Mistakes Makers and Opportunists Let us alone (mutuleke) at Entebbe State House
10th November, 2023
The NRM, after careful study in the 1960s, distilled the four principles of: Patriotism, Pan-Africanism, Social-economic transformation and Democracy. The four principles are in order to enable us achieve the three historical missions of: prosperity, strategic security and consolidating the brotherhood of the African peoples.
Hence, for prosperity, we ask the question: “Where does prosperity come from?” “Does it come from begging or donations?” “Can one sustainably get prosperity from Government hand outs?”
The answer is: “No.” Prosperity, can only come from the sell of goods and services a wealth creator profitably produces and sells. The next question, then, is: “ Who will buy what you produce and do so on a large-scale so that your goods or services will never Kudiba (to fail to get buyers)?”. As we try to answer this, we look at our tribes (communities).
The Banyankore are producers of milk, meat and bananas. Do they buy sufficiently from one another or they produce similar products so that A is not able to buy from B and B is not able to buy from A? The answer is that they produce similar products and, therefore, cannot easily buy from one another. That is how Uganda becomes a saviour to the Banyankore. It is, mainly, the non-Banyankore, who buy what the Banyankore produce.
That is why we say that patriotism is the correct principle for social economic transformation as opposed to sectarianism and tribal chauvinism. The Acholis, for instance, produce sim sim. They do not easily buy from one another. It is the people of Kampala, that buy the sim sim.
As Uganda settles down and wakes up from disorientation, the farmers, the manufacturers, the service providers, produce bigger quantities, so much that the internal market is not enough. Who, then, buys the surplus? That is how the NRM identified the importance of East Africa and Africa. Uganda has just woken up from the chaos of 1962-1986.
Although we are just waking up, we already have huge surplus of maize, bananas, milk, beef, sugar, sim sim, cassava, cement, mitayimbwa (steel bars), tyres, blankets, textiles, etc. It is East Africa, that is rescuing us. With the Ugandan market, the East African market and the African market, Uganda’s wealth creators are strong and secure enough to, together with other Africans, start negotiating with other countries of the World (the USA, the EU, China, India, Russia, etc.), for mutual access to one another’s market.
Only last night, I was watching on TV, the news from Argentina, where they are having elections. Argentina, one of the richest countries in the World in terms of agricultural land, minerals, oil I think, etc., is in such a desperate situation. By 1900, Argentina was the 10th richest country in the World. They were, for instance, the biggest producers of beef. I think their problems started with their being excluded from the European market when Europe created their protected market after the 2nd World War. Argentina and other Latin American countries made the mistake of not creating their own Latin American common market or even a political union of Latin America.
Hence, what I have been telling you repeatedly: misery in Latin America Vs prosperity in the neighbouring USA, the fact that the former is richer in natural resources notwithstanding.The second historical mission is strategic security. How can Africans ensure their strategic security by counteracting the quest by some actors in the World that are trying to gain superiority on land (land forces) , in the air (air-force), at sea (Navy) and in space (Satellites)? Can Uganda achieve these tasks even when it becomes a developed country? Why don’t the developed, individual European countries such as UK, France, Germany, etc., have these capacities? It is only the USA, China, Russia and now India, that either have or are developing these capacities. Hence, there is a point about size.
Size matters. The potential next member of the four dimensional operators, is likely to be Brazil. The Africans of East Africa are lucky. In addition to their ancient common heritage of Bantu, Nilo-tic, Nilo-Hamatic and Sudanic languages, which are either similar or linked, we have the good fortune of Swahili. That is why we insist on the Federation of East Africa to enable us to guarantee our strategic security by building a World- class Defence Force that can immunize us against all potential threats.
The third historical mission is precisely what I have just pointed out – the similarity and linkages among the African population of 1.5billion people. This huge population, within the huge continent of Africa, 12 times the land size of India, is just divided in 4 linguistic groups. These are: the Niger – Congo (Bantu and Kwa); the Nilo-saharan (the Nilotic, Nilo- Hamitic, Hamitic and Sudanic); the Afro- Asiatic (Amharic, Arabic, Tigrinya, etc.); and the Khoisan. Moreover, even between the linguistic groups, which are similar within each group, you find linkages – e.g. nyara in Luo, means sperming or urinating in all the Bantu dialects of this area.
