AFTER being provoked by all sorts of comments and arguments in the Uganda media regarding the debate on federalism (federo from hereon), many of the editors are now coming around to the view that they have been supporting an unprincipled position. The advice they have been dispensing with much arrogance has exposed the hidden agenda that theirs is/was essentially not to inform but to overwhelm the reader of the alleged supremacy of President Museveni’s position on the future of Uganda regardless of substance. Indeed the underlying view seems to be that a unitary system is best suited to Uganda circumstances because President Museveni says so.
A lie has also been sold to the public that Museveni restored the kingdoms and on this he has tried to build a castle. Well, the castle is on shifting sand because it is patently clear that Museveni actually, only recognized and restored individual leaders of the traditional nationalities but not the kingdoms or chieftains. The calculation was that it is easier to exploit individuals to sell a dummy to those gullible enough to believe that Museveni had restored the kingdoms.
It is not true that Museveni restored the kingdom of Buganda. He did not and the Uganda constitution is unaware of this claim. Creating a hybrid of a kingdom without legal competence does not amount to restoration. President Museveni recognised Kabaka Mutebi without the kingdom, and we are grateful, but he should stop making false claims. Recognition of Buganda would mean the establishment of a semi-autonomous entity. That is not the case.
Museveni is alert to the fact that instituting a federo system of government in Uganda would be an indirect recognition of kingdoms and chieftains since it is the kingdoms that have grabbed the vanguard of federo advocacy in Uganda, which would set them apart as equals. President Museveni is opposed to any parallel powers to his own. The idea that anyone can check on his excesses is anathema to him. And while he accepts that federo is a superior system, he cannot allow it while he remains in power. His way of dealing with the issue is to try and put in place something with close links to federo but without the devolved powers to be able to act independent of Central Government. The examples are decentralisation and the so-called regional tier proposal.
I am saying that President Museveni has never restored the kingdoms as he claims rather he restored exploitable aspects of those kingdoms. Believing himself to have outwitted everyone, he thought that the traditional leaders would speak through him since in his own interpretation they are supposed to be apolitical (as opposed to non-partisan). Unfortunately, they – Buganda/Kabaka in particular – have exposed him for what he is, an opportunist intending to rule until thy kingdom come without any intention to cede power to the people of Uganda to choose their destiny. He is fighting hard to overcome the exposé. I am convinced it will not wash and his time is near. How near, did you ask? Well, I don’t know but certainly not beyond 2008 at the very extreme.
As for the commentators in the media, where they have not been hostile they have argued that although they are not against federo they need to know how federo will work in Uganda. They say they waiting to be persuaded. Why then are they wasting our time if they are not master of their subject? That is how they too have been exposed.
The media, in its arrogance, has urged us to focus on "national matters" whatever they are instead of wasting our time on federo, which they say, will never be adopted in Uganda. On the other hand, advocates of federo have maintained that the cause of abuses of power is the result of the excessive powers at the centre and the all-powerful executive, which is only answerable to itself and the mainstay of unitarism.
Absurd as it may sound, it is true that even the hang-ons to the President of Uganda can, today, order the death of a citizen and in some cases do the killing themselves without fear of prosecution. That is how powerful and unrestrained the executive is in a unitary system. It is this that corrupts political leaders in Uganda. There is no recourse to appeal against the excesses and abuse by the President as constituted in our unitary constitution. We wish to tame and limit the President’s powers to national issues but organise and manage local affairs in federo units to our benefit.
The spoil sport
Indeed reading the Uganda press one comes away with the impression that a federo arrangement is opposed by a majority of Ugandans. Interestingly, the same majority is said not to understand what federo is about, which is a contradiction of sorts! If indeed federo is being rejected is it being rejected in ignorance? Are the advocates of the status quo convinced that Uganda cannot do any better? What is the rationale for protecting a political system that has failed thus far?
Small minded opportunists have sought to allege that colonialists created the likes of Buganda. What a load of rubbish and they know it. All they are attempting to say is that Buganda’s position in Uganda is not deserved and therefore Buganda must be pulled down to the level of a pauper before it is due any sympathy. In an article by Alan Tacca in the Sunday Monitor of 1 August 2004, he captures the meanness informing Uganda politics today, he writes: "And yet these new brilliant men and women cannot see beyond Buganda’s dated glory songs, nor beyond their obsession with the charms of this little metropolis called Kampala, with its car-jammed winding tracks masquerading as streets. They cannot visualize the emergence of new centers; new institutions of learning, research, industry and health care powered by the engines of federalism, tapping the huge reserve of human potential out there; the growth of new cities; cities which would make posterity wonder what the fuss about Muteesa I’s dusty town was all about."
