The Lango Development Plan

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For those not so well conversant with Luganda, the English Edition follows:

The Lango Development Plan

On 04th March 1971, the president of Uganda, General Idi Amin Dada, authorised the release for public consumption, a once upon a time Top Secret document meant for ex-president Apollo Milton Obote and the UPC top elites from Lango, to be read on Radio Uganda. The document which was authored by a one Okello-Apello, claiming to be airing the views of the Langi elders, was one of the Top Secret documents that had been confiscated by the Army after the 25th January 1971 military coup d’etat. Here below is the document in detail.

Your Excellency, Dr. A.M. Obote,

Thank the heavens! We wish you the best of luck, and long live our dear son. Lead the people of Uganda with dignity and at the same time as per the norms of the Langi culture. We have taken it upon ourselves to study the different regions and peoples of Uganda with the aim of finding out what the different tribes think and do. We have also got feedback from fellow Langi who work in different regions of Uganda but have now returned back to Lira, on how ready they are to give you advice on how best you can rule Uganda. In its entirety, here below is our advice:

First of all, the Langi were mistreated by the British colonialists and, after the departure of the British after attaining independence, all the tribes of Uganda despised us. We had very few educated Langi which led to all the top government posts being filled by people from other tribes. This made all the Langi to envy other tribes. We are now totally convinced that should you follow to the letter what is stipulated in our document, herewith known as The Lango Development Plan, Lango shall rise and shine and, you shall be able to rule Uganda for at least 50 years!

Fundamental steps to be taken:

  1. Increase the number of schools in Lango and post in them highly educated teachers, we shall take it upon ourselves to fill the schools with pupils and students every year.
  2. We must ensure that Langi are made Education Officers in order to equate the number of Acholi Education Officers, or even to supersede them. We must not accept the Acholi to boast that they are cleverer than us, Langi.
  3. With immediate effect, send Langi students abroad on scholarships. We must ensure that vacancies are reserved for them in key government positions to deter people from other tribes being employed in such positions, such that our sons and daughters get employed immediately upon their return. In the unlikely event, should an Acholi be employed in a key position, then he should not be boss to a Langi.
  4. Increase the number of industries and factories in Lango in order to boost our economic power. We are well aware that this will cause the other districts to become jealousy of any developments in Lango, but this shall force the other regions to federate with us basing on our strong purchasing power base. The only serious opposition we might face is from the Acholi, especially should the number of industries in their region increase.
  5. We are aware that there is a considerable number of Acholi in the army, police and Prisons’ forces more than the Langi. We would be grateful if the numbers of Langi were increased to supersede the Acholi, and we request that this be implemented as soon as possible. We foresee with dismay the danger of the Lugbara and Madi joining forces in order to topple your government. We therefore recommend that the following Langi army officers: Arach Metucela, Oboma Ayumu, Ogwang and Elyak, be promoted immediately in order to head the armed forces. Since we do not trust other tribes, Metucela Arach should be promoted to the rank of Major General and, either Oboma or Elyak be made Chief of Staff. With respect to Police, Odongo should be made the Inspector General of Police and Samson Ochan should be made the Commissioner for Prisons. Should these recommendations delay to be implemented, we shall suffer heavily. We therefore make the following proposals in order to implement these recommendations: There is quite a considerable number of Acholi officers in the Police and Prisons forces who have served for quite a long time although they are not well educated. You should promote these not so-intelligent elderly officers but not the young energetic intelligent Acholi. Langi youthful officers should be strategically put to work side by side with these Acholi elderly officers so that with time you weed out the Acholi and replace them with the Langi youthful officers. The good in keeping the elderly Acholi officers is that they despise any advice from the youthful Acholi that could lead them to get ideas of toppling your government. We should be wary of Idi Amin despite his being semi-illiterate because he can easily join hands with intelligent Lugbara who can plan to topple your government. We do not want that Acholi, Anywar, to be head of the Special Branch. This post should be given to a Langi.
  6. We wish that all recruiting officers in all government departments are Langi. This will give a chance to those Langi who did not get access to education to get access to wealth. Any Indian or foreign national who mistreats a Langi should be expelled from Uganda. The following ministries should be headed by Langi: Planning and Economic Development; Agriculture; Education and; Health. The Acholi should not be given an opportunity to head ministries or even departments that are directly in the line of developing the country.
  7. Whenever a need arises to carry out a project in Acholi, the same project should also be carried out in Lango, as a must. Should there be any programme to be executed by the Acholi, we must see to it that also Langi officers are involved.
  8. Send as many Langi officers as possible to work in Acholi, especially as administrators. This shall dupe the villagers in Acholi that we Langi are the best educated. Ensure that the District Commissioner for Acholi district is always a Langi who shall give us a non-compromised report on exactly what the Acholi are up to. This DC should also encourage the fanning of divisions among the Acholi and any progressive Acholi with the intent of uniting East and West Acholi should be earmarked. However, should East Acholi wish to join us, they should be most welcome, in fact should there be any developmental projects to be carried out in Acholi, they should be along the border areas with Lango in order for the Langi to benefit the most.
  9. Please ensure that many Langi join the ranks of NUYO, as this will dupe the other tribes that its only the Langi who are capable of leading the nation. We should instil this myth in the minds of all the other tribes by ensuring that only Langi are appointed in key administrative posts. This will serve us well since the country is headed for development because then all the other tribes in Uganda shall be made to believe that it is only Langi who are capable of being good leaders and that anything good can only be found in Lango.
  10. The Langi are quite unhappy about the current boundaries with Acholi. The boundary should have been from Adilang straight to Bobi following the road to Koch and Karuma. This was the wise counsel of Yakobo Adoko. On the side of Teso, Kumam territory should be annexed to Lango, whereas on the side of Karamoja, Lango should stretch up to Labwor.
  11. We should be secretive on whatever goes on within Lango. All developmental projects in Lango should not be brioadcast on the national Radio or even in the newspapers. People without a strong foundation should not be allowed to work in Lango. At the same time, people who are well conversant with Lango but despise us should also not be allowed to serve in Lango. This should be so in order to avoid the impression that Lango is being developed at a fast rate at the expense of other regions.
  12. The following departments should be headed by Langi: Public Service Commission; Uganda Development Corporation; Nyanza Textiles; Tororo Cement Works; Uganda Hotels; Kilembe Mines and Uganda National Parks. All this is possible but it seems that there is an element of inferiority complex. Please also note the following:

