Uganda Needs Good Leadership At All Levels

There is consensus that Uganda is suffering a leadership crisis in NRM and opposition parties, causing Uganda to go silent political issues and to decline economically, socially and ecologically. That there wasn’t a public outcry over the mysterious death of a twenty four year old Member of Parliament and death of a pregnant woman at Mulago Hospital signifies a serious leadership deficit. The public is asking where opposition leaders are. This concern was expressed on Ngoma Radio program that ran on January 13, 2013 from 4 to 6 o’clock, London time. There is therefore a search for leadership to lay a foundation for a better Uganda for all citizens. But what constitutes a good leader?

It is recognized that a good leader should at least have discipline and trust; lead by example and ability to bring and keep people together to solve common problems and take care of the interests of all members of society.
Out of concern for the decadence that has engulfed Uganda, I have humbly offered my services to serve because I believe I have something to offer to solve the challenges we face as a nation. I have experience accumulated over many decades. And experience counts a great deal. Let me illustrate.

On discipline: The headmaster of Kashenyi primary school in Ruhinda sub-county of Rukungiri district told my parents that he selected me to be a time keeper because I was disciplined in the sense that I was the first to arrive at school every day. I used to get up very early to sound the drum for teaching catechism which my father was responsible for. Then I would get ready for school and was the first to arrive. Because of this discipline, the headmaster entrusted me with that responsibility. And I didn’t fail him. I have kept this discipline since then. If you ask me to be at a meeting at 7 o’clock, I shall be there barring circumstances beyond control. Ask those I worked with on Radio Munansi English program. I was there at ten o’clock sharp.

On trust: At Kinyasano secondary school I was selected to become a librarian because I liked to read beyond the assigned textbooks. I was told that many books had disappeared and should stop that from happening again. And I did. Then there was a problem of sugar being stolen from the store. Because I was trusted sugar was kept in the library. This was a serious responsibility. First I had to be at school every day to open the library and second to be present when the cook measured the sugar he needed for lunch.

Lead by example: A good leader must lead by example. You can’t stop your colleagues from smoking in their offices when you smoke in yours. You can’t force workmates to be punctual, when you come late. You can’t stop corruption and sectarianism when you practice them however much you complain about them.

During my career, I was given various management responsibilities including regional program for Africa and United Nations General Assembly affairs. In one case I was assigned to an office where punctuality and absenteeism were common. I learnt that my predecessor was always coming late and disappearing from office frequently without informing colleagues where he went. The rest of staff followed suit.
The only way I could stop the habit was to lead by example. Without complaining that there was a problem, I simply came to the office on time every day in the morning and afternoon and left on time for lunch and after work in the evening. When I was absent from office, staff knew where I was. Seeing that I was punctual and not disappearing from office mysteriously forced others to follow suit and I solved the problem without saying a word about it.

On leadership: It is a mistake to pick a leader because of family connections or loyalty per se. While loyalty is necessary, it doesn’t constitute a sufficient condition. To pick a leader requires observation of the behavior of the targeted person for quite a while.
The headmaster of Butobere Senior Secondary School told me that he had picked me to become a prefect and house captain because he and other teachers had observed my behavior and character for two years. I didn’t smoke and didn’t drink alcohol. I observed lights out requirement and was popular with fellow students regardless of ethnicity and religion and was performing well academically and in sports.

I was selected to be scout troop leader at Butobere School because as I was told was respected and liked by fellow scouts. I led the team to Marumba camp in Rujumbura where scouts from Kigezi district met for some ten days. We came second in overall performance but we were judged number one in discipline. I made sure we observed all the rules. To succeed I had to serve as a role model. Nobody would go out of the camp at night because they knew I would find out and act appropriately because I had the mandate to do so.
I was picked to become a prefect at Ntare School because of my record at Butobere School, my active participation in sports at Ntare and popularity among students.
Bringing and keeping people together: UPC was formed in 1960.

1. In 1961 then Secretary General John Kakonge (RIP) visited Kabale town. I met with him and we discussed mobilization to increase party membership. He told me what to do which included non-discrimination. He said all Ugandans were welcomed into the party. I formed a UPC youth wing and became its president and tried to recruit all students. I didn’t succeed in recruiting Catholics because at that time Uganda politics was overwhelmingly religious-based. Those that had joined left under peer pressure that a good Catholic had to join DP. But I managed to recruit Protestants from different backgrounds including ethnicity.

2. I was elected president of Rujumbura Students Association at a time when the association was experiencing many difficulties. I was elected to instill discipline because some members had become unruly. I approached the challenge by talking to the difficult members individually; making it clear that those who insisted on disrupting work of the association would not be tolerated. I made sure they were engaged instead of isolating them and by the end of my term morale, discipline and respect for one another had improved.

3. I was elected president of African Students Association at the University of California at Berkeley USA because fellow students found me reasonable in our discussions focusing on issues that brought all students together instead of joining one camp against another.

4. In 1979, I co-founded in Lusaka, Zambia, Uganda Unity Group (UGU). The idea was to bring Ugandans together. Ugandans had been split so badly that I felt something needed to be done before Amin regime was toppled. I succeeded in bringing a sizeable group drawn from all parts of Uganda, all religions and all ethnic groups. We were easily admitted at the Moshi conference and one of our delegates was elected minister of state. I couldn’t attend the conference because my employer forbade direct participation in national politics.

5. Co-founder of African Amicale at the United Nations in New York. The need arose to coordinate African activities and needs that were scattered in different departments. I was among the first champions and participated actively in its activities. By acting together we had greater impact than acting separately. That is why I like the idea of an umbrella organization of opposition political parties and organizations opposed to NRM, a transitional government and disproportional representation in Uganda politics.

