Pilipo Oruni defends Federalism in Uganda

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Dear  all,
Many people today are indeed quite unsure of what federalism is and what it entails. However, it needs to be said here also from the outset that the Buganda Kingdom government has done very extensive research on the issue of federalism and have made a number of very balanced and well tought out proposals on all aspects of federalism for Uganda. I will return to this later. First let me answer some of the issues and questions you raised.
1. “How did federalism crop up in Uganda body politics?”.
The origin of federalism in Uganda derives from two things. The first is the 1900 Uganda (Buganda) Agreement. This agreement which was infact a “draft constitution” was signed between the British Government and the people of Buganda. The 1900 agreement defined the basis by which the people of Buganda would be governed. The British later signed other agreements with other outlaying tribes or communities, addiding to Buganda, gradually to form Uganda as we know it today. So these agreements, signed under different conditions reflecting different circumstances, provide the first basis of federal system for Uganda.
The second basis of federalism for Uganda is the cultural, social, geographical and locality “differentness” of the various communities that form Uganda. We share some aspirations in common, but we also differ in our expectations and what is of priority to us as different bodies of tribes or communities that comprise the nation Uganda.
2. “The British did not grant Buganda a federal status by 1962 when Uganda popped out of colonial womb at Independence.”
Infact Buganda was granted a federal status at the Lancaster Conference in  October 1961, and this was later enshrined in the 1962 independence constitution.The Kingdom of Buganda was governed as a federal regional government until 1966 when the Kabaka was deposed, and the constitution abrogated in 1967, when a unitary constitution was then put in place.
3. “Is there an example in the world where there is a federation between a monarchy and a secular state”?
The United Kingdom of Great Britain is a federation all but in name. Britain does not have a written constitution, but the country comprises of four completely distinct regional governments or nations:- England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Although there is a ‘national parliament’ at Westminster in London, England where MPs from all four nations sit, the Scots also have a parliament, the Welsh have an assembly and Northern Ireland also has an assembly. Infact in World Cup these four regions compete as separate nation.
4. “The Buganda local government is merely a Monarchy form of government. So, if Buganda wants federation, it must first establish a “secular” local government.”
There are two aspects to this particular issue you raised. Firstly, the Kingdom of Buganda has a cultural head; His Highness the Kabaka. However, the characteristic features of the governing structures of the Kingdom of Buganda are no different from, say, those of a Republican or non monarchy government. The current situation whereby the Kabaka appoints members of the Great Lukiiko is a temporary anomaly which infact has been forced on Buganda by the absence of a federal law or constitution. Indeed, His Highness the Kabaka desires so much not to rule as an absolute monarch that is why he has appointed members of the Great Lukiiko and the Buganda Ministers to advise him informally, until such a time when the federal law or constitution is in place.
Secondly, you are right when you say that if Buganda wants federation, it must first establish a “secular” local government. By “secular” I take it that you mean His Highness the Kabaka should not have undue or formal influence in the day -to -day running of the local government or federal government of the Kingdom of Buganda. To create a “secular” (to borrow his word) Kingdom of Buganda or regional government of Buganda the Kabaka needs to become a “constitutional monarch”. This means that His Highness the Kabaka will be a figurehead of state of the Kingdom of Buganda. His powers of state having been devolved to an executive prime minister, or the Katikiro. The fact of the Kabaka being a figurehead means that he “has to accept” the lawful functioning of his government and cannot interfere with it.. The independence of the executive arm of the Kingdom of Buganda government from His Highness the Kabaka will be entrenched in law, in the federal constitution.
Let me now turn to the main question that often raised, namely:- “What exactly is the “Beast” called federalism”?
In plain language federalism is a system of government whereby power is SHARED between national or central government and regional government. Broadly, national or central government has control over matters affecting the nation as a whole, or the area best handled by the central government. While regional government have control over matters of that region. This division of authority is ENTRENCHED in law, in the federal constitution, as well as federal government laws.
The key thing about federalism which differentiates it from a unitary form of devolved local government is that AUTHORITY IS SHARED, between the central government and the regional government. Whereas in a unitary devolved or decentralized local government the central government  “gives away some of its power to the local government”. In the federal system the authority of a regional government, such as, for example the Kingdom of Buganda “to act” or “function” is not derived from the central government but from the federal constitutions. The other distinction is that in a federal system, decentralisation starts at the regional level. For example, it is the Kingdom of Buganda government that will decentralise power in a federal system.
WHAT ARE BUGANDA’S PROPOSALS OR “DEMANDS” FOR “FEDERO”?
The proposals or “desires” of Buganda for “Federo” or federalism are contained in the submissions of the Kingdom of Buganda to the 1991 Odoki Constitutional Commission and the 2003 Constitution Review Commission. Buganda has put forward five main demands:-
1. Federal system of government.
2. Kampala district as part of the Kingdom of Buganda
3. The return of the 9000 square miles to the Kingdom of Buganda
4. The excesses of the Land Act 1998
5. The status, immunities, privileges of the traditional leader.
Let us examine each proposal/demand.
FEDERAL SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT.
In its submissions the kingdom of Buganda is not asking for the same federal system as in the 1962 Constitution, whereby only Buganda was granted full federal status and the other kingdoms semi federal status. Buganda has proposed amending the 1962 system so that all regions of Uganda have “full and equal federal status”. The model proposed by the Kingdom of Buganda is infact  a combination of Obargot’s district and provincial models.Thus there would be 13 federal states or regional governments of:- Acholi, Buganda, Bugisu and Sebei, Bukedi, Bunyoro Kitara, Busoga,Karamoja, Kigezi, Lango, teso, Tooro, West Nile and Madi.
Buganda have cited about 30 areas which it proposes to be exclusively the responsibility of the central government, this include, to mention a few;- defence, national police force, protection of territorial integrity and regional integrity, arms, explosives, foreign affairs, immigration and nationality, national identy cards, deportations, extraditions, national elections, central bank and all all banks, national parks, inter regional high ways, population and cencus, export duty and import duty, deplomatic protocols, foreign treaties and agreements, etc.
KAMPALA DISTRICT AS PART OF KINGDOM OF BUGANDA
The government has currently put in place the Kampala City Bill by which it intends to bring Kampala district under central government jurisdiction. The Kingdom of Buganda has proposed that Kampala district including the main city district be under the Kingdom of Buganda area. Buganda cites various institutions of Buganda including the Lubiri, the Great Lukiiko Assembly Hall, Tombs of past Kabakas and the fact Kampala is situated right at the heart of Buganda Kingdom.
In order to alley any fears that the central government and /or non Baganda Ugandans or foreigners might be evicted from Kampala, the Kingdom of Buganda  has proposed in Article 38 of its submissions  to the 2003 Constitution Review Commission  that “The National Constitution of Uganda does and should guarantee the equality of all people regardless of ethnic origin in any part of Uganda”.
Also in Article 39 of the same 2003 submissions, that ” There should also be appropriate provisions in the National Constitution that no regional governments has the right to evict the central government from any region of Uganda”.
THE RETURN OF THE 9000 SQUARE MILE TO BUGANDA.
Under the 1900 Agreement, “9000 sq miles of waste or uncultivated land” was allocated to the Colonial Government to keep for the people of Buganda in trust. On 8th October, 1962 before independence this land was reverted to Buganda government and was administered by the Buganda land board until 1967, when it was again taken over by the Uganda Land Commission. Buganda wants this land back and has proposed adequate constitutional guarantees to ensure people already leagally on the land do not suffer and loss, etc.

