JOHNSTON’S LANDLORDS, BATAKA ENDED!

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Dear UAH,

May be i can help to cure people’s  delusion about all this business of Abataka and SSabataka. Let me chip in.

With the signing of the 1900 agreement and the creation of the mainly protestant landed gentry, the Bataka lost all their estates.  Many had to dig up the bones of their ancestors as they were evicted by the new landlords.  Those evictions were effected by Bahima, as some people would want to tell us.  As you say, if it was not for the Busulu and Nvujjo law of 1928, the parasitism of the Johnstonian landed gentry was going to cause events similar to what France witnessed in 1789.
The heat was already on even in 1945-49, but AB Cohen helped Kabaka Mutesa II by deporting him.  That crystallised some sympathy from the same people that were already beginning to express disgust with Mmengo.  In many ways, the recent land act is the icing on the cake of the Busulu & Envujjo law of 1928: helps to clam down the restless former owners of Buganda land that were disinherited by the 1900 Agreement.
That whole business of some people claiming that they will defend their oppressors is a typical case of false consciouness: njagala omwami wange kubanga ankuba…Stockholm syndrome.
In any case, one of the UAH members called ,Mr Micheal Senyonjo, has titled land in Ruharo Ward in Mbarara.  Which Bahima have evicted him?  Is it because Harry Johnston declined to create landlords in Nkore and elsewhere?  I am assuming that we are talking about the Mr Senyonjo who was Baptised at St James Cathedral at Ruharo, as Michael Wilson Ishenyonzo, brought up by his Munyankore grandmother in that area, attended Mbarara Public School, and whose father is actually a Rwandan from Kyazanga, in Masaka….talk of weeping more that the bereaved.

Anyhow, let Mr Senyonjo and others in his category read the letter below of the grievances of the real Bataka that were robbed by those who are today pretending to be custodians of Buganda cultural heritage.  Let Mr Senyonjo show us how Kabaka Chwa responded to that petition, and I will show you an incurable Mukopi.

May 1921.

Kampala

Abataka to Chief Secretary, Government of Uganda

We have humbly addressed to you this letter while emploring you to kindly consider that is embodied therein and which have made us ap­proach His Excellency the Governor, and which runs thus:

We have eventually realized that a considerable length of time has been taken in our country of Buganda Kingdom, since the Abataka brought up their complaints for the re-acquisition of their Butaka lands: notwithstanding the fact that they have put up their rightful claims to the auth ority of our Buganda Government which should do justice, nothing is yet done for them because of the reason that those who are expected to arbitrate are the ones who unlawfully acquired their fellowmen’s butaka lands by reason of the 1900 agreement: which provided that each one should survey his own estates which he held in possession. Having realized our rights as the lineage sons of the Bataka in Buganda ; who pre served our country from long ago on the system of butaka land tenure, have to be recognized as well as our ancestors.

We, some of the Abataka, having discovered that a serious mistake was made in this matter, and are of the opinion that unless we try to put it to an end, it will ruin our kingdom, therefore humbly pray you to grant what we are asking you in this petition – which is that, ‘We have formed an association with the aim of preserving our Butaka estates in Buganda and is known as Ekibiina ky’ Abaganda Abataka’ (The Association of Baganda Ancestors or Bataka); and the following are the chief aims of its formation:

1. To start the reorganization of Butaka estates that existed before the advent to this country of His Majesty’s Government of England ;

2. To give ,back all butaka estate’s to the original proprietors in accordance with our native customs;

3. To preserve and to see that each one gets his original butaka estate and the British Government ratifies and preserve same;

4. To recognize all’clan institutions that existed in the country and their relative duties to our Kabaka and for each clan to have a repre sentative who airs her interests in the central legislature as we used to do in the olden times.

This association declares to be loyal to all good laws and to serve George V and all his successors as all other countries are directed to do in the Empire of His Majesty George V.

We humbly pray to the British Government to sympathetically con­sider the petition of the Abataka of Buganda , because of the grave error committed in our nation of Buganda and referred to above. We further humbly state that we realize that it will be difficult for our country to progress as is planned and promised by Government (unless the above error is remedied).

We have come to realize that the foundation of our country based on 1900 (agreement) tends to develop a smaller section of the country where as the larger section is on the contrary discontented and petitioning about the “preservation of the good customs of Buganda: we visualize the difficulty in the way of progress by Government without the support of the Abataka who form the nation of Buganda. Without the Bataka, there is not Buganda . We assume and hope, Sir, that you will agree to grant what we ask you in this letter and to receive and entertain whatever we shall submit to you for consideration and to sympathize with our case, as without such assistance, we feel we shall not endure and win what we are aiming at; we have formed this association not because of planning a rapid progress, .hut solely to have a pr6per foundation laid upon which progress, may be based. The agreement to send up this petition has been reached at the time when the chief signatories to the 1900 agreement are still alive because after their departure, it will be most difficult for the younger generation to come to settlement of such historical affairs now in dispute.

We earnestly pray soliciting your sympathy for any of our petitions and for your excused in having appended our signatories on matters of such an important nature as these.

We are, Sir, Your humble servants:

Daudi Basudde

Yuda Musoke Kasa

The Secretaries of the Association of Bataka of Buganda .


Lance Corporal (Rtd) Otto Patrick

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.

One response »

  1. My friend Corporal Otto,

    I am afraid I am yet to formulate a proper understaning of the land issues and arguments bedevilling Uganda and Buganda particulalrly. It would seem to me the government has actually obfuscated the fault-lines by not promulgating a law that gives clarity to all claimants to the usage of land. The tenant-occupiers must have protection in my view, and infact I would even suggest their claims must be superior to that of the absentee land-lord. The government should have come up with a scheme where the absentee land-lord is bought off or compensated and the legal ownership of land clarified and simplified, in a majority of cases bestowed on the tenant-occupier. I dont think Mmengo should be owning any land beyond what it needs to operate its kingdom. The problem obviously is that some people in the NRA have illegally occupied land or in other cases coerced sitting tenants to sell their land at uneconomic prices. Uganda being predominantly agricultural, the rights of the peasant occupiers must be paramount in my view.
    In the Philippines, land is the single biggest issue that has kept a communist rebellion going on since the 1930’s. 90% of the land is owned by less than 200 feudal families in a country of almost 100,000 million people. Thats why everytime the commnists have moved into an area, they have introduced their own radical agenda of land reform, completely ignoring the government proprammes. Often this has meant forcible land re-distribution and even expulsion of land-lords altogether.
    As to your claims about the antecedents of Mr Senyonjo, I am afraid I am not privy to that information. Perhaps the good friend will clarify whether it is a case of mistaken identity or not.

    George O.Pacu-Otto

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