Going by popular sentiment in Buganda, electing leaders at Mengo is tantamount to endorsing the abolition of the kingdom. Any proposal to elect the Katikkiro is greeted with loud cries of ‘foul’ as an attempt to smuggle alien practices into a sacred culture. The following slightly edited story appeared in the Uganda Argus newspaper of 18th August 1964.
EASY WIN FOR MAYANJA NKANGI
Overwhelming vote for new Buganda Katikkiro
Jehoash Sibakyalyawo Mayanja Nkangi (34), former Minister of Commerce and Industry in the Central Government, was overwhelmingly elected Buganda’s Katikkiro by Lukiiko Members yesterday. He got 44 votes and his rival, Mr. Masembe Kabali, former Minister of Natural Resources in the Kabaka’s government received 22 votes.
There was tension inside and outside the Bulange before the election. All entrances to the grounds were guarded by Buganda Government police and all doors except the main one were locked.
Some of the Lukiiko Members and Kabaka Yekka regional leaders who had no invitation cards were delayed at the main gate for some minutes until Mr. Daudi Ochieng, KY Member of Parliament for Mityana identified them.
Mr. Masembe Kabali’s campaigners were then busy lobbying the Lukiiko Members and KY regional leaders.
A KY delegates’ conference was held in the Bulange an hour before voting and it was understood that Mr. Masembe Kabali was their choice. But most KY Lukiiko members did not take heed of the conference’s decision.
Just before the voting stated, a letter from Mr. E. M. K. Muliira, asking the Deputy Speaker, Sheikh Ali Kulumba to withdraw his name was read to the members. Sheikh Kulumba then asked the members to vote on three names; Mr. Nkangi, Mr. Masembe and Mr. C. M. S. Kisosonkole.
Loud cheers filled the visitors’ gallery when Mr. Nkangi’s name was announced.
Mr. Abu Kakyama Mayanja, a former Buganda Minister of Education said yesterday that the election of the new Katikkiro as “tremendous challenge” to the younger, educated generation in Buganda.
Asked whether he would join Mr. Nkangi’s government if asked, Mr. Mayanja said he thought he ought to continue serving in the National Assembly, particularly since Mr. Nkangi would now be leaving the Assembly.
The Organising Secretary of the Uganda People’s Congress, Mr. Matthew Rukikaire saluted Mr. Nkangi on securing such an overwhelming vote of trust and confidence from the representatives of the people of Buganda.
Educated at King’s College Budo, Mr. Mayanja Nkangi graduated from Makerere College in 1953 with a BA in Economics. Mathematics and History In 1954 the Uganda government awarded him a scholarship to Britain’s Oxford University to study for an MA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, specializing in the latter. At the successful completion of his course, he entered Lincoln’s Inn and was called to the Bar in 1959. When he returned to Uganda he practiced as a barrister.
Mr. Nkangi’s political activity dates back to 1953. In 1960 he led the United Party. When the United Party decided to merge with Uganda National Congress, he abandoned it to form and subsequently chair the United National Party. He then joined Kabaka Yekka and was elected KY MP for Masaka in May 1962.
He was first elected Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Affairs. In October 1962 he was appointed Minister without portfolio under the same ministry and later became Minister of Commerce and Industry. He resigned the post recently when the KY/UPC alliance was dissolved.
The Lukiiko is meeting today to submit 15 names from whom the Katikkiro will appoint his ministers.
end of story
POINTS TO NOTE
There is fear today that non-Baganda might manouvre to elect a non-Muganda for Katikkiro, as if non-Baganda will be participating in Buganda politics for the first time.
Bear in mind that when some of the electorate got close to being denied the right to vote it was Owekitiibwa Daudi Ochieng, the Lukiiko Member for Mityana who identified them. Daudi Ochieng was, by the way, an Acholi and was as non-Muganda as Umaru Mandela (Somali) and Dr. Higiro Semajege (Nyarwanda) are while loyally serving their Kabaka at Mengo.
To those who describe an elected Katikiiro as likely to owe allegiance to the voters rather than the Kabaka I ask, would you prefer a person disliked by, and hostile to the Baganda as the best katikkiro for your beloved Kabaka? This fear of electing leaders and the greater fear of losing elections to those you consider unworthy of serving is the root cause of this vote-phobia.
UAH forumist in Kampala and NRM supporter