THE EXCESSES OF THE LAND ACT 1998
The Kingdom of Buganda contends that the 1998 Land Act was an “unfair land law, enacted by Parliament that protected the interest of land occupants at the expense of the land owners. Thus makes meaningful development of the land very difficult and unworkable” . The Kingdom of Buganda is proposing for “A more balanced law, giving sufficient protection to tenants and squatters at the same time giving protection to the land owners rights”.
THE STATUS, IMMUNITY AND PRIVILEGES OF THE TRADITIONAL LEADER.
The constitution currently recognises His Highness the Kabaka as the traditional leader of Buganda. The Kingdom of Buganda however would like the status of the Kabaka to be clearly defined in the constitution. They are proposing the Kabaka to be a constitutional monarch so that he is above party and politics.
Buganda is also proposing that His Highness the Kabaka be immune from prosecution. It is also proposed that His Highness the Kabaka should have precedence in protocol only to the President and the Vice- President during official functions in Buganda. It is also proposed that His Highness the Kabaka should be exempt from direct personal taxation.
My dear friend Obargot and all UAH members, as you can see the “beast” called federalism is infact quite a benign system that will bring about peace, stability, prosperity, equality, transparency, protection of the environment and resources, unity, integration and so much more benefits for the people of Uganda.
That currently many people are unsure or even hostile to federalism is due to lack of information and public awareness about the system. It is the responsibility of the government to put clearly all the sides of the federalism “coin” so that people can understand and make informed choices.. For the record during the Odoki Constitution Commission submissions 68% of Ugandans supported federalism. There is therefore majority support for federalism in Uganda. SO, FEDERALISM  WILL definitely COME. Uganda needs it.
Regards
Pilipo Oruni Oloya.
UAH forumist residing in London
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About ekitibwakyabuganda