Ankole: Kahigiriza is incapable of implementing our ideals because of the fear that someone else could take over his position.

Kigezi: Mpambara readily accepts anything put before him on his plate.

Toro: Samson Rusoke is wary of Rwambarali because he thinks that the latter might replace him as the Omuhikiirwa (Prime Minister) of Toro.

Buganda: There is nothing to fear in Buganda, except for that stupid Acholi by the names of Daudi Ochieng, who is not even liked by the Baganda themselves. Even in his own home he is not popular and his relatives loathe him as well, they do not trust him.

Busoga: Nadiope is well aware how he faces eminent opposition from Bamutire and also how he is dislikedby the Basoga in Iganga.

Lango: You are adored by all in lango except for that fool Ben Emor, who tried to make himself popular by means of trying to promote the Union. Emor has been earmarked and all his movements are being monitored.

Acholi: There is nothing to fear in Acholi land, for all the bad elements were taken care of by Peter Oola. The remnants are now located outside the district and, even though they returned; it would be too late because no Acholi could believe what they preached.

Lugbara and Madi: These are hopeless people, there is nothing to fear among them.

  1. The Scholarships Committee responsible for sending students abroad should be composed of only dedicated Langi. Educating of the Acholi should be put in check; however, there should be no fear for educating the other tribes.
  2. We wish that all the teachers in Ngeta and Boroboro TTC be strictly Langi. Teachers from other tribes other than Langi who wish to teach in schools and institutions found in Lango should have a good knowledge of the Langi Luo version and English only.
  3. It is an open secret that there is a privately owned school in Acholi which is aided by the government. This school falls in the same category as those of Jefania Okae and Kejekia Okulu in Lango district. Where is it that these latter two schools in Lango are not aided by the government?
  4. We do not want to see any Jaluos in Lira or even to see them fishing in Kwibale, Namasale, Acung, Ibuje or any other place in Lango. They should relocate to Acholi or West Nile.
  5. We hope that you are well aware how the Baganda used to seat on the busts of our grandparents while they drank liquor or brew. This act by the Baganda shall always be remembered by us, the Langi. Up to till today, the Acholi tease us how they used to burn us just like game, when will the Acholi ever be roasted like a game of elephants? At times Akena Adoko tells us that he is the only one capable of dealing with the Acholi.
  6. We reliably learnt from G.M. Okae that there are  two Acholi lecturers in the Makerere University College, why are there no Langi lecturers? Maybe this is the reason why there are also few Langi students in the University College, reason being that they (Langi) are frustrated by the Acholi lecturers. The Langi should be trained as tomorrows leaders since they are to rule Uganda.