In Luo, it means daughter. You can see how close the two words are. The question of the NRM to all the great actors in Africa is: “Why don’t you use these similarities and linkages among the African peoples to build appropriate unity so as to guarantee our prosperity and strategic security?”
Having restated the historical mission we identified and the principles we distilled to help us achieve them, let us now deepen our scrutiny on just one mission, the one of prosperity.
Once, through our four ideological principles, we have created an enabling framework for wealth creators to produce goods and services, what are the available sectors where they do this? The sectors are four. These are: commercial agriculture with ekibaro (cura, aimar, otita); manufacturing or artisianship; services (hotels, transport, health care, education, entertainment, etc.); and ICT. As a Ugandan or even a long time legal resident of Uganda, I am able, if I want, to create wealth in some or all of these sectors and sell the goods or the services in all of the four tier markets created by our Pan-Africanist efforts (internal, regional and African) as well as the international markets through negotiations.
What are the mandatory integration elements that are needed for the smooth and durable success of this prosperity sphere – the internal , regional and continental market or the political unions therein – e.g East African Federation?
The following are the mandatory integration elements:
i. Peace, security and good governance – no crime, no corruption;
ii. A common market where goods move from one corner to the other corner without delays or border taxes or internal taxes;
iii. Free movement of labour and capital, especially in the towns and for manufacturing and services – hotels, transport, etc.
It is these three, that are crucial for integration for prosperity. These are a must for our prosperity, for our future, for our survival. We cannot afford to be a Latin America in Africa. We must be a United States of Africa. Freedom of movement of labour should not include Government jobs. Those could remain local.
The rest are optional, always taking into account the interests of the local communities. We should not encourage or tolerate the phenomena of internal colonialism, where some communities (tribes) dominate, marginalize the others, especially in their ancestral rural lands for agriculture.
The British made those mistakes; working with the Mengo traitors, they imposed mailo-owners on the Baganda and non-Baganda peasants in Buganda. They grabbed Bunyoro and Ankole lands and put them in Buganda and, thereafter, excluded the indigenous People of those areas (the Banyoro, Baruuli, Banyara, Banyankore, Bakookyi, Bavuma, etc.), from land ownership except as tenants of the traitors or those they sold to afterwards. It is only under the NRM, that this mistake has started being reversed.
This now brings me to the issue of the Balaalo in Northern Uganda. There are three mistakes with the Balaalo. Mistake number one, is that many of these are from families that already own land elsewhere in Uganda, but have refused to listen to the NRM advice of avoiding land fragmentation through the backward inheritance practices when the head of the family dies.
The children either fragment the land or some are excluded completely. NRM has been advising you to inherit by shares (emigabo), instead of the fragmentation of land or wealth. You would, then, share what comes from the family company and not the land or the wealth. You, then, in this way, do not generate a diaspora of land seekers – Abafurukyi – migrants. It is this backward and primitive misuse of land, that causes artificial kufunda (being squeezed).
The second mistake is to be stuck with the practice of free-range for cattle (kusetura), instead of adopting zero-grazing and growing pasture for the cattle where an acre would support 8 fresian cattle instead of 3 acres supporting one cow for a year with the free-range. Grow the pasture for the cattle.
The pasture you grow – orunyankokoore (Chloris Guyana), Obuteerante (Panicum maxima), ejubwe (bracharia), etc., is much richer than the wild grass you are following in the North, Tanzania, etc. In the 1960s, we fought against UPC and guided the Banyankore to learn titling of land (ebyaapa) and abandoning nomadism. Later, we introduced commercial dairy farming.
That is how cattle farming families started getting money, getting rich, building better houses, cars, etc. It is unfortunate that they are still lagging behind on these two issues: primitive inheritance practices leading to land and property fragmentation, which means that prosperity built by one generation, is always to be destroyed when the elders die. When shall we get trans-generational prosperity like the Henry Fords, the Rockfellers of America?
The third mistake by the Balaalo, whether they intend it or not, is to annoy the citizens they encounter in their diaspora destinations. How do they annoy them? Two ways: Cattle eating the crops of the citizens (Kwonesa) and getting entangled in the domestic quarrels of the indigenous families of the area. That is why in my Executive Orders – That of 24th October, 2017 and the recent ones, I have informed all and sundry, that indiscipline and unfairness to our sedentary farmers – subsistence or otherwise – is not acceptable.