6. Co-founder of UDU in 2011: My joining Uganda politics is based on the fact that the opposition (political parties and organizations at home and abroad) need to come together to form a critical mass to challenge NRM by coordinating the agenda and electing credible leadership. I was elected Secretary General charged with diplomatic networking responsibility and coordinating preparation of a National Recovery Plan (NRP) as well as civic education and analysis and response to developments in Uganda political economy. Within a period of 18 months, UDU has made significant progress in working with development partners, conducting civic education and keeping an eye and responding to developments in Uganda and working with other organization including attending the conference on federalism in London in October 2012. UDU has created a website www.udugandans.org where all our work and periodic reports of UDU performance are kept. We are now engaged in joining with other groups that haven’t done so and prioritizing our work with a shift towards action. UDU is also compiling a list of professionals in different categories and at various levels to avoid the pitfalls of Moshi conference in 1979 that formed a transitional government without adequate preparation. UDU believes Uganda should set up a transitional government of all stake holders to clean up the place and prepare solid ground for free and fair elections based on independent electoral commission, revised constitution as appropriate, standardized campaign finance and a vetting committee of all candidates.

7. Leadership by giving back: I constructed my first house in Rukungiri town to lead my fellow Rukungirians that we have to give back to our communities that supported us as we grew up and encourage those that come after us to do the same. In the same spirit I constructed a church for my community. My businesses have created jobs offered on merit to people in my community without discrimination as to religion or ethnicity.

8. Leadership in abstentia: Although I don’t live in Uganda, I have led my team that manages my businesses at home in farming and real estate.
Am I ready? As you can see I have built leadership experience over many years. Through research and writing, I know what Uganda challenges are and how to address them. I have been open and exhaustive in my approach and would welcome others to do the same. I have adopted the approach that you can’t solve a problem without understanding its root cause (s) first. I also believe very strongly that Uganda has shed too much blood. We should use peaceful methods to bring about change but must be ready to use other means should self-defense become necessary. That is why in UDU we are talking of Plan A and Plan B which should be developed concurrently but applied differently with Plan A coming first. Fellow Ugandans that is a snapshot of my leadership experience and I am ready to serve Uganda should I be given the opportunity. Other aspiring Ugandans should present their leadership profile to give Ugandans an opportunity to make an informed decision. Leadership should not be purchased or acquired at gun point. Please read and let me have your sincere feedback.

Tutsi Grabbing of Uganda Land will Break NRM’s Back

By Eric Kashambuzi

Writing about Uganda and the Great Lakes region isn’t fun. You are either correcting distortions or reporting on wars, human rights violations, genocide and other crimes against humanity; land grabbing and stealing elections; corruption and sectarianism; people dying mysteriously or of negligence and others of starvation in a region that has the potential to produce surplus food over and above domestic needs. In many of the interviews I have been asked why I don’t report on good news. Frankly I would love to but there isn’t much good news to report and twisting things to please isn’t my cup of tea. I am writing these stories not to start trouble but to prevent one. In this article, I will focus on Tutsi land grab in Uganda and the implications for the landless.

Museveni’s hidden agenda

Yoweri Museveni came to power with a clear but hidden agenda from the majority of Ugandans. You have to study Museveni dialectically to find the truth which many of us haven’t done or those who know don’t want to say it for various reasons mostly selfish ones. He also came to power with a conviction that he could do whatever he wants with impunity as long as he has his AK 47 and full support of security forces and some western backers.
Because many of us were busy trying to prevent the return of Obote and UPC to power, we didn’t pay much attention to what Museveni and his Tutsi generals were doing. Some of the complaints including land grabbing that was made in 1989 were dismissed as sectarian.

Let me tell you what Museveni long term goals are. He is in the process of turning Uganda into a medieval Europe or pre-colonial Rwanda. Like in medieval Europe and pre-colonial Rwanda, Museveni wants to become the landlord, dish out land to his Tutsi generals in return for keeping him in power and turn the rest of Ugandans into serfs to labor with their muscles for the benefit of the lord and his knights. His second goal may sound incredible but it is true. As pastoralist, Museveni would like to turn Uganda into a grazing land away from crop cultivation. That is why he hasn’t paid much attention to environmental degradation that is making Uganda drier and more suitable for grazing than crop cultivation. Switching ministers of environment won’t dilute his philosophy.

Tutsi land grabbing begins

Immediately after capturing power in 1986, Tutsi soldiers began grabbing land particularly in Buganda and Ankole. In 1989, Ugandans complained to Museveni about this land grab. In 1990, it was decided that Tutsi as refugees should not own land in Uganda. This was superseded by a clause in the 1995 constitution that allows free mobility and ownership of land anywhere in Uganda where people could speak their languages. With Museveni in power and anti-sectarian law in force, classifying Tutsi as refugees ended and opened the door for Tutsi with money and access to credit to own large swathes of land to the detriment of indigenous owners.

I am asking all Ugandans to go back to their communities and find out who owned land before 1986 and who owns it now. I know there are some Ugandans who don’t care about land because they prefer town life to bush hazards but even in town you need land to build a house but urban land is being grabbed by Tutsi generals and you will soon have nowhere to construct a home. Greater Kampala has been placed under the supervision of the president, not the mayor. Do you know why? If you don’t know find out.
Struggle over land ownership

Before outlining the disadvantages of losing Uganda land to Tutsi foreigners, let me outline struggles over land ownership from time immemorial. As early as A.D. 61 Britons fought against Roman rule when Roman soldiers grabbed their land. French, Mexican, Russian and Ethiopian Revolutions, among others, had an element of land ownership. In Russia, Lenin gained popular support by promising peace, bread and above all land. He captured power in October 1917 and ended the Romanov dynasty. In the Mexican constitution of 1917 “All land was declared the inalienable property of the state” presumably to prevent private land grabbing.
African decolonization struggle was longest and bloodiest in countries of white settlers including in Algeria, Kenya, Namibia, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa. You could say the struggle was largely over land ownership.

