Saturday, July 26, 2008

Comedy of Errors

In Uganda, unfortunately, we do not need to venture into fiction to have a great tale. This, necessarily, is not a political blog, but this story is too hilariously true to be credited for other than fiction.

I will not use my own words, because they may be misconstrued as fictitious. I will use the reports that are on the Ugandan Newspaper websites. Remember, the Monitor is an independent newspaper. The New Vision is government owned, and controlled. So, what you read from the New Vision is the supposed government take on what is being called the Mengo 2008 Crisis. Why is it called that? We have a long history, Uganda.


Mengo is the seat of the Buganda Government. Buganda kingdom, one of our old kingdoms, is now a cultural relic. More than a relic, since we Africans believe in our tribes above our ‘nations’. It is supposed to be apolitical. The King, or Kabaka, is the head of the Buganda Kingdom, and of the Buganda Government. Oh, they have a prime minister (Katikiro), and a parliament of elders, the Lukiiko. (I cant help this dig, sorry. That is why the other tribes consider them, er, uppity and arrogant!)

And, er, the President of the Republic of Uganda is not a Muganda.

So, it started long time ago, in history which I would rather not go into. But the New Vision has its assessment of what the current crisis is about. Here.

Now, recently, the President was unhappy, because a radio station owned by the Buganda government was ‘abusing’ him. So, the country was shocked when 3 members of the Buganda Government were arrested. The charges included 'terrorism'

Here. Kivenjinja defended the arrests, saying the officials were a threat to the national security.

“We arrested them because they are a security threat. Those who rise against the authority of the State are arrested,” he stated.

The arrestees were spirited out of Kampala.

More than 100 hours after the arrest, they had not been charged. A constitutional requirement. So, Buganda Government asked for Courts to intervene.

The courts ordered the government to release the arrestees.

The government could not go against the constitution. So, the arrestees were released.

For all of 2 minutes. And then re-arrested.

You can understand that by then the Kampala was tense. Fortunately for me, I was so immersed in my own problems that I just did not have the time to follow the 'crisis'.

Then, well, yesterday, they were charged with 'sedition' and released. But what is most interesting are the demands of the government of the Mengo government.

Authentic sources told Saturday Vision that Buganda Prime minister John Baptist Walusimbi and the Coordinator of Intelligence forces, Maj. Gen. David Tinyefuza, had agreed that the officials be released without charge on condition that Mengo sacks all ministers with known political leanings.

Mengo was also asked to fire all presenters on its Central Broadcasting Station (CBS) with known political leanings and disband the Civic Education Committee on the Land Bill, chaired by Betty Nambooze.

In a document that deputy Katikkiro Emmanuel Ssendaula took to the Bulange for acknowledgement, they were also asked to totally overhaul CBS programming to weed out elements that were offensive to Government. They were also asked to prohibit all Mengo officials from making political statements and restrict themselves to cultural issues.

But that is the government paper. From the more 'independent media'


This is a comedy of errors of unimaginable consequences. All of a sudden, a tribe has been turned into an official opposition. Who advises the President? Had their collective brains gone on a leave of abscence?

Things is, the Central government doesnt want dissent. But on certain things, some people cannot not dissent. So, to keep them quiet, the government plays bully?

Oh well, now that was my own assesment.

As I said, the Baganda are not the most popular of our fractured tribes. But suddenly, this bullying gets them some curious friends!


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