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In my opinion, we Baganda should stop thinking that we must, first, secure national political power, perhaps through a friendly Uganda president, in order to achieve economic development and success.

In the 18th century, Jews had no political power in France and elsewhere in Europe, and they realized that they needed economic development and success in order to get true political power. So, they changed to a new way of thinking summarized, thus: “You should be a Jew at home and a Frenchman on the street.” Jews today may not hold many political positions worldwide, but they have economic success and, therefore, true political power.

At home, we should preserve, promote and defend Ennono (Baganda’s customary laws and practices). On the street, we must align with the modern world by lobbying Mmengo to invest in initiatives and services that will, in the long run, give us true political power through economic development and success.

On May 13, 2014, while collecting Ettofaali in Kawuku, Abayita Ababiri, and Kisubi, Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga told Baganda youth to stop demanding jobs from the central government. The Katikkiro seemed to be saying that government is not responsible for high unemployment among the youth. Although some philosophers may agree with Ow’ek. Mayiga, most government leaders believe that in exchange for taxation, governments are responsible for encouraging job creation. And this is why almost all of the candidates in the past Kenyan and Tanzanian elections promised job-creation, if elected.

Here in the USA, tax-breaks and other incentives from government for expanding businesses and employing more people are common. One example with which I am familiar is Mitch Daniels, former governor of the USA state of Indiana. He gave various incentives to private companies to invest in job-stimulating projects, and those companies created 60,000 jobs in his state between 2005 and 2008.

Baganda who believe that a Federo granted by either Kiiza Besigye, Amama Mbabazi, or Yoweri Museveni will automatically create jobs, economic benefits and success, without a new way of thinking, should first ask themselves this question: If we got the type of Federo Besigye, Mbabazi or Musevei may promise us, but we maintained the way we think about what we need, what would we achieve that we cannot accomplish today? Even if we got the original Federo in full, without changing the way we think that Federo would most probably give us very little benefit.

I propose a new ideology: Only with a new way of thinking should we invest time, money and other resources to demand that the Uganda government honor and implement the agreement we, Britain, and Uganda’s other nationalities reached at independence. For the 1962 Federo, we gave up national independence in exchange for autonomy within a larger and presumably more-viable country. The agreement lasted less than 4 years. Even though the Uganda  government dishonorably broke that contract, we can still achieve true political power if we focus on our national interests, discuss them openly, and create specific plans which, if properly executed, can get us the economic independence we need to achieve our political goals.

Thus, it surprises me that Mr. Mayiga chose to stop speaking about Federo, creating the impression that self-determination is a low-priority issue or no longer important to Baganda, and saying that we should, first, tackle poverty. (See “Katikkiro Mayiga Fighting Back as Pressure Mounts to Give Federo Priority”).

When a friend told me recently that CBS FM is Mmengo’s only successful and enduring initiative in the past 22 years, it sounded like an under-statement. However, when I did a little research, I could not find another successful and enduring enterprise by Mmengo in the past 22 years.

It is too early to tell if Muganzirwazza, Masengere, and the planned floating hotel on Kabaka’s lake will be successful enterprises. Muganzirwazza and Masengere have not attracted enough tenants because the real estate market in Kampala is depressed. And this might be the reason why Katikkiro Mayiga recently referred to them as “symbols that represent Buganda’s glory.” (see “Mayiga uses speech at Kabaka’s Lake to defend himself against corruption charges”).

To paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, I believe that the best symbol of glory is what we do for our weakest. It means feeding our poor, providing them with sufficient healthcare, and the other things they need.

After the 2016 elections, someone from the Western Region will rule Uganda and, if history is any guide, he will favor people of his ethnic background and not give Baganda jobs equal to our proportion of Uganda’s population, which is 17%—Museveni’s Banyankore represent 10%; Besigye’s and Mbabazi’s Bakiga represent 7%. What should we do?

We must preserve, promote and defend Ennono the way Jews have done their religion, ethnicity and national interests. We should focus on economic development and success which takes advantage of our cultural institutions as the means to true political power, and stop thinking that we can enjoy political power automatically, if a friendly president is in State House Entebbe. And, finally, we should continue insisting that Mmengo focuses on those initiatives and services that can provide ordinary Baganda with economic independence.

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  • Your Mahatma Gandhi quote is at the most opportune moment and very timely indeed. While initiatives like those being considered may be worth lots of money down the road, I believe that before we entertain such mega projects, there are much simpler and quite rewarding projects that Buganda ought to be concerned with especially because of the plight of the weakest among us. For example, the issue of housing, medical care and education where Our Core Values are the foundation and driving mechanism would be, in my opinion, ventures that reward Buganda and beyond, in more ways than one. Enhancing our lives through medical care, arming our children through education and housing our weakest are obligations that ought to be shared by every Muganda as a matter of course.

    By the way, what does “Ordinary Baganda” relate to? Is this the same as “peasants”, language I heard a one Tamale Mirundi peddle on radio this morning?

    Great piece!