That friction is implied in the whole culture of nomadism because there is no deliberate planning of the migration. Even if there was no illegality in the land use or ownership, is the concerned land fenced, is there water, etc.? If they are not there, how, then, do you protect the crops of the locals from okwoona?
Therefore, these Balaalo actions of moving around with cattle are wrong, unnecessary and can be disruptive. However, not to jump from one set of mistakes to another set, we should ask the following crucial questions: Are there benefits for the local people? Are there benefits for the Country? Are there risks of undermining the oneness of Uganda in blanket condemning of all the Balaalo actions – positive and negative?
Apparently and inevitably, some of the indigenous people benefit from these Balaalo.
These Balaalo are coming from the areas (the cattle corridor) of Uganda where the people have partially grasped the aspects of the NRM principle No.3 of Social-economic transformation. Hence, my essay about them entitled: “From Obwiiriza to Amatafaari – “From grass thatched to bricks houses”, chronicling how we have partially changed these people. When they, therefore, come to an area like the North where people are still stuck in the culture of tic me ic keken, working only for the stomach or doing colonial commercial agriculture without cura (ekibaro, good economics), such as growing cotton or tobacco on a small scale, they introduce to their local partners the more rational culture of dairy commercial farming.
Like the NRM woke up the cattle corridor people to the gold of dairy farming and it improved their lives, the Balaalo now share this partial knowledge with their partners. I deliberately, promoted dairy farming in the cattle corridor because I am sure of the cura (ekibaro).
The global demand of milk and dairy products is US$ 520 billion (in 2022). There is no risk that, globally, the milk will ever kudiba if we act right within Uganda. It will never be like vanilla which sometimes has got very high prices and, thereafter, the demand collapses because it had limited demand in the first place.
This is not bad. The Banyankore benefited from the migration into Ankole of the Indians bringing the culture of shops (amaduuka), the Baganda bringing the culture of cattle trade (abatembeeya), butcheries (amabagiro), ebirabo (eating places), etc. By 1960, in the Ntungamo area, the only Munyankore that was struggling with a small shop, was Tinkasimire, in the Nteera area.
All the other service providers (shops, butcheries, hospitality, etc.), were either Baganda or Indians. Was this bad for the area? Not at all. I went to school because of three non-Banyankore that were buying our cattle: Walusimbi – Mpaanga from Kampala, Bukyenya (Bukenya) from Mbarara and a Mzungu, Shear, that was based at Ishaka, buying cattle for Kilembe mines workers, starting with 1956.
The Banyankore were deep with cattle, crops, some limited fishing and artisanship. These new comers, were most welcome and most useful. Today, one third of of the Mbarara City population, are Baganda, like my small but most powerful RDC for Kampala, Amina Lukanga and my nominator for the 2021 General Elections.
In the case of the Balaalo in the North, they, apparently, bring good money to the locals by renting land or, sometimes buying the land.
If this partnership is monitored and disciplined, it can be a very good relationship. Apparently, together, the Balaalo and their local hosts, are taking advantage of the good beef and milk markets in Congo and South Sudan. Their Chairman, Kasim Kabagonza Akiiki a munyoro cattle keeper, told me of a kg of meat is selling at Shs.14,000. It may, therefore, be wrong for the political leaders to put out blanket condemnation of the Balaalo phenomenon in the North.
They could be hurting the legitimate interests of some of the Wanainchi. The support for or the opposition to the presence of the Balaalo in the North, Balaalo’s own mistakes of under utilizing or misusing their own ancestral lands and then starting Kufuruka not withstanding, should be based on whether they damage the interests of
our indigenous people or not.
The opportunistic use of the land question by some politicians to misinform our citizens that their land is being grabbed by the other Ugandans, when it is not true, is wrong and must be opposed. When we were fighting Kony, I decided to pitch camp at Barlegi near Okwang to help in defeating those rebels. We camped at the deserted Barlegi Primary School. We did not only defeat Kony, but I was able to easily clear the area of tsetse flies by bringing cattle from the Presidential Farm in Ngoma, spraying them with decatex (delter methrin – an anti – tick acaricide) and releasing them to become mobile tsetse flies killers. When Kony was defeated, some opportunists, led by a so called priest that had become the MP of Otuke, started saying that I had gone there to grab their land and that the SFC camp there must leave.
