important event in the country since the fall of Amin. Over the years and particularly since the 1966 revolution, Obote had become "endowed with a symbolic" aura which expresses the national-democratic liberation. His mere presence aroused memories, positive or negative, of past experiences to all Ugandans. To the members of the UPC, Obote was the instrument through which to manipulate social forces which ordinarily are beyond their comprehension. He was also the hub and engine of the UPC. His return was therefore very significant. The significance was further underscored by the way the UPC organized his reception at Bushenyi, in the former Ankole District. Every UPC district sent delegates to Bushenyi and, as most embassies in Kampala had come to realize the inevitability of Obote winning the forthcoming elections, they had also sent representatives who in most cases were the Heads of Mission. Clearly Obote had timed his return to launch his campaign for re-election. As the UPC had always been the pacesetter, all the other political parties and the country as a whole followed suit, treating Obote's return as the beginning of the campaign.
Since the underlying factors informing politics in Uganda had not changed, the issues and political forces in the politics remained basically the same as they had been on the eve of independence; what had altered, however, was the permutation of the demographic strength of the respective political parties. A number of factors contributed to this change. First and most significant was the 1966 revolution. By dealing a mortal blow to nationality chauvinism, it demonstrated to the minority nationalities that it was Obote and UPC who could guarantee their dignity. Members of minority nationalities had therefore left the DP and shifted their support and loyalty to UPC. This shift was particularly noticeable in the former Bunyoro Kingdom. Due to the alliance between UPC and KY which the Banyoro had feared would cause UPC to side with Buganda over the "lost counties," issue the Banyoro had voted for DP rather than UPC. As a result of the measure undertaken by UPC to resolve the "lost counties" the Banyoro shifted their loyalty to UPC. The DP also lost a lot of support due to the opportunistic and erratic manner in which it handled the Amin problem. Not only did the DP leadership at all levels welcome Idi Amin, but for the DP leader to have been killed in cold blood while serving under Amin did not augur well for the quality of leadership that the party could provide. Beyond this, the DP could not even endeavor to fabricate claim of its waging struggles against Amin. The removal of Amin, as far as the contributions of Ugandans were concerned, was viewed as having come mainly through the efforts of UPC and its leader, Obote; and for this, a sizeable section of the population was very grateful.
The return of Obote also caused the re-alignment of political forces. This is because his mere presence set the agenda for the politics of Uganda. As we have already indicated, Obote had over the years assumed a charismatic aura. Among his supporters he was the medium through which everything was possible. On the other hand, to his opponents, he was the embodiment of everything disruptive of their privileges. Thus while his return galvanized the UPC membership, it caused panic and stampede in the ranks of those opposed to national-democratic liberation, particularly the Ganda neo-traditionalists and chauvinists. They dreaded Obote's victory in the forthcoming elections and began scampering around for what to do to prevent it. Back in 1962, they had realized that a political organization restricted to Buganda could not command county-wide support to win elections. This is what had made KY go into alliance with UPC. A political party which had a country wide network to compete with UPC was none other than DP. And in their characteristic arrogance, the neo-traditionalists decided to take over the DP. This was to be done by grafting Yusufu Lule as leader of DP. To them Lule had excellent credentials: he had been President of Uganda and had one time been supported by the DP as an alternate candidate for the election of Katikiro of Buganda.
