When talking about Uganda as a country, there is one big issue that should always be remembered and that is Buganda, in fact very many naysayers and patriots of Buganda region think that Uganda was Buganda before independence which is somehow true but not so factual because of the available history.
Thinking about Uganda and how it got independence, personally I give credit to Buganda because I don’t really know whether we would be organized as a country the way we are right now if it wasn’t their effort to cut deals with Mzungu.
A little bit of history states that foreign influences like Islamic and Christian religions began to reach Buganda in the 19th century during the rule of Mutesa I in the years between 1856–1884. After the death of Mutesa I, the kingdom was split by a number of politico and religious factions. In 1894 Buganda became part of the British province of influence, and in 1900 the Buganda Agreement made it formally a British protectorate and this is when the real story started up to date.
I know very many people will read the title of this opinion and stop there, others will read the first paragraph and make conclusions but I would wish that everyone reading this does so giving it the attention it deserves because it’s not about annoying anyone but stating facts as they were and how they are currently. In the year 1861, John Speke reached Acholi and history says that he was the first European to come to Uganda and later in 1862 he crossed from Acholi and came to Buganda.
In 1890, Captain Frederick Lugard signed a treaty with the Buganda on behalf of the Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEA) and became the first administrator in Buganda meaning that the colonialism of the white man had started in Buganda and since the white man was treasured by the baganda, there was no resistance at all. In 1894 British protection over Buganda was secured, Busoga and Toro were incorporated in Buganda.
Now in the year 1900, the Uganda Agreement was drawn up giving Buganda more internal autonomy than was granted to the rest of the country which led to much disagreement during the rest of British rule and it’s exactly here that Buganda started thinking that it can colonize the other regions like Busoga, Bunyoro and Toro.
During this period, Baganda moved to several places that were out of Buganda and this was purposely to expand their territory that’s why you find that many people say that Buganda land starts from the Nile bridge and exactly when you cross the bridge you start seeing Buganda Land Board signposts and it’s also true that people in Njeru,Mbiko and the surrounding places pay “OBUSULU” and this must have come about because of this very history of the British rule and how they went to bed with Buganda to rule over the country.
Since years ago, Buganda has always wanted to colonize other regions and the country at large, in 1949, civilriots broke out in April and September. Baganda wanted the right to bypass government price controls on cotton exports, the removal of the Asian monopoly on cotton ginning, the right to have their own representatives in local government to replace chiefs etc. This has never stopped because even in the current Uganda it is always the big region wanting to decide for the whole country politically and on very many other social issues.
It should also be remembered that in Nov 15, 1998, Clan leaders in Buganda protested against any Muganda who may try to make a will in favor of a daughter in a family. The chiefs declared that a daughter cannot become a heir in family something that seems to be good for culture but at the same time bad because it deprives females of their rights to own property and to also manage estates of their families. The clan leaders alleged that whoever includes a girl in the will goes against the traditional norms of the Baganda and this has been followed by almost all the cultures in the country.
Since the British came at the invitation of Buganda, they established a Uganda based on the collaboration of Buganda meaning that they kept adding other parts of the country to Buganda and Ultimately, the nation’s administrative institutions were based in Entebbe and Kampala, hospitals, schools and political institutions. The rest of the country had to gather here in Buganda and the whole country was swallowed by this mess by the British making all these regions to bow down for Buganda because it was the center of everything.
The other mess brought about by the Buganda-British collaboration was the application of the Buganda ideal of administration to parts of Eastern and Western Uganda which entailed the employment of Baganda personnel as agents of colonial rule and the use of the Luganda language for official business something that exists up to date.
Doing business anywhere in the country requires that you speak Luganda, in bars, clubs and Universities you find the youth using Luganda to communicate even when they are from the other regions and this shows how far Buganda has gone with its colonial tendencies. This has led the Baganda to develop a deep sense of their own importance to Uganda to an extent of wanting to dictate everything including how the country is supposed to be run.
The kingdom of Buganda had for a long time generated bitterness throughout Uganda, because it had enjoyed a position of unequalled supremacy throughout the colonial period. Many Baganda in fact developed an attitude of self-righteous arrogance towards the other people of Uganda that’s why you keep hearing many of them referring to others as understanding at 45 years, others for having “Empuutu” etc.
The importance of Buganda to the politics of the whole country derived not only from its historical role in the British colonial administration but also from its position as the geographical and economic heart of the whole country. We all appreciate the role played by Buganda in brokering the deals that led to us being colonized but again this shouldn’t be reason enough to take everyone else for granted because they are not Baganda.
At the back of my mind while writing this I also thought of those people who will bash me for thinking upright and putting this to record. Those are the few who keep not listening to the Kabaka’s message of Buganda being a welcoming kingdom. Some day if we all accept that we are Ugandans, we shall then never again tend to be more Ugandans than others.
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