I happily agreed to remove the camp because Uganda is not short of camps. Lo and behold, the residents of Okwang, rose up and said that their soldiers were not going to desert them. Why? Two reasons. First of all, they had protected them from Kony and they were now protecting them from the Karimojong Cattle rustlers. Secondly and, probably, more importantly, whatever salaries these soldiers were being paid, were being shared with the locals by the soldiers buying from their shops, their gardens, etc.
I had to abandon my relocation plans. The question, then, is: Whose interests was this priest MP protecting when he was talking of clan lands, etc.? I had not studied deeply the situation of Acholi and in my anti – Balaalo positions, I was being provoked by their alleged indiscipline. However, the local hosts of the Balaalo, are now asking the question:
“Who are these MPs to talk about grabbing the clan lands of the Acholis? Haven’t some of them been buying our clan lands cheaply? Is grabbing of our ancestral lands by the Acholi elite not “grabbing”? These hosts of the Balaalo are saying that the Balaalo presence raises the value of land. Especially if they used renting rather than selling and acted legally, it could be a win-win formula.
Furthermore, the Acholi leaders involved, must not enter the trap of saying non – Acholis or non – Northerners, cannot settle in Acholi. That reasoning, I rejected long ago when I found our people suffering at Anaka trading center as IDPs. I asked them: “Why are you suffering here? Why don’t you go to other parts of Uganda that are peaceful and you can come back when your area is stable?”
They heeded my advice and moved to Bweyale which had only 3 shops at the time. They have become a very prosperous group, built a huge town there and they are now in the local leadership. Who lost in this case? If I was a munyoro in the neighborhood of Bweyale, I would be selling them milk, eggs, etc., for the Acholis that own shops. Non – Baganda, including Acholis, own properties in Kampala, Jinja etc. How is this bad for Uganda or Buganda?
The late Haruna Kibirige, had built a hotel in Moroto. Is this not good for every body, Uganda, Karamoja? The local hosts of the Balaalo in Acholi, also asked another question. The question was: “Why do some people only talk about the Balaalo accessing land in Acholi? Why do they not talk about Eritreans, Indians, etc.?”
Another trap the Acholi Elite should not involve us in, is the over emphasis of clanism, including clan lands. As I have told people many times, tribal and clan organization, was not enough to defend us against the more organized foreigners, the Imperialists. Provided new forms of social and economic management are done fairly, legitimately, legally and rationally, they should be welcomed. In the Ankole area, for instance, there were the clan lands probably 1000 years before the coming of the Europeans.
By the time the Europeans came, the land in the Ankole – Mpororo area, was no longer so much clan land but the land of the King – Obutaka bw’Omugabe – the unifying ruler. The respective clan lands were already in just songs or poems such as: Abasiitaba Nyeihaanga, Abakyimbiri ba Rutuungu, Abaitira ba Kabbuungo’, Abagyina ba Kichwaamba, etc. Rutuungu and Kichwaamba, were put in Rwanda by the Colonial borders. Nevertheless, the Ankole – Mpororo land tenure by the coming of the Europeans was: Eka (the home) plus the ekibuga (the cattle kraal) and Ishaazi (outside the kraal where the cattle gather before they go to graze); ekyaanya ky’enyena – approximately 300 meters radius from the kraal that was preserved for the calves; the wells (amaziba); the communal grazing lands (amarisizo); amahaamba (wilderness); and ebibira (forests such as Imaramagaambo, Muzaire etc.); Muzaire – Otaakwa forest, was put in Tanzania by the colonial borders. All that, however, belonged to the Mugabe (the King). The Banyankore – Bahororo, had right of use as described above. As far as the cultivators (abahiingyi) are concerned, he would have eka (a house and a compound – a bare patch of ground where crops, especially millet, were dried); a banana plantation (orutookye); eshaambu- reserve land – may be 10acres or so – where seasonal crops (sweet potatoes, cassava, beans, etc.), were grown; and, then, eiziba (either private or communal) -the well for water. The mahaamba (wilderness) and ebibira (forests), were common to both the cattle-keepers and the cultivators. Much of this has been totally changed. The land is now, mainly, customary, leaseholds or freehold and the forests and National Parks. The Ankole – Mpororo area, is quite prosperous and would be even more prosperous if they listened more to the NRM advice. There has been a lot of immigration by people from Kigyezi, Rwanda, Tooro – Bunyoro, Bugaanda and some Indians, with each group bringing some unique contribution; it is, indeed, a very strong community, especially after the NRM rooted out the bankruptcy of UPC and DP of religious and, to some extent, caste sectarianism. Therefore, these inter – community linkages, if they are not abused, can be great energizers.