Given the character of DP as constituted in 1980, there was no way Lule could have made it as President-General of the party. The DP in Buganda was still an off-shot of the religious wars of the 19th century. It will be recalled that in the last battle of 1892, the protagonists were Protestants in alliance with Moslems, on one side, and the Catholics on the other. And just as the leadership of the respective forces had in those days reposed in the respective church leaders, that of the Catholics in 1980 was Cardinal Nsubuga. What this meant in political terms was that the endorsement of Cardinal Nsubuga determined the leadership of the DP. The other factor that was significant was that to lead DP one had not only to be a Catholic, one had also to have gone to school at St. Mary's College, Kisubi. (13) Yusufu Lule was not only a Moslem who was previously a Protestant, but had gone to King's College, Budo. He totally lacked legitimacy to lead or symbolize DP. And yet formidable as these problems were, Lule was to encounter another obstacle which completely shattered his illusions of becoming President-General of DP. As a former President of Uganda, Lule followed proper protocol and informed the Military Commission, the authority then in-charge in Uganda of his impending return to the country. To be allowed to return to Uganda, the Military Commission set two conditions for Lule. He was required to dissociate himself from the Uganda National Movement, a clandestine organization behind various acts of sabotage and led by Andrew Kayiira. Secondly, he was required "to clear up" the statements he had made maligning the forces that liberated Uganda from Idi Amin. Lule interpreted this to mean that he was not welcome in Uganda by the authorities and dropped his plan to return. A few days later the DP held its convention to choose candidates to contest the elections.
Notwithstanding the rude rebuff of their attempt to take over the DP nation-wide political apparatus, the Ganda neo-traditionalists still went ahead to throw their lot with the D P. Not only was there no other worthwhile alternative, but DP had some consolation to offer them. The DP was not only the most formidable opponent to UPC whom they regarded as an enemy, but Paul Semogerere, the DP leader was a Muganda. With the support of the neo-traditionalist who galvanized Ganda chauvinism to rally behind the DP, the party was assured of winning most seats in the former kingdom of Buganda. "While the DP enjoyed popular support in Buganda, it was seriously lacking in organization and organizational skills. The UPC on the other hand was highly organized, - - - The other parties, the tiny Conservative Party (CP) and Museveni's UPM, were already showing themselves to be insignificant." (Arvigan, T. 1982: 224) "There is no doubt," Tony Arvigan goes on, "the UPC was far more efficient than any of the other parties and that they made sure their candidates had everything in order for registration in each constituency. The DP was badly organized, and this contributed significantly to the UPC's grabbing of a seventeen-to-nothing lead before balloting." (Arvigan, T. 1982: 226) The final result of the polling was UPC 74 seats, DP 51 seats, UPM one seat, and CP none. About this outcome and the electoral process as a whole, the Commonwealth Observer Team, whose role the UPC had questioned said: " - - - despite the imperfections and deficiencies to which we have drawn attention, and subject to the concern expressed on the question of nominations and unopposed returns, we believe this has been a valid electoral exercise which should broadly reflect the freely expressed choice of the people of Uganda."(Commonwealth Observer Group Report 1980; also quoted in Arvigan, T.1982: 228-9) Notwithstanding all this, the validity of the elections was questioned and UPC was accused of rigging.
As expected in any Third World situation without a long tradition of electoral processes, there occurred irregularities perpetrated by all sides. However, while these did not constitute to DP, the major rival to UPC, ground for invalidating the entire elections, Yoweri Museveni, the leader of UPM, whose party had secured just one seat and had not even been able to find enough people to field as candidates in all constituencies, seized this as opportunity to launch insurgency in Luwero. With the programme he was pursuing not embraced by the people, he ended up merely stirring social banditry. It could not be otherwise: the situation in Luwero was not ripe for any other outcome than social banditry. The former kingdom of Buganda, where Luwero is found, was at the historical moment which Professor Hobsbawn, the famous student of social banditry, has described as being pregnant with social banditry. According to Hobsbawn, "social banditry is unusually prevalent at two moments in historical evolution: that at which primitive and communally organized society gives way to class-and-state society, and that at which the traditional rural peasant society gives way to the modern economy. At such times, the desire to defend the old and stable society against subversion of its values, the urge to restore its old, threatened, disintegrating norms becomes unusually strong." (Hobsbawm, E. 1969: 13) It is at such moments in history, Hobsbawn contends, that social banditry emerges.
