There are details about the lost counties in some history books such as S. R. Karugire’s book (see attachments) – seemingly biased towards UPC and grossly anti-Buganda and anti-Kabaka. My first impression is that the bias did Karugire’s academic credentials some injustice. For example, on page 117, Karugire claims that the Kabaka was autocratic! Yet, people rioted when Muteesa II was forced into exile by the British.
My understanding is that Bunyoro is seeking boundaries as they stood before the 1900 agreement. However, Bunyoro does not provide a map to show its boundaries during that period (of Kabarega and Mwanga), bearing in mind that the British bafuruki found Muteesa I and Mwanga at war against Bunyoro already. I.e., the war between Buganda and Bunyoro was not started by Wazungu – Wazungu could have helped Buganda though, but probably not to a great extent as exaggrated, seeing that Mwanga started to chase Wazungu from Buganda, which led to his deportation together with his erstwhile archenemy, Kabarega. Furthermore, at that time, Buganda had her own internal squabbles, some of which were inter-religious. No where is it factually established that the British donated counties to Buganda for collaboration, although there are heresay statements in Karugire’s book; many are quotations of the colonialists’ opinions. Instead, it seems, the British stopped the expansion of Buganda by Mwanga, and forced Buganda into a state with the neighbouring territories. The British wanted even to form an East African protectorate if Buganda had not refused.
Nonetheless, firstly, Bunyoro’s claims for Bugerere and other counties are pressed by Banyoro only. By independence in 1962, the agreement was to hold a referendum for Buyaga and Bugangazzi, and not any other counties. Bunyoro indeed repossessed Buyaga and Bugangazzi.
Furthermore, it appears, from article 2 of the 1900 agreement that Buganda forfeited some territory outside today’s boundaries, besides Buyaga and Bugangazzi. In the Uganda Agreement of 1900, article 2 states: “The Kabaka and chiefs of Uganda hereby agree henceforth to renounce in favour of Her Majesty the Queen any claims to tribute they may have had on the adjoining provinces of the Uganda Protectorate”.
My hypothesis is additionally supported in Karugire, pages 220 -221. The Banyoro petitioned Buganda and the British for the return of the ‘lost counties’ (Karugire, page 220). In response, Kabaka’s communiqué to the British Governor dated the 18th June 1960, .Item 3 states: “If it were decided, largely on historical grounds, to alter boundaries which have remained unchanged for more than 60 years, it would be inequitable that revision should be confined to the Territories referred in the Petition. My government might well decide to put forward claims to any or all of the lands which formed part of the ancient Kingdom of Buganda” (Karugire, page 221).
The short of it is that it is difficult to know who, between Bunyoro and Buganda, controlled which areasprecisely before 1900, as the two protagonists were at war winning and losing some. Wazungu came after Bunyoro had lost much of its territory partly due to mismanagement and over-expansion. Indeed other history references indicate that some territories seceded from Bunyoro (I think Koki is one example). Kabarega was notably ruthless for some of his territories.
The fact that Banyoro are interested in the lost counties, only in Buganda, is an indication of ulterior forces driving their demand. Toro, as an example, was part of Bunyoro – they should reclaim Toro and Kigezi. Taking Bugerere to Bunyoro will dictate that Buganda also asks for its own lost counties she controlled before 1900. Also note that the British bafuruki used the agreement of 1900 to stop Buganda from seceding and to from forming an independent state. It is as if revoking the 1900 agreement allows Buganda (as well as other regions) to renegotiate her status. If the 1900 agreement is invalid, current Uganda, Buganda, Bunyoro, etc boundaries are also invalid. This implies that Uganda has to be re-constituted. I.e., another constitution has to be written. It would seem that Bunyoro is trying to resurrect old wars, at least considering statements made by Isabanyala.
Finally, Buganda has to write her own view of history.