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Museveni never promised Kabaka Mutebi federo

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by ByaseL, Aug 29, 2009.

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    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    Aug 29, 2009
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
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    Senior Presidential Advisor, Mr John Nagenda appeared on Kfm’s Hot Seat hosted by Charles Mwanguhya, Bernard Tabaire and Angelo Izama talk show last week. Below are the excerpts:

    Buganda’s quest for federo is back in the news. It is being argued that during the bush war you helped Kabaka Muwenda Mutebi then a prince to meet President Yoweri Museveni where a gentleman’s agreement was apparently reached that upon capturing power the President (Museveni) would allow Buganda to Federate. What is the truth about those meetings?

    First of all, most of the people who talk about this from Mengo were they there? They were not there, Me I was there and so was the Kabaka and the President. Every time I hear that agreements were made and now they have been changed -I just want to cry.

    Museveni has been very fair to Buganda in so many ways; he has been a gentle man. Some people say it was ‘Byoya bya Nswa’ [It was meaningless] these are fools. I was invited to come to Uganda and visit the bush in 1985. I asked a friend of mine [Kategaya] who was very instrumental if Prince Mutebi would come along. He said I don’t see why he shouldn’t but I will find out.

    He [Kategaya] came back with the message: ‘He will be most welcome.’ That’s how it started. Actually I was very pleased with Prince Ronnie Mutebi as he was called then because he showed great resolve. So we set off and we came, we were brought by the NRM, passed through Rwanda and got in quietly because the war was still going on.

    He [Mutebi] was given a magnificent welcome. I didn’t attend one or two meetings as I have confessed especially the one at Masaka when they ( Museveni and Mutebi) took quite some time talking.
    All I can tell you is because of the nature of our relatio
    nship [Mutebi and I], If something like an agreement was made, I would have been told about it.

    You were invited in which capacity and what kind of relationship were you and Ronnie Mutebi sharing?
    We had a cool relationship. We were good friends though I was much older than him. I was invited because of the rumours then - that Baganda fighters were being badly treated in the army [NRA]. That they were the ones carrying the water, food .

    I had contacted Kategaya and asked him what was going on. He said whatever people were saying was not true. Then I said, should I come and find out for myself, he said it was okay. We came here and we were well received . Everything was okay . I went back to London via Nairobi and told my fellow Baganda that the war was progressing well and it would be good for the country if it was won.

    Who arranged these meetings because you mentioned the name Kategaya?
    The meetings as they happened would depend on where we were at that time but when we were in Masaka, we were invited by Mr Museveni . In Kabale, he came gave us dinner, in Kilembe the same thing happened, so really he was interested in showing us as Baganda what was happening especially the putative king of Buganda.

    Did Ronald Mutebi at that time have specific demands he put on the table with the prospective next president of the country?
    We talked about a lot of things before we met in Nairobi with some other Baganda leaders. And as we were travelling, we talked about a lot of things and the most important thing as I understood it was that Mutebi wanted peace to return to his country [Uganda] and Buganda kingdom. And for the war to end because the people who were suffering mostly were Baganda in Luwero and other places where the war was being fought.

    Number two, although I didn’t hear him saying it, I would not be surprised if he entertained the idea of being a Kabaka, taking over from his father the late Muteesa II.
    But it was not the time where you would sort of go into what will you give me if I do this and that. That would have been very selfish when people are dying to just be interested in yourself.

    How many visits did you make and which month of 1985?
    All the visits happened when we came here we did not keep coming back and by the time we were here the war was about to end. If I can remember, it was either September or October of 1985.

    How was the offer to restore traditional kingdoms made? Was it an offer by the President?
    From where I stand, it is something that grew. The Baganda who were in the army were delighted to see Mutebi (then still a prince) and they sang songs welcoming him. It was obvious from their demeanour that they were hoping for the return of the Kabakaship. The songs carried that sense but don’t forget that quite a number of other people who were fighting did not want the return of the monarchies.

    I remember one of my friends whom I wont name, saying: ‘Nagenda you have brought us trouble. We are now going back to the bad old days of the Kabakaship. I’m a mild monarchist and I would be against political power in the hands of provinces, kingdoms or kingships’

    President Museveni goes on to win hardly five months after you were with him in the bush and in 1993 Ronald Mutebi is enthroned as Kabaka of Buganda. What happened between the time when you finished your bush meetings and the time Mutebi was enthroned as a king?

    The first step was to make him the Ssabataka [head of landlords] which some people tried to oppose. It took time and it was not a hurried thing . But eventually Prince Mutebi was crowned king. And looking at the pictures of the people on that day when he was crowned, really the Buganda were so happy.

    What do you make of the current debate between people at Mengo and central government on the question of federo?
    Federo is borrowed from an English phrase, which means a federal state [meaning] Uganda would be split into areas which will be reasonably self governing. But federalism should come in about 50 years after now, by then it would have turned a national feast by all means. Something everyone can accept. It’s not the right time. Let’s wait until that stage.

    Complied by Robert Mwanje