Land ownership struggle in Uganda

In Uganda a number of factors prevented foreign land ownership including the failure of plantation agriculture in the 1920s and some colonial officials like Governor Bell, Director of Agriculture and Provincial Commissioner of Eastern Province who reasoned and won the debate that Uganda land belongs to Ugandans. A law was passed prohibiting foreign land ownership.
While he was still mobilizing support of Ugandans, Museveni declared in 1985 in the ten point program that one of the actions his government would take immediately was return land to the rightful owners including Mailo land and forests that Baganda owned and were protected in the independence constitution. However, no sooner had he settled in State House than he began to dish out Uganda land to his friends claiming that some of the land was government owned. But government is the people and the people of Uganda have never given Museveni authority to change land ownership.

Museveni has used various methods to grab people’s land that are very difficult to understand.

1. He hired Uganda intellectuals or created conditions for them to write articles in support of privatizing Uganda land and allowing Ugandans in densely populated areas like Kigezi and Ankole to resettle in areas that are less densely populated including in Buganda, Bunyoro and Toro. Most of the settlers from Kigezi and Ankole are Tutsi who sought refuge in these two districts from Rwanda following the 1959 Hutu Social Revolution that forced Tutsi to flee. Most of the people in new areas of settlement are not Bakiga and Banyankole but Tutsi. Check it out if in doubt.

2. Museveni advocated that Uganda had plenty of unused arable land which needed to be developed and contribute to Uganda’s economic and social transformation. At the same time he called for liberalization of immigration policy to allow outsiders to come to Uganda and help in economic transformation including land ownership. People in land hungry Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda are keen on East African economic integration because it allows free mobility and settlement in any part of the community. Uganda and Tanzania will receive more people and livestock than they will send out.

3. Under the NRM government, Uganda embarked on the policy of willing seller and willing buyer of land to enter into transactions regardless of customs or laws that prevent such transactions, allowing individuals to sell communal land that has led to serious disputes including in the northern region. The government has also encouraged rural -urban migration so that more land is available for purchase by wealthy Tutsi.

4. The expansion of municipal boundaries appears good at face value: it creates more constituencies for parliamentary representation but at its core the idea is to place land ownership into the hands of municipal authorities and dispossess peasants. Municipal councils can then sell it to the highest bidder. In Rukungiri municipality boundary changes affected only areas settled by Bairu people. Nyakagyeme inhabited by Tutsi was spared.

5. As if all the above methods were not enough to
make enough land available for Tutsi ownership, the prime minister presumably with the president’s instruction announced not too long ago that all land in Uganda would be placed in the hands of large scale farmers to increase productivity and feed the nation and generate surplus for sale in external markets because peasants had failed to do so. Sadly, the reason he gave isn’t correct. There is overwhelming evidence worldwide that when facilitated small holder farmers are more productive, more efficient and environmentally and socially friendly than large scale farmers. That is why the international community including the United Nations and G8 has agreed to support small holder farmers including in Uganda. It is therefore baffling how the prime minster could make such a statement in view of what is happening around him.

Why Ugandans can’t afford losing their land

Uganda peasants need their land more than ever. Without functional literacy to find a job outside agriculture, with Uganda de-industrializing and shedding jobs, with Uganda government focusing on the service sector that is capital intensive and with rising unemployment, the only hope of survival is land ownership. Once you have a piece of land and a hand hoe and the blessing of rain you can survive. I therefore urge all Ugandans to dedicate 2013 the year to stop Tutsi from grabbing our land and to return what they have already stolen.

If we know why haven’t we acted?

Some Ugandans have complained that I tell them what they already know but if you know that land is being grabbed at breakneck speed what have you done about it? Sometimes I wonder who these people are. There are those who are saying that Tutsi are well entrenched, powerful and rich and nothing can be done about taking land away from them. They add that after all the constitution allows them free mobility, settlement and landownership anywhere in Uganda. But the constitution is a living document subject to amendment and it will be amended at an appropriate time to suit the interests of everyone. We also know that some of the contentious provisions in the constitution were passed without a quorum.

How should we deal with this land issue and NRM behind it?

Many Ugandans want change in Uganda but there is disagreement about strategy. There are those who want to use force in the first instance. But they don’t compare the costs and benefits of war in the short, medium and long term. I have studied the costs and benefits of war in historical perspective. By and large, wars deliver more costs than gains. The end of WWI led, inter alia, to the rise of European dictatorships and totalitarian regimes in Italy, Germany and Spain that spiraled into economic depression and devastation of WWII. The Korean War left the peninsular divided to this day.

In Uganda the damage to Mengo in 1966, to Mbarara and Masaka towns in 1979, to Luwero Triangle in 1981-85 and to northern and eastern Uganda from 1986 until very recently is still fresh in our minds. What makes some of us assume that the next one will be less destructive in fighting Museveni who is armed to the teeth and has been preparing for a show down with guerrillas? Second, what makes us believe that once Kampala has fallen, the guerrillas will hand over power to civilians? I am hearing stories that theirs is to lay a foundation for true democracy and civilian rule. But that is what Amin told us after he captured power in 1971. He declared that his was a caretaker government and he would return to the barracks once elections were held. A few years later he declared himself president for life.

Museveni said that he used the military temporarily to solve a political problem implying he would handover to DP that claimed its victory had been robbed in the 1980 elections. Museveni also assured the nation that once peace returned to Uganda he would exit Uganda politics and focus on pan-African issues or his cows. It is now 26 years and he is still in state house and has already served notice that he is competing in 2016 presidential elections.