Ba Ssebo ne ba Nyabo, Twebaza Abaganda bonna abulumulirwa Obuganda . Era twebaza ne mikwano gya Buganda gyonna wonna wegiri munsi yonna. Omukutu guno gwatandikibwawo nga e’kigendererwa kwe kuyigiriza abantu ebintu ebikwatagana no’Buganda era nokuwanyisiganya ebilowozo nebanaffe abatali Baganda. Abaganda ne mikwano gya Buganda mukozese omukisa guno muwereze ebirowozo byamwe no’bubaka bwona obunaagasa Abaganda na’baana Buganda berizala mu maaso eyo. Obumu ku bubaka obuwerezebwa ku mukutu guno bugyibwa mukuwanyisiganya ebirowozo okubera kumukutu gwa Ugandan’s at Heart (UAH) Forum ogwatandikibwawo Mwami Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba. Era twebaza muzukulu wa Kintu ne Nnambi ono olw’omulimu gwakoledde bana Uganda bonna abali e’bunayira mungeri yo kubagatta mu byempuliziganya no’kutumbula okukolaganira awamu.

8 responses »

  1. Mr Oruni,

    1/6 You say: “Buganda wants federalism so do the majority of Ugandans.” Where do you derive that view from?

    2/6 This is what the Odoki report has told us about the country’s feelings about federalism:
    “From statistical analysis of views received, it clearly appeared that the first two lower levels of Resistance Councils (RCs) and the individual and group memoranda preferred the federal form while RC 3, 4 and 5 preferred the unitary form. In analysing the individual and group memoranda which prefer the federal form, the majority of these were from Buganda. From the reports of seminars at district and sub-county level as well as other seminars, the issue of the form of government again proved controversial. The majority of such reports from Buganda preferred the federal system while those from the Eastern, Northern and Western areas preferred the unitary form”
    [Paragraph 9.8 of “The report of the Uganda Constitutional Commission, 1993”]

    3/6 That report is the most authoritative assessment we have so far on the views of Ugandans on the question of the form of government. Is there some fresh national survey that has been conducted that contradicts the findings by the Constitutional Commission?

    4/6 And you are not alone in thinking that the louder we assert that Ugandans want federalism, the closer it shall become a reality. During a conference in Kampala on 16 December 2009, RM Mutebi of Mmengo is quoted as having stated that, “It is clear that from the findings of the Odoki Commission people wanted to have this system,” ….. “That was the authentic voice of the people. So why deny them that right?” Where did RM Mutebi derive this funny perception from? Is RM Mutebi not a liar, i.e., some one that utters false statements with intent to deceive? Or is he being misinformed by his aides?

    5/6 In the same conference, the leader of FDC, Colonel Kiiza Besigye remarked that, “The federo issue no longer needs discussions because Ugandans spoke in the Odoki report and what we require is national dialogue to resolve other national issues.” The audience applauded Kiiza Besigye resoundingly. It is not easy to know why he drew the applause since he did not tell the world what he meant by “Ugandans spoke”. That might have been “tactical speak”, or “strategic ambiguity” just in case he is challenged in future. He would probably say, “all I said in the conference was that Ugandans had spoken”, and then, at an opportune time he will actually quote the Odoki report and show that the majority of Ugandans wanted the unitary form of government. That will be yet another round of disillusion for Federo fundamentalists; and then, name calling will begin for Colonel Besigye. In the mean time, he will have got the votes, just like he got “bugalo” free of charge at the conference for merely being ambiguous.