Your Excellency,

This is the full report of our investigations from all the regions of Uganda. As per our wish, there should be no elections at all, for what benefit is it to hold general elections today? The general elections we held in the first place was because we wanted to end colonial rule and thus expel the British; now whom do we want to expel to necessitate the holding of general elections? We acknowledge the authority you command owing to your position as President of the Party, a phenomenon that has generated a lot of envy among your fellow UPC inner circle. Should you allow any other person to take over that position, we as Langi shall be subjected to enormous suffering. Increase the ranks of Langi officers within the army, police and prison forces and the commander of the Special Force must be a Langi and not from any other tribe. We do not want an Acholi to head the Special Branch.

Never familiarise yourself with Acholi because they are not to be trusted and can easily poison you. There is no doubt that you are capable of ruling Uganda for 50 years should you collaborate with the great sons of Lango such as Adoko .A. Nekyon, J.M. Okae, Abdallah Anyuru, Joel Wacha-Olwol, Ben Otim-Etura and Yokosafati Engur who is currently overseas. We wish you success, God blessed us to cooperate and work with you, in fact should anyone attempt to do you any harm, we are willing to sacrifice our own lives for you. Long live our son, we are your confidants and this document should only be circulated only among members of our most trusted inner circle.

An addendum to this document contained the following advice.

Our Great Leader, Apollo Milton Obote,

  1. You should not be deceived by anyone that the Acholi detest Peter Oola. We the Langi, like Oola so much because it is through him that we can undermine the Acholi.
  2. Never at any give time, allow Alipayo Oloya to be the chairman of Acholi District Council (ADC). We as Langi, protest such a move. Do you best to have the ADC chairmanship elections postponed until such a time when we have got a suitable person to replace Alipayo Oloya.
  3. Save us from these Acholi, we detest Eria Lakidi’s being in Entebbe and others also from Acholi district.
  4. Save us from the Acholi, we do not want any Acholi to be a minister of either the Agriculture, or Planning and Economic Development.
  5. Felix Onama should be made the Secretary General of UPC. We protest John Kakonge’s being given any post in UPC. We detest Otim-Oryem, an Acholi, being the Organiser of the Party.
  6. Save us from the Acholi, we do not want Wilson Lutara to be in a position where he can gain access to government secrets because he shall then be in a position to pass them over to the Acholi.
  7. Great leader, a considerable number of Langi should be posted in Acholi landas informants in order to keep us updated on what the Acholi are up to.
  8. Save us from the Acholi, you gave our land to the Acholi, when shall it be returned to us?
  9. Your Excellency, with all our hearts we request you to save us from the Acholi. Ensnure that Erinayo Oryema remains the Inspector General of Police until such a time when a suitable Langi replacement is found.
  10. Your Excellency, you are well aware of how the Acholi disrespect us the Langi, why have you decided to keep mum?

This is all, Your Excellency, that there is to inform you. We shall send you an envoy at a later time. We have nominated you as the Party President and wish you success. Thank the Heavens.

Signed,

Okello-Apello

Lira, Lango

6 June 1968


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.

3 responses »

  1. The letter from the Acholi Officer actually appeared in Africa Now magazine of August 1983 (not 1984 as I had earlier stated). That letter was subsequently caarried in a book: Rupesinghe, Kumar ed. (1989), “Conflict Resolution in Uganda” (London: James Currey).

    The letter is part of E. Khiddu-Makubuya’s chapter, “Paramilitarism and Human Rights” and appears on pages 153-154. The book was a result of an international seminar at Makerere University held from 21-25 September 1987. I have attached the PDF version of that letter for you and for those that think I concocted it.

    Note that, this letter was brought up on the forum after Mr Mulindwa (a UPC activist) started the bizarre campaign that, Kabaka RM Mutebi and Cardinal E Nsubuga were Luwero murderers. I take note of your comment that ‘…it really does not help Ugandans if people are fed on things which have no factual foundation at all…’, except that, I do not know which/whose particular ‘things’ you are referring to: Mr Mulindwa’s claims or the counterclaims that are supported by documentary evidence.
    When some forumists, particularly UPC supporters, turn this forum into a platform of denying and whitewashing the weaknesses of their organisation and clearly start dancing on the graves of the many people that perished at the hands of government agencies, they have to be mindful of the fact that their cynicism will not pass unchallenged. The options here are not many: if UPC forumists want to talk about Luwero, they should do so as a way of owning up, or simply keep quiet about..

