Hon. Kyanjo and the bigger picture


Dear friends,

I have followed the discussion about the statements Hon. Kyanjo made
during the Buganda Conference, the subsequent interrogations by state
agencies, and now it is reported that he has been disowned the Mengo

I do not agree that Kyanjo was improper or out of context in his
remarks. Uganda has not lived a day without militarism and war for
almost 40 years. Kyanjo’s orientation and that of many Ugandans of his
age and below is tuned into war as the ultimate option to address
grievances over political participation and resource inequalities. The
ideological orientation of the leadership is equally the same, and in
1999 while addressing the manufacturers association at Lugogo, the
president referred to it as a business he has done for 30 years. I
have many times listened to the presidents’ aids, the army commander,
Ministers, government officials threatening war against those opposing
the NRM or the government. In the same Buganda conference, Kakoza
Mutale mocked Buganda for making demands yet they lack “power”, and
added that he has power because he “fought”. He has not been accused
of insinuating that if Buganda wants power or meet their demands, they
must go to war.

My view is that with more than 23 years in “power”, this is a time to
hold some difficult conversations about governance, and I believe this
is what Hon. Kyanjo is communicating to the country. The failure to
transform the culture of violence or to deconstruct narratives of war,
questions the relevance of three critical concepts i.e. National,
Resistance, and Movement that mostly influence politics in Uganda
today. His remarks are a microcosm of this conversation, around
questions like “what is national about governance in Uganda”, “is this
still a resistance or a replication”, “what constitutes the acclaimed

Hon. Kyanjo appears to imply that one cannot talk about a “resistance”
where there was no resistance, but a replication of the same old ways
of governance he has seen 40 years of his life. He perceives exclusion
and domination by an oligarchy, as opposites to the nationalism and
statesmanship that dominated the political discourse in the late
1980s. Like many other opinions I have read, Hon. Kyanjo seems to have
concluded that this was not a “movement”, because “domination” and
“replication” contradict the central defining characteristics of many
known movements. The Anti-apartheid movement in South Africa did not
replicate apartheid.

But then he is also wrong, because he did not define what he meant by
“democracy” in a way that is relevant to Uganda. He looses the debate
if meant “constitutional democracy”, because that is where the NRM is
at its best and has impressed donors. Be he has a definite short at
winning the debate about “utilitarian democracy”, one that tailors
governance to serve and add value to everyday life of the common
people. Here, he may have tones of evidence at the grassroots to
disqualify many claims by the government and its advocates.

I therefore take the war talk in that context, and would expect the
government and readers not to individualize it. War defines many in
Uganda to day, not only in the north, many have grown up with “war in
mind” through images, threats and slogans, but mostly as perpetrators
or victims. It is not surprising that  one would use war talk to make
a political statement, and even promise to stand by his words
regardless of who disowns him.

Ashad Sentongo


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.

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