We have witnessed enough

Fellow Ugandans we have seen enough of military regimes and the destruction they have caused. Surely we don’t need more of it no matter what sweet words are used. Ugandans don’t have appetite for another war. Besides, indications are that NRM will implode from internal decay, opposition and external pressure. The president is already under stress if we go by the language he is using against those opposing what he is doing. What we need is to come together under one umbrella organization and establish a transitional government that prepares for free and fair multi-party elections. UDU is already in place with a credible National Recovery Plan and record of what it is able to do. We are compiling a list of Ugandans to lead the transitional government. Please join us instead of reinventing the wheel and scatter efforts. United we shall win – definitely.

My Father Influenced the Way I Treat People

My father, Reverend/Canon Samwiri Kashambuzi, as first born male and Anglican minister has had responsibilities for uniting people and resolving Eric Kashambuzidisputes in a mutually satisfactory manner. We have a relatively large extended family with members belonging to different faiths largely Protestants and Catholics. Although a Protestant and minister, his faith and profession did not influence how he treated members of the family that belong to another faith even during difficult religious times. The first lesson I learned from my father is that religion should not divide people. As a result religion has not influenced the way I treat people socially and professionally.

When I returned from exile in 1980, I started business in my home area of Rujumbura in southwest Uganda partly in acknowledgement of community support as I grew up and to help the development of the area. Since father was going to be the overall manager (we call him Chairman) in my absence at work far away from home, I discussed with him about selection of managers. He advised that we should pick the best regardless of their religion or ethnicity. Consequently, we picked a Catholic and a Mukiga to construct my family and first house in Rukungiri town although we had qualified people in our family. My father felt they lacked experience for the type of building we had in mind.

When relatives and some Protestants complained after the contract had been awarded, he brought them together and we explained carefully why we took that decision. They argued that we should insist that the contractor should hire them. My father reasoned and convincingly that we shouldn’t tie the contractor’s hands. Instead those that needed jobs should apply in the normal way and be considered on merit. They concurred. From this lesson, I have hired the best managers: a Catholic who manages my tree plantation and a Muslim who manages my ranch.
The second lesson I learned from my father is that we should always extend a helping hand to those in need even to people we don’t know because he reasoned all human being are children of one Creator. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, people from Kabale area of former Kigezi district were resettled in different parts of Uganda including in Ruhinda sub-county of Kigezi district where we lived.

Because motorized transport was limited, people walked and spent nights preferably at churches. Father instructed us that when they arrived, no matter what time of day or night, we should help them as much as possible whether he was in or out. He further instructed that we should never ask their faith or their tribe. We should just treat them as fellow human beings as we would like to be treated by others.

In my career mainly at the University and United Nations where many people from different backgrounds meet, as supervisor I treated them as fellow human beings. I also made sure to the extent possible especially when I was stationed in New York that I received Ugandans well that came for conferences, including having a meal or drink together or giving them a copy of one of my books for free. I have distributed to Ugandans free of charge many copies of my ten books.

Before and during formation of UDU, I advised that while merit should be the criterion for selecting officers or participants in meetings we should not forget the demographic makeup of our membership. During Ugandan demonstrations at State Department in USA, United Nations in New York and Boston we made sure there was demographic balance when meeting with officials. For example, during the Voice of America interview when Ugandans demonstrated in Washington DC, we made sure through consultations among women that a woman representative was interviewed and she gave a gender perspective. The tape of that interview is posted at www.kashambuzi.com.
During the formation of UDU in July 2011, the first decision we took before elections of office bearers was to agree that there must be gender and youth representatives. These representatives are responsible for national gender and youth issues.

My father believes in uniting people and keeping families together. I used to hear him saying he was rushing to some place because there was a feud within the family, between families or among community members. Sometimes he would invite them to come to the church. He would begin the discussion with a prayer. He would then patiently listen to all views. He never allowed anybody to dominate the discussion. In some cultures, women are not given a chance to express their opinions. Father would give opportunity to everyone. Father also avoided as much as possible rushing people into conclusions or telling them what to do. He would sometimes convene meetings several times until a consensus emerged and everyone felt ready to reconcile. I learned at least two lessons.
First, I learned that whatever disputes people may have on a particular issue, it is cost effective to work together. While stationed in Lusaka, Zambia, before the Amin regime was toppled, Ugandans were divided on how to do it. I recall a moment when I invited some Ugandans for dinner at our residence. Some told me they would come only if so and so were not there because they couldn’t stand one another politically and by extension socially. Through patient and delicate consultations, I was able to convince some Ugandans that working together was much better than separately. Out of this discussion we created Uganda Unity Group (UUG) a multi-ethnic and multi-religious body taking the four regions and gender concerns into account. The group was admitted at the Moshi conference and one of our delegates was appointed a minister of state.

The second lesson helped me when I was chairing UN meetings that brought different UN agencies and/or African regional organizations together. The principle I employed as my father did was to listen very carefully to what was being said, giving everyone a chance to speak. In summarizing debates, I would begin with areas where I felt a consensus had been reached. Once that was resolved, I would then ask for guidance on how to proceed on areas where there was no consensus. I realized that when you conduct meetings that way rather than issuing instructions from the chair participants felt they were in charge of their meeting. It was possible, though not always, to resolve contentious issues.

However, I also noticed that there were occasions when my father had to take charge and identify the root cause of the problem at the risk of offending some participants in the meeting. He believed and still does that unless you get to the root cause of the problem there won’t be a solution. I used to see or hear him confronting some members of his church for wrong doing and point out what had gone wrong and who was responsible. There would be heated debates. I would hear him saying that he was telling the truth based on facts he had gathered. Because he told the truth, he ended up weathering the storm.
When he retired as Archdeacon of the Church of Uganda at the end of a long career, he was praised as a role model who treated everyone justly and called a spade a spade when circumstances dictated so. He has been in retirement for quite some time but his former parishioners still visit him and thank him for what he did especially building schools.