    6/6 In the same conference, one individual boldly told the largely Ganda audience what they actually need to be made to understand; and what any body who claims to be a friend of Mmengo should be telling the oligarchy there. George Kanyeihamba remarked that, “If Buganda is ever to have its way and obtain what its representatives say it desires, they must persuade, cajole, consult and if need be, dance to the tune of the rest of Ugandans.” Yes, dance to the tune of the rest of Ugandans, which, according to the Odoki report is as clear as it is above. So, why do some of you, and here I mean the likes of you, Pilipo Oruni and, yes, RM Mutebi, want to turn Baganda into fools?

    Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto

  2. LCpl. Patrick Otto

    First of all may I request you that in future you should refrain from mentioning the name of the Kabaka of Buganda in such a careless manner, especially when you link my name in.

    To answer your question, we are not going to run round in circles over federalism. What matters is that the issue of federalism is now recognised as a national issue. That is why FDC and DP have pledged to address it. In fact just a few days ago the new leader of the DP Hon. Mao said that “Implementing federalism is a manifesto policy of the DP”, and that he would implement federalism if DP is elected to power. So, the negative voices of people like you have become irrelevant. What matters is that the DP or FDC get elected to power and federalism will be implemented.

    Regards

    Pilipo Oruni

  3. Mr Oruni,

    1/8 Later, I will try to understand what you really mean by “….mentioning the name of the Kabaka of Buganda in such a careless manner, especially when you link my name in…”. What should be obvious for all to see is that, you Pilipo Oruni and RM Mutebi have made certain claims and it is those claims that I was addressing. The similarity of the claims that you two individuals have made clearly link you. As you can see in my submission, I carefully quoted the statements that both of you have made publicly, careless statements that, as far as I am concerned, have the effect of deluding the people of Buganda.

    2/8 You have talked of answering my question, and your answer is: “we are not going to run round in circles over federalism..” What question of mine are you answering here? You would almost make your reader think that I was inquiring from you about the mode of locomotion, and the geometrical pattern that is going to characterise our manner of interaction with the question of federalism in Uganda. Running, and probably not walking; probably in squares and not in circles. I did not ask about that.

    3/8 You asserted that, “Buganda wants federalism so do the majority of Ugandans”. Never mind about the way in which you couch your assertion as if to mean that the rest of Uganda is a footnote to Buganda. My question (which you have left unanswered and given an answer to another question that I did not ask), is: What do you mean by “majority of Ugandans”? How and when did you measure that majority?

    4/8 You are saying that, “What matters is that the issue of federalism is now recognised as a national issue.” That is a redundant statement. Of course it is a national issue, especially when you view it against federalism’s antithesis, namely, unitarism. There is nothing profound about your statement. I hope you are not telling us that federalism is a national issue, therefore federalism it should be implemented. Are you? You also add that FDC and DP have pledged to address it. Nothing profound about that either. Even ADF and Opon Acak’s CAMP etc pledged to address federalism. All those assertions you make do not answer the question of where you derive the view that the majority of Ugandans want federalism. It is important that you do not dodge that question because ultimately, what matters is what the majority of Ugandans aspire for, and we have to be truthful about that.

    5/8 Now you are going ahead to imply that federalism will be implemented because Mr Mao has pledged to do so. Are you now saying that Mr Mao is “the majority of Ugandans” that you referred to earlier? Is Mr Mao going to be an autocrat who will bulldoze the rest of Ugandans to implement his pledges? What are you really telling us here?

    6/8 Of course, your final statements says it all about the airiness of the convictions and beliefs of many of us here: “What matters is that the DP or FDC get elected to power and federalism will be implemented.” So once again, are those two factions going to dictate their whims on everybody? What about the Odoki report which actually carries the voice of the people? How about the statement by the leader of the same FDC that you refer to above, who says that Ugandan people spoke in the Odoki report? What did he mean? And by the way here is what the Odoki report said:

    “From statistical analysis of views received, it clearly appeared that the first two lower levels of Resistance Councils (RCs) and the individual and group memoranda preferred the federal form while RC 3, 4 and 5 preferred the unitary form. In analysing the individual and group memoranda which prefer the federal form, the majority of these were from Buganda. From the reports of seminars at district and sub-county level as well as other seminars, the issue of the form of government again proved controversial. The majority of such reports from Buganda preferred the federal system while those from the Eastern, Northern and Western areas preferred the unitary form”
    [Paragraph 9.8 of “The report of the Uganda Constitutional Commission, 1993”]

    7/8 Mr Oruni, are you disregarding that report, or your interpretation of those words is that “the majority of Ugandans want federalism”? You say:”…the negative voices of people like you have become irrelevant…”. So, basing on what the Odoki report says, are the voices of the people of Eastern, Western and Northern Uganda “negative voices”? Majority voices are irrelevant voices?