On top of the seeds of doubt planted by opponents of federo many incomprehensible questions and comments are being made including a demand from Bunyoro Kingdom, which contends that six counties currently part of Buganda should be transferred to Bunyoro. Interestingly, Buganda and Bunyoro are not legal entities according to the Uganda constitution of 1995. The Kabaka has treated this bogus claim with all the contempt it deserves and only a few days ago an official from Bunyoro admitted that President Museveni put them up to it in an attempt to isolate Kabaka and Buganda.
That said, what Bunyoro was asked to contest was that where is the fairness in Buganda’s demand for semi-autonomy rule when, in the first place, Buganda gained its identity and territory at the back of others; contending further that historical matters should be settled before we look to the future. The merits of the argument are debatable but the substance of the claim is undoubtedly mischievous. And this has been the trend in trying to paint federo and Buganda as unworthy.
Other commentators have argued that federo and monarchism are one and the same thing and that federo is championed by Buganda simply because it wants to recapture its former glory without the hard work and federo is just an easy excuse. Some of the arguments are very difficult to follow.
We would want to revisit some of the questions and comments raised by the opponents of federo and debate them. We shall deal with them not in any particular order.
First of all, let’s dispose of the propagated conditionality that if federo is to take root, the Kabaka and other cultural leaders must be apolitical (as opposed to non-partisan) thus strictly restricting their activities to cultural issues, full stop. In other words, it is being argued that the cultural leaders right to involve themselves politically as any other Ugandan should be denied constitutionally? Why? Apparently, according to President Museveni, the Kabaka and other cultural leaders must be protected? Why, because their positions are hereditary? Does that make any sense to you?
If that is scrapping the floor to you, not to Museveni, who has now come up with a proposal that Central Government must have the powers to remove hereditary leaders. This is to suggest that it is Central Government’s gift whether or not there should hereditary leaders? How arrogant can you get? Those of us who have chosen to have hereditary leaders, apparently, don’t have a say in this. Next thing they will be telling us that politicians can remove you from your inheritance.
Of course when a falsehood is repeated many times, it starts to sound like a reasonable argument. Well, it is not. Firstly, the Kabaka or any other cultural leader should be a matter for the people who accept the Kabaka or that cultural leader as their leader and it is up to those people to set conditions on the Kabaka. In other words, the Kabaka is not the Kabaka of Uganda, he is the Kabaka of an identified group who have willingly consented to his leadership and it remains a matter for them and nobody else. The privilege that the cultural leader enjoys is not universal and is restricted. Their removal or otherwise should therefore be restricted to the culture that afford the cultural leader the privilege.
There is a strong argument that each federo area of Uganda should have a local constitution to set out the relationship between the cultural leader and the people. It is definitely not a matter for President Museveni or anyone else to decide what the relationship between the cultural leader and his people should be. The only external condition between the cultural leader and his people is that their contractual relationship is subject to the constitution of Uganda. We mustn’t forget either that we are talking about long-standing traditional systems with a history. It would follow that in these traditional systems there are duties and rights and corresponding responsibilities. The only sound reason for continuity is that the said duties, rights and responsibilities that form the unwritten constitution should be codified and amended in future as necessary. To advise against regional government constitutions is to challenge the usefulness of our traditional societies. This tells you that there is no principle involved in what President Museveni wants to impose on the country except selfishness and constitutional corruption.
If we take the constitution of Uganda at face value that every Ugandan has a right to hold views and join any political party of their choosing, it would follow that for the cultural leader to enjoy the confidence of all his people, he must, by definition, be non-partisan. This much we can insert in the constitution by way of protecting the people under a cultural leader.
As to whether a cultural leader should be apolitical is simply absurd. The nature of any leadership position demands that the leader must be free to advocate for his/her people. And if the needs of the people include political issues, then that leader should be free to advocate for his people on the respective platform of concern. For example, the kabakaship by its very nature is a political office and it is about leadership. Although the office is hereditary the office-holder is actually appointed by elders from amongst several candidates. In other hereditary systems succession is automatic and layered. I am convinced that the only people suited to put conditions and restrictions on the Kabaka are Baganda while recognising how they have evolved as a society.
However, if the people choose that their leader should at no time dub in political advocacy and this being an exception to the rule a reason must be provided as to why the leader is being denied his natural rights as an individual and leader. It is also my observation that often non-Baganda forget that in modern society a Muganda can opt out of the traditional rules and the Kabaka can do nothing about it hence to contend that the Kabakaship is dictatorial and authoritarian lacks substance in my view.
What would be the purpose of the office of cultural leader if the holder is denied the right to influence politically for his people? Since there are no clear lines between economic, social and political needs to deny a cultural leader to do one but not the other smacks of an agenda in the negative. The acid test should be on abuse, namely, should a cultural leader use his/her position to influence for his/her benefit? My answer to that is if found to do so then that would be deemed abuse. This is where the local constitution comes in, clearly spelling out what constitutes abuse of office and the sanction for it. Museveni’s intervention is certainly not welcome and anyone seeking to negotiate the same with him also needs medical treatment.