Such was the case in Luwero in the early 80's, when Museveni launched his so-called guerilla war. In the short-run, the situation was very favorable to Museveni. While the government - and a UPC government at that - considered Museveni's operatives criminals, the overwhelming majority of the peasantry in Buganda viewed them as heroes. For as Hobsbawn has pointed out: in the perception of the peasant "the social bandit is a hero, a champion, a man whose enemies are the same as the peasants', whose activities correct injustice, control oppression and exploitation, and perhaps even maintain alive the ideal of emancipation and independence." (Hobsbawn) As though not content with this favorable situation, Museveni and his army engaged in activities intended to further augment it. From time to time sections of the NRA would dress as government soldiers and harass people in given areas. Shortly after their departure, other sections of the NRA would come and feign sympathy with the people. At other times, the NRA would deliberately provoke the army into actions which they knew in an advance would alienate the people from the army. And so in due course, it becomes difficult for the government forces to fight the NRA with any measure of meaningful success. However, when a special brigade to deal with the insurgency was formed, a way was found, and by 1984 the activities of Museveni and the NRA had been contained and Museveni had gone to exile in Sweden. It is at this point that UPC began to have new contradictions. Those party members who had disagreed with the strategy of fighting the bandits till defeat began to fear they may be called upon to account for their actions during the war. To forestall this, they began to plot to overthrow the government. They manipulated the traditional rivalry between Langi and Acholi, and through that facilitated the coup of July of 1985.
(1) Baganda are the members of the tribe or nationality that constituted the former kingdom of Buganda. Ganda or Kiganda is the adjective referring to Buganda or the people of Buganda.
2) Bunyoro (also sometimes called Bunyoro-Kitara) is the former kingdom to the north-west of Buganda; the people of Bunyoro are called Banyoro; and Nyoro is an adjective.
3) Busoga is the area of Uganda on the eastern side of Buganda. The people of the area are called Basoga.
4) Ankole is the former kingdom to the west of Buganda; it was formed out of a number of small nationalities that clustered around the former kingdom of Nkore.
5) Lango was a district inhabited by the Langi people. Langi is also an adjective referring to the people of Lango, and also their language.
(6) Acholi was a district in northern Uganda, inhabited by the Acholi people.
(7) Mengo was the capital of Buganda;and the word is often used to refer to the establishment of Buganda, much in the same way as Washington or London is used to refer to the US or British government respectively.
(8)"Nationalism has also become a social revolutionary movement demanding equal educational opportunities for all members of national group and achieve promotion of the socially underprivileged."(Kohn, H. 1964: 64)
(9) The six directly elected members were: B.K. Kirya (Bukedi), G.B.K. Magezi (Bunyoro), W.W. Kajumbula-Nadiope (Busoga), A.M. Obote (Lango), C.J. Obwangori (Teso), and G.Oda (West Nile).
(10) The six were: J.W. Kiwanuka (Chairman), B. Kununka (Secretary-General), E. Otema Alimadi, Abu Mayanja, John Kale, and Paul Sengendo (President of Youth Organization).
(11) The British press was elated as shown by the following sample quotations:
(a) "One good reason that might be advanced for holding Commonwealth Conferences more often is that the number of undesirable rulers overthrown as a result of their temporary absence, as has now happened to Dr Obote of Uganda, would be increased." (Daily Telegraph, 26 January, 1971)
(b)"I cannot say I that I learnt of the overthrow of Dr Milton Obote of Uganda with any great regret: if a choice is to be made between a quiet military men and noisy civilian dictators then I prefer, in Africa at least, the military." (Spectator, 30 January 1971.)
(c)"So far as Britain is concerned, Amin will undoubtedly be easier to deal with than the abrasive Obote." (New Statesman, 29 January 1971.)
(12) From the time of the religious wars that ravaged Buganda in the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the consequent politicization of religion, church institutions such as schools, and particularly Budo and Kisubi, became instruments of political struggles.
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