“I am Muganda, but I am not all that for Buganda, writes Joseph Mutebi in Reply to Ham Mukasa
Posted by African Press International on February 18, 2007
Commentary by Joseph Mutebi.
He is reacting to Ham Mukasa’s two stories. Read the stories below this comment
Dear Ham Mukasa,
I know your family very well, one of the strongest families in Uganda since the 19th century. I am Muganda, but I am not all that for Buganda. I would not like to see people like you continuing to rule us and paying wages to you.
My parents have paid to your family since time immemorial for staying on you land which you have much of. How can one man have so much land more than the kabaka himself and the Ugandan government, Ham Mukasa. A land reform has to be done. More to the debate, read below.
As my earlier submissions re the infamous phrase “a good Muganda is a dead one” have pointed out, its ultimate aim is ethnocide – and as such is an evil to be rigorously rejected.
After the Baganda are made ‘good’, what is there to stop us saying and ensuring that a good Munyankole, Acholi, Itesot, Karimojong, Lugbara etc… is a dead one?
So, I will discuss the broader issue your question to me stems from: can a monarch reign within a republic?
In my opinion, Uganda is one of the strangest countries on earth. It somehow tries to have an independent and politically powerful monarchy existing within the boundaries of an independent and politically powerful republic.
A monarchy is a system of government in which one person reigns, usually a king or queen. The authority, or crown, in a monarchy is generally inherited.
The ruler, or monarch, is often only the head of state, not the head of government. The latter is sometimes led by a prime minister, as in the United Kingdom and Denmark.
A republic is a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them. Strictly speaking, the head of government in a state is not a monarch or other hereditary head of state. It is usually a president.
Now, given the above simple definitions as a start-point, I dare say the two cannot co-exist within the same state without one or the other relinquishing powers so significant that what they are left with renders them shadows of the offices they claim to hold.
And this is where I believe the “Buganda Crisis” arises from. Since our colonizers granted us self-governance in 1962, we have governed the republic so badly that in the “Kingdom states” – Buganda, Bunyoro, Ankole and Toro – the people felt they would be better off as subjects, not citizens. Hence calls for the restoration of the kingdoms.
Notice that I have skipped discussing the 1966 crisis altogether. Not because I do not want to, but rather because I have not yet revisited relevant documents on the issue to refresh my mind and engage in adequately informed debate for this forum.
I believe that given good governance, a people will prefer citizenship to subjecthood. The governing principles of the two are simply incompatible. Kings rule and reign by divine right. Presidents are supposed to govern and administer by democratic right. In the monarchy, the people have no choice; they are subjects. Might is right. In the republic the people are supposed to have a choice; they are citizens. Rights are might.
Perhaps if we consider the worst things that can happen in a monarchy and in a republic, we will begin to understand the tensions existing between Nakasero and Mengo.
Since it is the king who is most important in a monarchy, the worst thing that can ever happen therein is the killing of the king, hence the crime called regicide – the killing of kings. Since citizens are supposed to be the most important persons in a republic, the worst thing that can happen therein is the killing of citizens, hence the crimes of ethnocide, democide and genocide – the killing of citizens.
Now, considering how much killing must be laid at the doors of the various ‘republics’ since independence, the monarchies suddenly look saintly in comparison.
But considering that the republic will not grant the monarchy the power to be a real monarchy, tensions result. Irrespective of, or rather, in spite of the failings of the republic.
This is what Kabaka Mutebi and President Museveni are experiencing now. This is what Kabaka Freddie Mutesa and Milton Obote experienced then.
If history is to teach us anything, then it is that the monarchy will lose to the republic. And that the republic will, in turn, lose so much legitimacy that it may collapse as well.
So, as for the current shenanigans between Nakesero and Mengo being “another Obote trick on the road again”, I must say no. The tensions will remain until the republic is properly governed. Until a proper constitutional dispensation grants and maintains the rights due us all. Until we have good governance.
Till then, any alternative, particularly a time-tested one like the monarchies of old, will be better and more attractive than any slipshod, thieveing and pretentious ‘government’, whatever the ‘revolutionary’ credentials it arrogates to itself and whatever the ‘visions’ its leader claims to have.
And any leader, Obote, Museveni, or whoever takes over after Museveni will face the same problem!
PS: I will update this posting after re-familiarising myself with the facts re the 1966 crisis.
I’ll defend, to the death if need be, your just and moral right to hold an opinion different from my own.
By Joseph Mutebi
Mr Mutebi is reacting to Ham Mukasa’s stories below: