Mamdan’s analysis is correct about the openness Buganda has for other tribes; Regrettably, Baganda have paid the price as all central governments have abused this openness. This has accelerated the demand for federalism. In fact, other Ugandan tribes like the Banyoro might have observed how Bafuruki and central governments abuse openness and decided to resist.
The opposition to such abuse its inherent dictatorship is what anti-Baganda deliberately misinterprets as tribalism. How can we be labelled tribalist when, according to Mamdan, we accommodate the most varied collection of tribes? The demonization of Baganda is due to their opposition against totalitarianism (Mamdan); as I pointed out sometime ago, Baganda have time immemorial resisted dictatorship. Just note how we once in a while squabble with our Katikkiro; Mamadan too mentions the resistance of Bataka (Bataka Bbu) against colonial interference.
It is the fear opposition among Baganda that the NRM is breaking up Buganda by recognising Bafuruki such as the Banyara and Baluuli in Buganda as traditional entities worth Kingdoms. In some ingenious way, the Baluuli and Banyara are being used: they think they are being helped to fight Buganda for their self-actualisation, when they are in reality accomplishes in a drive towards totalitarianism. Ultimately, Baluuli and Banyara will realize that things were after all better under Buganda as they will too be forgotten and discarded as non entities. Furthermore, the anti-Buganda crusade hopes and plans that a large collection of Balaalo will also one day claim a Kingdom within Buganda – so, many Balaalo are being re-settled in Buganda. The question of land rights for peasants seen in this light gives rights to Bafuruki ONLY in Buganda. Can you imagine a little Kingdom of the Bafuruki in Bunyoro, similar to that of the Banyara and Baluuli in Buganda? Double standards indeed!
The second abuse is cryptic behind urbanisation; that, urban centres belong to every Ugandan citizen (Mamdan). So the central govt. is expanding and taking over the administration of Kampala. Again, people deliberately miss the point that, Buganda allowed and allows Bafuruki to settle, and Kampala became what it is partly because of this openness to other tribes. It is a contradiction to democracy that, it is only Kampala, and in Buganda (where there is amicable co-existence of tribes) in the whole of Uganda where the govt. wants direct control. It is Baganda openness, firstly abused, and then transformed into totalitarian manipulation, where the president appoints the Mayor. Elsewhere, the govt is creating districts ostensibly upon its decentralisation policy.
I agree with Mamdan, Buganda can provide lessons to Uganda; one such lesson is national unity. It is mainly in Buganda where different nations (who the colonialists dubbed tribes, according to Mamdan) amicably co-exist.
Indeed, the belief that Baganda can be used and subsequently thrown away like garbage is because Baganda are accepting – what Mamdan left out is that, Baganda have learnt and are resisting even more. The resistence against totalitarianism in Buganda has a long history that precedes Uganda. It is for self-actualisation and for a federal state that will once again be able to accommodate diversity without coercion.