Finally, many times people have told me privately that my father is an honest man and he was not corrupt. He drew a distinction between what belonged to the church and what was his. Metaphorically, he drew a yellow line that separated church property and his and couldn’t cross it. Further, when he doesn’t like something he will tell you exactly why. One time he rejected a reassignment and gave reasons that everyone concurred with and was given another duty station.

I have followed my father in getting to the root cause of problems, pointing out who is responsible. I am not afraid to deal with sensitive or controversial issues provided I use facts. The intention is not to hurt feelings but to change behavior and get things back on the right track. For example, I have pointed out what I think NRM-Tutsi led government is doing wrong at home and in neighboring countries. That doesn’t mean I don’t like Tutsi people. I would like to work with them in the next government.

I have also strongly argued against military governments or military commanders becoming Uganda head of state, not because I am against soldiers but because I believe that is not where their comparative advantage resides. I have criticized President Museveni for appointing people to ministries and embassies that they are not qualified for. Why appoint medical doctors as ministers of finance, foreign affairs, agriculture etc. First their life becomes difficult because they are operating in a strange environment and the country suffers because they are not likely to produce the desired results. Then they are in constant conflict with professionals who feel should be occupying top jobs.

Another area where I have expressed strong views is on corruption. I believe very strongly that government officials who steal public money should have the money returned in full with interest and be prosecuted. None even the head of state should be above the law. That is why I have been demanding an explanation about where over $30 billion donations to Uganda have gone because there is virtually nothing to show for it. I am happy that the development partners have decided to act. And it is hoped that all will act and collectively because money has been stolen from every donor. And hopefully they will get to the bottom of the problem including who is responsible in a transparent manner. Nobody should be above the law.
I also believe sincerely that Uganda belongs to all Ugandans and should be treated justly. The next government should promote economic growth, equity and sustainable development for all. I don’t believe in Robinhood principle of robbing the rich and giving to the poor. Rather, I believe that all Ugandans should be given equal opportunity through food and nutrition security, universal and quality education and healthcare so that they have energy to learn and acquire skills that enable them to compete in the labor market.

The government role is to create the right environment including law and order, provision of infrastructure and institution and administration of justice so that for instance contracts are respected and private initiatives promoted. There have to be safety nets to help those for no fault of theirs are down so they can get up and walk again.

I want to let those who may have been offended by some of my writings to know that no disrespect or hurting feelings has been intended. I am merely as a human being trying to offer suggestions to improve Uganda’s political economy so that everyone in present and future generations has a comfortable place to live in. Ugandans and other interested parties should judge me on my ability to serve and nothing else. I believe that patriotism, commitment, experience and character matter a great deal in selecting leaders. Leaders should put country first and underscore the sovereignty of the people. Governments exist to serve the people and when they fail as NRM surely has they should be removed. Given the level of the current challenges, Uganda needs a transitional government of all stakeholders to prepare for free and fair multiparty elections. To be fair those who serve in the transitional government shouldn’t participate in the next elections.

Above all, Uganda needs a leader that is bold with broad knowledge and confidence to handle the serious challenges before us. There is no room for students to learn on the job and gain experience when they are retiring. Leaders must come with experience as reflected in their profiles. People who hide their profiles or keep their views to themselves to avoid controversy shouldn’t even be allowed to contest any elective office.
I want to take this moment to thank my father for not only feeding me but also for teaching me how to fish.

Without Justice and Equality there won’t be Lasting Peace in the Great Lakes Region

We want to thank the international community including African Union and the United Nations as well as some governments for the efforts to end the invasion of DRC by M23. While this effort is appreciated, it must be recognized that it won’t by itself bring about lasting peace and security for all unless the root cause of the conflict which is Nilotic Tutsi domination of Bantu people is recognized and solved so that the two ethnic groups live together in peace and security.

Batutsi have deceptively presented themselves to the world since the 1994 Rwanda genocide as victims in a hostile environment and must defend themselves by eliminating ‘enemies’ and occupying more territory under the pretext of correcting the wrongs of a colonial system of borders that robbed them of land, not realizing or ignoring that they too took land from somewhere else such as 5 thousand square kilometers that Rwanda and Burundi gained from then Tanganyika in 1923. In my attempt to identify the root cause of the problem, I have touched on sensitive areas previously regarded as taboo that have made some people uncomfortable and forced them to hit back hard without supporting evidence. In sympathy or guilt about what happened in 1994 in Rwanda some countries and people have turned a blind eye to the damage being caused by Batutsi in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. For example, in Uganda, Batutsi have marginalized non-Batutsi in education, healthcare, jobs, food security and are rapidly losing land, the only asset the majority possess. Corruption, sectarianism and cronyism have become rampant. It is gratifying that finally the donor community has stepped in to find out where over $30 billion of grant money went as there is virtually nothing to show for it. We hope all the stolen money will be recovered with interest and those involved prosecuted. We appeal to all donors to work together for maximum effect because money has been stolen from every donor since it is part of national budget. Those who argue that cutting off aid will hurt the poor are not correct because the money never gets to them in the first place. Let me restate that I have worked on the Great Lakes region for a long time and I want to share information I have gathered with those that are not familiar or have accessed distorted stories that paint Nilotic Batutsi as superior and Bantu (Bahutu and Bairu) as genetically inferior and bad people, if not barbaric. We have to get to the bottom of Great Lakes problem and find a lasting solution. I strongly believe in justice and equal opportunity for all. Those who want to read more please visit my website at www.kashambuzi.com . I have reported my findings as faithfully as possible and that is why I provide some sources of my information when I feel it is absolutely necessary. Some commentators have asked me to summarize in a user-friendly language the main features of Batutsi and Bahutu/Bairu relations in the Great Lakes region. Let me repeat that I have defined the Great Lakes region to include southwest Uganda (former Kigezi district and Ntungamo district), Burundi, Rwanda and eastern BRC where the two groups have experienced unpleasant relations.

