The account of having diverse views on federalism has been heated indeed of late. Without bias, I still believe that unless Museveni himself is inclined to federalism, our involvement in discussing the pleasant and sour truths of federalism in Uganda may not bring us near to the truth of the excitement caused in Buganda.
Note that the underlying principle was fulfilled by the submission of the views of Buganda to the Constitutional Review Commission on 28/01/2003 having been preceded by a presentation of same views to Museveni by the Katikkiro at Nakasero. However, my line of argument is that since the trans-political process of the Movement struggle had its roots in Buganda, the direction of Museveni's views on federalism would form a positive national process even though it is Buganda itself that has to carry the corporate lobbying throughout Uganda.
Some questions might be asked about the legitimacy of Buganda demanding federal. By the time the territory known as Uganda was given definite geographical boundaries, the diverse ethnic classifications who were living there had an almost federal segment. To illustrate my point, most societies in Uganda kept developing their respective areas and there was no case of mass migration to Kampala as the centre stage or focal point for development or sustaining a living. Moreover, intermarriages existed in those days alongside religious and trade convergences in the meaningful sense of mutual co-existence.
Currently, it is evident that Buganda, Busoga, Teso, Karamoja, West Nile, Kigezi, UPC, DP, Reform Agenda and almost all religious leaders are inclined towards federalism. They see federal as a resource for unity, development and progressive competition. Why then is the stalemate or what are the foreseen fears of peace loving Ugandans? The interaction of the movement as a political organisation while pretending not to be so, exploits much as it blocks the need for duality of multi-parties and federalism which both appeal to the majority of Ugandans. The movement thrives while pluralists and federalists continue to blame each other on the origins of the 1966 crisis and by focusing on the aspect of Amin and Obote II.
A reconciliation framework useful for building trust and forgiving the past, similar to the South African one chaired by Archbishop Tutu needs to be constituted in Uganda. In other words, this reconciliation category would make groups say sorry to each other in the most open and sincere way. The next stage would be for interpersonal networks of leaders and people which would systematically lead to genuine political interaction in Uganda.
Recently, the Minister Bukenya responsible for Presidency upon returning from an official visit to China, talked of federal as having been highjacked and that Mengo ought to market federal through the "Kakuyege concept". Bukenya would seem to be pre-occupied with protecting his loyalty to the movement instead of drumming up token of means to deliver to the wishes of Buganda. Minister Bukenya needs to be reminded that the feelings like "excitement in Buganda" that he cautioned against vis-a-vis federal are a part of human nature and hence natural. Expression of one's wishes as was done by the Baganda in the case of the peaceful demonstrations for federal was a reflex of democracy and human rights. The "Kakuyege mechanism" is a Movement localism for seeking votes as opposed to the popular articulation of federal demands by Buganda as a national life-line for stability and progress.
Lets us not just try to confine ourselves to the 1966 crisis, Amin, Muwanga, Obote II or UPC. In his book of the pre-colonial setting: a History of Buganda, Kiwanuka gives the greater explanation that existed in Buganda's administrative and social devices which made it impossible for a foreigner to feel an outsider in the mobility of a Kiganda society. Kiwanuka says, Kiganda society had the hospitality and the liberal mentality that even allowed a Musoga distinguished dancer to become important in the political hierarchy. This truth speaks for itself even at this very minute of writing this piece.
On this account of past history, I regard the polarisation from 1958 between Buganda and the rest of Uganda up to now, can still be put to rest through open dialogue. It is high time pluralists and federalists alike closed their ranks through reconciliation. There is no point in Mengo, UPC, DP and others continuing to point accusing fingers at each other about the bitter past.
Let's also remind each of the good blood of past: On many occasions and on the hours of need, Buganda has been out to support and to pave way to success. Namely: the1945 revolt, the 1948/49 strike, the 1953 state of disturbances due to Kabaka's exile and the 1959 trade boycott of non-African shops and goods put pressure on the British colonialists to speed up the independence process. The rest of Uganda never united with the Baganda to do anything as such because they did not trust them. Was it not Buganda under Kabaka Yekka that formed an alliance with Dr. Obote to give UPC an overwhelming victory in the 1962 elections? What about the massive support of Buganda in the 1971 Amin takeover? In the NRA's bush war, it was Buganda that sacrificed and paved way for Museveni and clique. By account of Buganda's past services, my belief is that all Ugandans can still revise and reconcile the hitherto "suspicious minds" to form a consensus on what can benefit all Ugandans.
It is obvious enough in my worries that Museveni may impede the federal project through political games. The strategy would be for Constitutional Review Commission to make recommendations which may end up somewhere in dusty shelves while decentralisation is solidly promoted as a conventional criteria. As the end of Museveni's era (2006) closes in fast, Movementists have already long forgotten the political identity between Buganda and the Movement that formed the basis of the success of the bush struggle. To me, that identity has long fragmented because the promised goods and what was agreed upon, have never been delivered fully by the Movement. In the wake of this scenario, denying Buganda the Federo project would tantamount to denying it a change for the better. In any case, the 'exist of Buganda' from the Movement may already be a foregone conclusion.