While talking about clan lands and clan management of modern societies, we need some caution because those clans were not democratic or modern; some of their activities are positive and should be maintained. Such is, for instance, the practice of exogamy, marrying outside one’s clan. That should be maintained and scientifically and legally validated because it is correct biological and genetic science. It stops obutembane (in – breeding) which is, apparently, a problem in some of the races in the World. However, as a very successful descendant of an anti – clan dictatorship actor, I cannot advocate for hereditary management of public affairs instead of democratic management. My grand – father, Rwibambura, the father of Esiteeri Kokundeka, my mother, apparently, fell out with his uncles when his father died. They wanted one of the uncles to inherit his mother, Kuhungurwa, which he opposed. They thought he was insolent and wanted to harm him, where upon he fled to Igara (Bushenyi – Mitooma), another chiefdom, where the Europeans found him. My great grand mother, Kampogoza, died in the process, in mysterious circumstances. He got integrated in that area, got a wife from there and re – united with his clan later, under the Europeans. There is no way a serious manager, can say that public affairs should be reliably and solely managed by hereditary leadership rather than elected leadership. The issues of women, Childrens’ rights, even family rights, can be terribly distorted by those traditional structures. Yes, the clan should be involved, but the ultimate decisions must be with the elected and professional structures －President, Parliament, Courts, District councils, District land boards, etc. They are the ones elected to handle these public affairs. They will either do them well or badly and will be held accountable. How do you hold accountable a traditional leader? There are even operational complications. We do not have clan districts; there are normally several clans in a district. How will the clan land – board, manage land in the district? Moreover, there are questions like: “Which clan owned the land where Gulu City, Kitgum town, etc., are standing today?” “What do we do with those positive changes that have taken place – the towns, the schools, the hospitals, the National Parks, etc.?”
Therefore, having focused my mind on these issues, recently, following the controversies, I propose that we look at the following questions:
- Do the Balaalo have a good reason to meander around the different areas of Uganda? My answer, as somebody, who enlightened that group in the 1960s and, thereafter, is a categorical: “No”. Why? It is
because many of them misuse their own land, under utilize it or engage in the back
ward practice of land and property fragmentation on inheritance. They should cure those irrationalities and use the land in their places of origin more efficiently – the Nyakaana – Kawumu models.
- Is horizontal rural migration for primitive or semi – primitive agriculture crucial for national integration? Or for even continental integration? The answer is a clear: no. In fact, this indisciplined rural primitive or non – primitive migration, can endanger our vision of political and economic integration by antagonizing the indigenous occupants of these zones. That is why vertical integration – between the rural and the urban or urban to urban, is healthier. When we are discussing the issue of the East African Federation, especially the Tanzanians, always raise the fear of being invaded by
immigrants from the other countries. We the Pan – Africanists should, therefore, be clear that this horizonal rural migration is not necessary and it is a distraction. Even within individual countries, you saw the tension it created in Bunyoro, you have heard of the conflicts in west African countries, etc.
- Can there be benefits for the indigenous people if it is done in disciplined and modern ways? The answer is: yes, as we have seen in the case of the Ankole zone. It is now one of the most prosperous zones in Africa. In some of the homesteads, the income per capita is US $5000. Yet, there are so many improvements they have not yet done. The bringing of new ideas, new services, additional purchasing power, etc., created greater opportunities for the area.
Let us, therefore, discuss this issue wholistically and get a good answer.
Yoweri K. Museveni
P R E S I D E N T