Race and ethnicity

Nilotic Batutsi and Bantu people are different ethnically, not racially. The wrong element of race was introduced in the region by explorer John Hanning Speke and popularized by Charles Gabriel Seligman based on European race theories which stated that black people or Negroes were at the bottom of the race pyramid in all areas of human endeavor. As such they lived in the dark and had no civilization whatsoever. In 1862 Speke and Grant arrived in Buganda. They were astonished to find sophisticated and magnificent civilizations in the form of “highly developed political [and social] organization and comparatively civilized life”. Since blacks could not achieve these civilizations, they concluded that this must have been the work of white and more intelligent people whom they called Bahima derived from the Hamitic myth or Hamitic tribes as descendants of white people. They noted “At its top [of this civilization], the governing class were the Bahima, the Hamitic tribes which swept over Bantu, negroid Uganda, in the seventeenth century” (Negley Farson 1941). Research after research has demonstrated definitively that there is no such a thing as the Hamitic Myth and Bahima tribe. For example, it was written “In this view, all the pastoral dynasties of the region – not only Rwanda and Nkore but also the mythical Chwezi – were originally invaders who brought the idea of the state with them and imposed their institutions by conquest. In fact, this view is simply another misconception about African history that was very heavily influenced by the Hamitic myth. It [Hamitic myth] is now thoroughly discredited”(Philip Curtain et al., 1978). Joseph Greenberg, an expert on African languages concluded that “the stereotype of the pastoral conquering Hamitic must be abandoned” And Roland Oliver added that “So it must, and so indeed it has been”(Roland Oliver 1991). In spite of this conclusive evidence, Batutsi have insisted they are racially different, implying they are superior and born to rule. These sentiments are still heard in southwest Uganda where Batutsi have boasted in public that one Mututsi is the equivalent of 1000 Bairu. To prove their point they use the illustration of a weighing scale where on one side you have a small weight that balances the other side with heaps of beans or chunks of meat. In this regard John Reader writes “This hamitic myth has a long and enduring history … and their [Batutsi] superiority over cultivators [Bahutu or Bairu] of the lakes region, persists to this day. The idea was reinforced by the colonial regimes and since independence the elites themselves [Batutsi] have seized every opportunity to perpetuate it” (John Reader 1997). In his interview with John Nagenda shortly before becoming president, Museveni mentioned implicitly that although linguistically Batutsi are the same as Bairu, they are racially different, a position shared by Ibingira (G. S. Ibingira 1980). In short, Batutsi believe they are descendants of white people. Ipso facto they are superior and more intelligent and born to rule over black people and they believe none should question that and don’t have to prove it. Because of this insistence, the Hamitic myth still lingers on. Consequently, an ethnic group called Nilo-Hamitic (intermarriage between Nilotic and Hamitic people) still lingers on. Those who believe there are no hamitic people dismiss the existence of Nilo-Hamitic ethnic group.

Color of the skin, shape of lips and height

Mentioning these features may embarrass some people or give the impression that the author is mean. To set the record straight these things have to be mentioned. Some people have insisted that Batutsi have light skins and thin lips, features connected with white people. I challenge those who still believe that to take a good and closer look at Batutsi and Bantu people. You will find that on balance Bantu are lighter skinned and have thinner lips than Batutsi and their cousins Bahima, Batutsi/Bahororo and Banyamulenge. “In skin color, the Tutsis are darker than the Hutu, in the reverse direction to that leading to the Caucasoids. Lip thickness provides a similar case: on an average the lips of the Tutsi are thicker than those of the Hutu”(Jean Hiernaux 1975). The shape of the nose is another matter: Batutsi have thinner and pointed noses while Bantu have wider and flatter noses. That all Bantu are short and all Batutsi are tall is false. There are short Batutsi just as there are tall Bahutu. Overall there are taller Batutsi than Bahutu and Bairu. But this is not necessarily genetic. Studies have shown that it could be a nutritional problem. Because Bahutu and Bairu are exploited they do not eat enough of nutritional value as Batutsi. The nutritious food produced by Bahutu/Bairu is consumed by Batutsi such as goat meat and Bahutu/Bairu were prevented from owning cattle that gives milk and milk products and meat. You will find that in Bahutu/Bairu households where diet is adequate and balanced children are as tall if not taller than Batutsi children. Because of changes in occupation and economic standing the stereotypes of short and tall people have become meaningless (John Reader Africa National Geographic Washington DC undated). As an aside, some studies do show that forest gatherers and hunters are not short because of genetic reasons but because of adaptation to a thick tropical forest environment that require short stature to move quickly. More needs to be done on this subject.

Are Batutsi more intelligent than Bahutu/Bairu?

Using Rujumbura and Ankole as case studies, Bairu are more intelligent than Batutsi/Bahima. Although Bairu started school much later in the 1940s and in poor surroundings (poorer homes without even a reading lamp. When in season I burned castor oil seeds for lighting the room), they were able to catch up and overtake Batutsi/Bahororo especially in science and Math subjects. I studied with Batutsi/Bahororo at Kinyasano primary and secondary school, the only school with grades five through eight in Rujumbura County. Bairu were by far more intelligent than Batutsi/Bahororo. If I remember correctly, five Bairu and one Mututsi/Muhororo qualified for senior secondary school (O level) and that no Mututsi/Muhororo continued to higher (A) level. Thus, the stereotype that Bahutu/Bairu people are intellectually inferior to Batutsi is unfounded.

