Below is the response of the Colonial Secretary on the Bataka and their grievances on the loss of their land to the 1,000 or so new land owners created by the 1900 agreement:
Speech by E. B. Jarvis, Acting Governor of Uganda , to the Lukiko, 7 October 1926 on the grievances of the of the Bataka.
Ssabasajja Kabaka, Chiefs and all people of Buganda :
I have come to read out the decision in the case of the Abataka from the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
1. I asked Ssabasajja to summon an unusual Lukiko so that I could deliver to you the decision Of the Secretary of State for the Colonies in the Butaka land question which is the subject of much grievance in Buganda ; and which question, you all know, has been the subject of disagreement and correspondence for some years past.
2. You will recollect that a Commission of Inquiry was appointed in the year 1924, which was directed to carefully inquire and submit findings on the allocation of land by the Lukiko and to certify as to whether it was done in accordance with what had been stipulated in the 1900 agreement, and as to whether the allocation was based on the national custom of the olden days, and to recommend a measure of solution to be adopted, satisfying both parties and remedying any miscarriage of justice, upon finding that what was laid down in the agreement was not followed and the national customs or traditions were respected.
3. The members of the Commission of Inquiry, having carefully inquired into the matter, eventually found from the evidence put before them, that some of the Abataka were unlawfully expelled from their butaka and their butaka estates were allocated to other people who were not entitled to same according to the Buganda Agreement and the Secretary of State for the Colonies has accordingly directed that the Buganda Government be informed that he also agrees with what the members of the Commission of Inquiry have found as a fact. In spite of the fact that the above was the situation, the authority of Buganda Government had failed to find a way out to solve the problem and the matters then left with the British Government were two items only: (a) a complete refusal to consider this matter at all and (b) to appoint a committee with, powers to consider everything recommended by the Commission of inquiry.
4. With regard to the last question of, appointing a committee, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, although satisfied with the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into this difficult problem, and while appreciating their sympathetic considerations aimed at finding a solution satisfactory to both parties, believes that the majority of the people concerned will also appreciate the difficulty of formulating a set of safeguard rules to be followed by such a committee which might be appointed and that to try to do so now after such an elapse of a long time although with good intentions, presents more difficulties as it ,has been established for many years, which fact limits the possibility of a successful change over. For a considerable time in the past, it was an accepted policy without any dispute even from those who are now petitioning for an inquiry to a reversion; the Secretary of State for the Colonies has further considered that there will not be enough unacquired fertile land which could be exchanged with the proprietors of the lands sought to be acquired.
5. The Secretary of State for the Colonies agrees with the findings of the Commission that the question of large estates to an individual ownership when compared to the welfare of the country as a whole is not so important as safeguarding the interests or well-being of the native tenants who might settle on the land.
6. Because of the foregoing explanation, the Secretary of State for the Colonies intimates that the Government of Buganda and people should be informed that he has decided not to interfere in the matter under dispute and to have nothing to do with the Crown Provisional Land Certificates issued to landowners and confirmed by the British Government.
7. The Secretary of State for the Colonies desires it to be publicly understood that the Abataka Association’s petition to him regarding land allocations in Buganda Government has received due consideration and therefore this decision should be treated as final.
8. The Secretary of State for the Colonies, however, hopes that the Buganda Government will not fail to follow what the Governor may find fit to be done to take to reserve and preserve as may be practicable, the places known as burial grounds and which existed at the time of the Uganda Agreement.
9. It is further required to inform you that the Secretary of State for the Colonies is of the opinion that land allocation by the Lukiko and the procedure adopted by the Regents in land matters which were referred to them, during the minority of the Kabaka, were neither carried out with justice nor with the trust attached to their office; and has therefore felt much sorrow and forced to point out that the Buganda Government should be more strictly supervised than has been hitherto the case in land dealing matters; the rights of landowners in their estates and the safeguards to tenants who settle on such estates should be watched.
10. In conclusion I should like to remind you that it was first agreed when the Commission started its inquiry into the Butaka issue, that each party would be bound to accept whatever decision the Secretary of State for the Colonies may arrive at.
And I therefore sincerely hope without any doubt in my mind that both parties because of what was agreed before, will accept and humbly submit to this decision and forget (or bury) all what has been creating differences and start working together in good spirit for the welfare of Buganda development.
Lance Corporal (Rtd) Otto Patrick