    8/8 Far from attempting to mystify RM Mutebi by telling us that we should not link him with you, you are better off suggesting to his aides to advise him to withdraw publicly the false attributions he made to the Odoki report. Recall what RM Mutebi stated: “It is clear that from the findings of the Odoki Commission people wanted to have this system,” ….. “That was the authentic voice of the people. So why deny them that right?” . That is very clearly a false assertion, in light of Para 9.8 of that same report. RM Mutebi has to recognise that there are hordes of individuals that believe in what he says unquestioningly and without reasoning. Therefore, he has to be careful about what he says. What ever he says has to be scrupulously considered, honourable and truthful. He (RM Mutebi) will become a national security threat if he starts throwing around such careless and fallacious statements as the one I am referring to above, statements that are untruthful, statements that only have the effect of stupefying the people that believe in him unquestioningly. With such ill-considered and untruthful statements, RM Mutebi will set Uganda on fire. Sadly, Buganda will not survive the melee.

    Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto

  4. Under a federal constitution, Buganda would be, but, just one of the equal principal states or regions of Uganda. Federalism is an arrangement of power sharing between states or regions of a nation. I am not aware that Buganda wants anything else other than federalism. Uganda was plunged political turmoil in 1966when Obote effectively outlawed local and regional government in favour of central government prescriptive administration. There is need to change things, ie move to federalism to bring national stability and development.

    Regards

    Pilipo Oruni

  5. Pilipo Oruni

    1} Who does Buganda want to Federate with, and what has Buganda done with that individual she wants to federate with for you to reach a conclusion that Buganda wants to Federate?

    Edward Mulindwa
    Toronto

  6. Mw. Mulindwa

    Buganda wants federalism of equal status with other regions of Uganda. I hope this is clear enough. I don’t need to reach any conclusion that Buganda wants federalism. For, if Uganda is a democratic nation as it will eventually become, then the matter will be put as election manifesto to the people by political parties such as FDC and DP. Hon. Mao has stated that implementing federalism is DP manifesto policy, and he will implement federalism if DP is elected to power. the discussion has now progressed beyond the debate about the merits and demerits of federalism to implementation stage. We are just hoping that DP and FDC will come to power and federalism will become a reality.

    Regards

    Pilipo Oruni

  7. Mr Oruni,

    You say,

    “Buganda wants federalism of equal status with other regions of Uganda.”

    So, is Buganda to be a federal state of equal status with Karamoja? What do you mean by your statement? It is not clear enough.

    You are also saying that, “Hon. (sic) Mao has stated that implementing federalism is DP manifesto policy, and he will implement federalism if DP is elected to power. the discussion has now progressed beyond the debate about the merits and demerits of federalism to implementation stage.”

    Do you mean that the act of Mr Mao declaring that federalism is a DP manifesto policy means that the country is now ready to adopt a form of government that is based on federalism? So, to you, all it takes is Mr Mao declaring federalism as a DP manifesto policy, and all debate is therefore over, and we are ready for implementation? What are you really telling us?

    So, what matters are the subjective feelings of some politicians. The objective conditions on the ground are not an issue for the successful implementation of federalism. And no, our debate here for example has not been merely on merits and demerits. We also talked about requisites of federalism. Are they in place? Why is it that, four years into the post-independence pseudofederal dispensation the leader of the federal state of Buganda was threatening to evict the government of Uganda? Why did that initial federalism fail?

    Why do we talk about federalism as though we have never tried it? Why did it fail in the first place because we seek to re-introduce it? Was it not almost leading to the setting the whole country on fire? What did we learn?

    Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto

  8. Are u really a learned scholar? it seems otto u are dancing on the tunes of Museveni. Oba otegera lwamukaaga oba Sunday? It seems u hate buganda. But u will continue to feel its pressure untill u die. Wetugile ku munyanya and leave outside Buganda if u dont like it.ewamwe wawunya.
    Nsamba.Si busungu

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