Ancestral home of Batutsi and Bantu

In 1854 John Speke and Richard Grant visited Harar of Ethiopia. When they came to Buganda in 1862 and other parts of Uganda they found pastoralists who resembled those in Ethiopia. Speke concluded that pastoralists in Uganda must have come from Ethiopia. Subsequent studies have concluded that there is no linguistic or cultural link with Ethiopia. It is now clear that the ancestors of Batutsi were Nilotic Luo-speaking pastoralists that lived in Bahr el Ghazal region of South Sudan. The many sources of this conclusion can be found in Kashambuzi book titled “Uganda’s Development Agenda in the 21st Century and Related Regional Issues” 2008). Bantu people originated in the border area between Cameroon and Nigeria. When the two ethnic groups met in the Great Lakes region around the 15th century, Nilotic Luo-speaking people adopted Bantu names, Bantu language, Bantu religion and even Bantu king title. Mwami (king) was a Bahutu king title but was adopted by Batutsi kings after they defeated Bahutu, implying they had no kings before.

Who are Bachwezi?

Contrary to available information from credible sources, Batutsi have insisted that they are the descendants of Bachwezi. The truth is that Bachwezi were a Bantu aristocracy under whose leadership the earthen works in central Uganda are believed to have been constructed. Professor Bathwell A. Ogot concluded “Be that as it may, the important point to emphasize is that, according to the historical reconstruction we are outlining here, the Bachwezi were not Bahima or Luo: they were a Bantu aristocracy who emerged in western Uganda in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries”(Bethwell A. Ogot Building On the Indigeneous: Selected Essays 1981-1998. 1999 page 77).

Batutsi economic relations with Bahutu/Bairu

Bantu arrived in the Great Lakes region with short horn cattle, goals, sheep and poultry as well as a wide range of crops and iron technology. “Bantu did not come as conquerors but as farmers with a superior technology, and with cattle, sheep and goats” (Robert O. Collins 2006). With technology they manufactured iron tools including farm implements of hoe, axes and machetes that they used to expand agriculture. Some Bantu specialized in pastoralism in areas where ecological conditions were suitable as in parts of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi “many of the Bantu settlers switched to animal husbandry as a primary source of food, herding cattle, sheep and goats” (E. J. Murphy1974). Therefore Bahutu and Bairu were turned from mixed farmers and manufacturers into cultivators. This therefore is Batutsi made categorization which should be changed because at least in Uganda since the 1960s Bairu have more cattle than Batutsi/Bahima.

Batutsi social and legal relations with Bahutu and Bairu

Batutsi imposed strict marriage restrictions between the two ethnic groups. Even a Mwiru to be seen talking to a Mututsi/Muhororo woman was a serious matter for the man. However, once in a while a Tutsi king would give a Tutsi woman to an outstanding Hutu man to marry and the Hutu man would be tutsified as a junior partner and abandon his kith and kin. After independence when political power switched from Batutsi to Bahutu and Bairu, Batutsi encouraged their women to marry outstanding Bahutu and Bairu men and tutsify them so they promote Tutsi interests over those of Bahutu and Bairu. That is a silent requirement. This was a post-independence revolution because Batutsi women became so aggressive that Bahutu and Bairu men should have wondered at such a transformation but perhaps they thought that was the fruit of independence. Bairu and Bahutu men abandoned their Bahutu and Bairu women thus creating a tremendous problem as Bahutu/Bairu women are complaining that Batutsi women are stealing their men. Batutsi Covenant includes a specific clause which states that in order to control Bahutu and Bairu men Batutsi women should marry them if necessary. This is a marriage of control and political domination. That is why we see in Uganda things turning against non-Batutsi people because some of their representatives in parliament or local councils aren’t supporting non-Batutsi interests. Some people are finding it difficult to accept that their leaders can betray their people. It’s time we accepted this reality and deal with it accordingly instead of dwelling in denial. According to Tutsi tradition a woman is expected to remain a virgin until she gets married. Meanwhile, Tutsi boys were given Hutu women for sexual pleasures. Although Bahutu and Bairu cooked food and brewed beer for Batutsi, the two groups would not eat or drink together because Bahutu and Bairu were inferior. These practices are still in force albeit in a diluted form for political purposes. After they have a drink or a meal with you, Batutsi curse on their way home for sitting at the same table and being seen with an inferior person.

Batutsi lifestyle not conducive to develop civilizations

Batutsi and their cousins Bahima, Bantutsi/Bahororo and Banyamulenge were and are still basically nomadic people, moving constantly in search of pasture and water points for their cattle, their main source of livelihood. Civilizations take place and thrive in settled communities as towns where they build permanent structures and develop governance systems and institutions to maintain law and order. As Bantu populations grew fast with adequate food and absence of wars, they settled in communities, with leaders such as chiefs and kings or clan heads emerging to provide law and order. In Rwanda and Burundi Bahutu had chiefs called Mwami, a title that was adopted when Batutsi conquered Bahutu. That kings and chiefs existed before Batutsi arrived in southwest Uganda is confirmed in this observation “Elephants were abundant in the forests of southwest Uganda and ivory trade became the monopoly of the kings and chiefs of the region. … and ivory markets were located at the king’s or chief’s palaces” (Bethwell A. Ogot 1976). Therefore state or administrative institutions were already in place when Batutsi arrived.