    The other option is to concentrate on debating issues that meaningful unite us. When we bring up those issues, you will never hear people like Mr Ochieno contributing to the debate. His excuse is: the NRA class of 86 will plagiarize our ideas. Instead, he concentrates on taunting the Baganda by telling them such rubbish as ‘Brother’, ‘sister’, ‘UPC is Buganda’s friend’ etc ad nauseum; and talking about Luwero terrorists endlessly.

    When we bring out documentary evidence to show who the Luwero terrorists were, the UPCs start crying foul or start blaming the murders by UNLA on Kabaka Mutebi and Cardianl Nsubuga, or asking some of us such useless questions as proof of our Luo clans etc.

    So, Mr Kadameri and others who are reacting with skepticism to documentary evidence that keeps cropping up here, there is need to appreciate why forumists bring up such information. It is because of forumists who will neither own up to past mistakes nor participate in a meaningful debate on the future. Those that keep drifting into cynical denial will be jolted into their senses with documentary evidence.

  2. Guys,

    I have done my research in the course of writing a book and I failed to find any evidence of the authenticity of the so-called Lango Development Master Plan. Even without trying to be an Obote apologist, I think the so-called LDMP was most likely a poorly done concoction by Amin’s cohorts in trying to justify what he was trying to do against Obote’s kinsmen in the aftermath of the 1971 coup.

    You will note that within months of taking power he had removed the only Lango member of his cabinet Yekosafati Engur, whose only qualification for the job was that he was not buddy buddy with his tribesmate Obote. He was replaced by Henry Kyemba who later went on to become minister of health till 1977.

    The only high ranking Langi to survive Amin were Kassim Obura Abak (Police, because he was Muslim), Lt Col Abednego Orech Okot (still alive who was director of the army band and of course Amin loved brass band people though he killed Ahmed Oduka but tolerated Orech Okot and Venansio Okello of police. Okello was Acholi.) I have never found out why Amin’s security tolerated Captain Smith Opon Acak until 1977 when he fled or Captain Egwar from Akokoro who stayed on until Amin was overthrown , joined the UNLA and was shot dead by fellow UNLA soldiers in Mbuya barracks in 1980.

    But when anybody thinking Amin was after the Langi, to somewhat appear less brutal to Acholi was mistaken as you all know.

    I have no evidence that the letter by the Acholi UNLA officer mentioned in New Africa magazine was genuine. However what I do know, with evidence of graying letters I manage to get in the course of my research, was that there was another type of letter that was circulating and being sent to only Acholi officers from around March 1985. Some people claimed the letter, written on duplicating paper, was by NASA trying to scare off some Acholi officers suspected to be working with Bazilio Okello to destabilise President Obote while others suspected it was from a third party wishing to sow discord among UNLA officers with the aim of making things difficult for government.

    The copies I got in the course of my research were mailed to Lt. Richard Ochieng and Lt John Okot, both of UNLA Magamaga Ordnance Base Depot, Jinja. It read: “Dear Lt Okot, It has come to our knowledge that you are involved in a distardly machination to try and overthrow the government of Uganda through unconstitutional means. We take this opportunity to warn you to desist from such an act, the consequences of which will be too ghastly to contemplate. Signed. Concerned Ugandans.”

    As I said, it was never clear who were behind this kind of communication but bearing in mind the poisoned atmosphere in the then national army, it could have been from anywhere.

    This to help some of us who may not have known about such issues.

    Cheers

    Billie

  3. The LDMP was one of the things rammed into our juvenile minds in “O” Level Political Education class in the early 80’s. But as young as we were, we could discern that it was a concoction to drive a sharp wage between two people in order to rule them. The teachers didn’t have to slant the lessons to achieve the effect.

    I don’t see a true Lango saying “a Langi” which is plural, in reference to a Lango, singular.

    If history has to teach us anything, let it be for goodness sake, not to peddle machinations and falsehoods that only serve to divide Ugandans more.

    Billie (O’Kadameri I suppose), I like your enlightened response.

    Benson.

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