How Bahutu impoverishment occurred

Batutsi warriors, in some cases with support of Arabs and Swahili that had modern European weapons defeated Bantu and deprived them of their wealth including land as in Rwanda and were reduced to crop cultivators to serve primarily the needs of their new masters in return for so-called protection. From the 15th century to independence in 1962 Bahutu and Bairu were exploited and dispossessed. Let us take as an illustration the case of exploitation under Belgian rule. “Throughout the period of Belgian colonial rule, the Tutsi tightened their grip on every aspect of social, economic and political control. While pursuing colonial government instructions to extract more taxes and labor from small farmers, mostly Hutu, local Tutsi chiefs also used their increased authority to seize cattle and land from rivals and farmers”(John Reader undated). Thus through the process of exploitation and dispossession, Bantu (Bahutu and Bairu) who had been wealthy and engaged in mixed farming of crops, herding and manufacturing and ate well and lived in peace were reduced to crop cultivation to meet food needs of Batutsi first, were also denied education and jobs in colonial administration and religious institutions. With independence in 1962 in Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, Batutsi lost to Bahutu and Bairu because of demographic differences that favored Bantu. Since the early 1960s, under the leadership of Museveni Batutsi people have resorted to using military means to restore their domination and exploitation of Bantu people in the Great Lakes region. They have done so in collaboration with western powers many of whom still believe in stereotypes of Batutsi superiority and Bantu inferiority, primitivism and barbarism. Using military tools Batutsi have overthrown governments in Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and DRC. To overthrow Obote II government some westerners created stories that Obote soldiers were committing serious human rights violations. Western governments were approached including financial institutions that cut off aid and exposed Obote to a second military coup which occurred in July 1985. It has been reported that Museveni never accused Obote of murdering Ugandans especially in the Luwero Triangle. “It is significant that Museveni never once claims in his autobiography that Obote killed the people in the Luwero Triangle, because Museveni is the one himself who carried out these atrocities”(EIR Special Report 1997 Page 35). Following the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Bahutu have been described as genocidaires and bad people who should have no place under the sun as they were being hunted down in Congo forests. Howard W. French reports on this indifference when he observed that “[some] officials had written off the Hutu as a pariah population, and no one had time for questions about their fate [in DRC]. Another official thought “They were the bad guys” (Howard W. French 2004). But when Batutsi committed genocide against Hutu in Burundi in 1972, 1988 and 1993, and in DRC since 1994 and massacres of Hutu in Rwanda since 1990 the world kept quiet or sided with Tutsi governments in Burundi and Rwanda. For example, in 1972 there were sufficient warnings that genocide was going to take place by Batutsi against Bahutu but was ignored. “As in Rwanda, this African variant of genocide and ethnic cleansing [in Burundi] transpired amid an attitude of relative indifference on the part of the international community”(William R. Keylor 2001).

Are Batutsi superior and born to rule?

Once elected, leaders should govern for all people. They should assemble the best teams to advise them. In Uganda Museveni has failed the test. He hasn’t proved intellectually superior and has favored members of his Batutsi kith and kin through corruption, sectarianism, cronyism and mismanagement. He has been in power for 26 years and what Uganda has reaped is decadence such as the reemergence of diseases that had disappeared, collapse of education, health, ecological and food security systems. Educated people are locked up in the diaspora or marginalized at home or retrenched, food is being exported while Ugandans starve and children drop out of school because they are hungry. Maternal mortality has risen from 527 in 1995 to 920 per 100000 live births in 2005 (APRM 2009). With general conditions getting worse following the current economic recession, maternal mortality must have risen further since 2005. Good education and health services are provided for the rich through private hospitals and schools beyond the means of the majority of Ugandans. The countryside where the overwhelming majority of Ugandans lives and earns their meager livelihood has been neglected as Museveni implemented a version of Singapore model based on the capital city and providing services with Kampala generating some 70 percent of Gross National Income. Income distribution is very skewed because the trickledown mechanism did not work and it is believed that some twenty percent in the lowest income bracket are poorer than in 1986 when Museveni became president. Against this bleak background, donors that continue to praise NRM government for good economic development record must have another criterion for assessing performance.

To sum up

Tthe point being made is that as long as prejudices continue against Bahutu and Bairu as inferior, intellectually bankrupt and incapable of leading in the Great Lakes region and all the favors continue to flow to Batutsi who are the aggressors and have caused major suffering of Bahutu and Bairu, placing troops in the region won’t solve the problem once and for all. Batutsi are intent on creating a Tutsi Empire in the Horn, Middle and Southern Africa starting with the Great Lakes region and using Uganda as the base and therefore sustaining Museveni in power or perhaps supporting another general who will use military style to silence the population by abusing their human rights and freedoms and cover up for him. It is surprising how Rwanda with its bad human rights record including invading other countries could have got a seat in the Security Council for two years starting in January 2013. Apart from a few ambitious people, the majority of people in the Great Lakes region want to live together in peace, security (including freedom from hunger, freedom from fear and freedom to live in dignity) and happiness. They will not rest until justice and equality have been realized. We have seen what military leaders can do when they get power. They give orders, take or threaten lives of those who raise a finger to ask a question and in the process cause more harm than good, destruction than construction. A disguised feudal system of lords and serfs is being restored in the Great Lakes region with Batutsi becoming lords and Bantu serfs through the latter’s poor education, food insecurity and poor health systems, land dispossession and ecological collapse that is resulting in economic migration into urban slums where crime and disease are taking a heavy toll. The abandoned lands are being taken over by Batutsi already in Uganda with plenty of cash or credit facilities and new ones coming in mostly from Rwanda, and DRC. These developments must continue to be discussed until a lasting solution is found. On the whole the Great Lakes region is less stable today than it was in 1986 when NRM took power in Uganda pledging development and ending suffering and establishing good neighborly relations. Ugandans can’t solve this problem alone and we need a helping hand of development partners, friends and well wishers. Uganda is in bad shape. UDU is now involved in civic education, diplomatic networking and keeping an eye on what is happening on the ground in Uganda. Please join us in this worthwhile crusade. With knowledge about the situation in Uganda and neighbors and the threat gathering on the horizon, Ugandans should gather courage and do their part rather than wait for others to do it for them pleading lack of time. We all have 24 hours a day. It is a matter of prioritizing. We should all do whatever we can so that when dinner is served everyone gets a fair share. I am doing my part. I trust I have simplified the presentation and hopefully this is the last time I am writing on this topic.