While discussing issues unique to a given area, we may as well talk about Museveni’s proposal that should federo come to Uganda then Buganda should have two Nkiikos (2 parliaments); one for politics and another for culture! This is not the same as one parliament with two chambers rather Museveni is proposing two parliaments. This is absurd, stupid and pathetic.
It is arguable that Museveni’s suggestion lacks depth? How about, for example, Uganda was to have two Parliaments, one answerable to Museveni and another answerable to the people? This would suggest that sovereignty in Uganda is not decided. It is so obvious that were Museveni’s demands to be implemented Buganda would be a divided entity with each Lukiiko (parliament) vying for supremacy. The voice of Buganda would forever be uncoordinated by legal decree. How is that for destabilization? Is this a man looking to rule a stable country?
The federo system as proposed by President Museveni advocates that districts – that wish to – may resolve to form a single unit. For example, those in the borders of Bunyoro, Tooro, Ankole, Acholi, Teso, Buganda, Lango, West Nile, Kigezi, etc or across regions may resolve to form a Regional Tier. In this thoughtless proposal, the Districts would retain all their current powers and the Regional Tier would be answerable to the Districts, which in turn are answerable to the President. In Museveni’s view this would amount to a federal system.
I did tell you that the man is aware of suitability of federo to the Ugandan situation but won’t contemplate it for fear of losing power to the regions, so he is dead anxious to create a system under his thumb which he can claim to be as good as federo. Why anyone bothers to discuss serious issues regarding change with Museveni remains a mystery, the man is not for turning and that is what 19 years of his leadership have shown.
Still on Museveni and other opinion leaders demanding that Buganda must give assurances to other Ugandans that nothing untoward will be done to them, one wonders whether the Baganda are suspected of wanting to overthrow the constitution of Uganda. If this is the suspicion no one is telling us how the threat to the constitution from Buganda can materialize when it doesn’t have an army or the withal to secede from Uganda.
It seems more a case of four wolves and one sheep discussing what to have for lunch. The vocal wolves accuse the sheep of being selfish and greedy and demand that the sheep give some assurance that the wolves will feed! What a joke? From where I stand, it is Buganda culture, which needs protecting given the influx of cultures destined to overwhelm Buganda.
It has been argued that if the federo vision were to be realised competition between regions will create an imbalance in development. This seems to assume that there is currently a balanced development in the various regions of Uganda. This is the lie, which is perpetuated by layers of more lies.
Uganda today is driven by a beggar mentality. Government secures grants and loans from donor developed countries it then disburses the grants and loans on a discretionary basis while allowing the sharks within Government to keep a share of the grants and loans for personal use. Depending on the region showing the greatest loyalty to the Government determines the level of financial support a region can secure. Consider this, President Museveni offered (read tried to bribe) the Kabaka’s Government Shs100b to support his agenda. Fortunately for the taxpayer this money was rejected but under what rules was he making this offer? Was Parliament consulted and was the matter debated or is Museveni free to dip his hand in the Treasury as and when he feels the need without restraint?
It is arguable that federo is seen as a threat to the said cosy relationship that accounts to no one. Money is borrowed and disbursed in Uganda’s name yet the taxpayer has no say in the redistribution of the grants and loans secured in our name. In a federo arrangement, grants and loans would arrive in Uganda when every region knows before hand what percentage it is to receive leaving little room for the sharks, as it were. That has to be a good thing.
One hopes that under a federo arrangement, there will be less reliance on grants and loans for local development. Public business will generate work locally for entrepreneurs to prosper, which in turn will create employment and subsequently development. We cannot continue to rely on foreign investment, which is geared to taking profits out of the country. To this day we are yet to see a foreign investor who has created anywhere near one hundred jobs. The investors who bought former public utilities have always started with job cuts, which are settled by the taxpayer as an incentive for the foreign investor? Often the so-called foreign investor is an agent of the sharks in the Uganda Government.
The sticking question is whether the people appreciate what development entails. On the one hand, President Museveni continues to beg with an attitude and without regard to how borrowed money will be repaid. In other words, he is mortgaging the country in order to carry of a bluff that he has brought development. ‘Entitlement begging’ is spinned off as development. In any case inviting foreigners to milk a cow that has nowhere to graze is respite for entrenched poverty which disguises itself through pockets of prosperity specially allotted to loud-mouthed crooks, corrupt officials and kinsmen of the politically powerful in the one party-state that is Uganda.
We contend that a federo arrangement will bring with it accountability and a sense of responsibility. The confidence this will generate is bound to result in development. The advocates of federo say that Uganda has nothing to lose and everything to gain. For the sake of argument we could have a trial period of 10 years, which we can compare with President Museveni’s 20 years of absolute rule. If at the end of 10 years, Uganda hasn’t moved forward, the country would have the option of returning to the absolute rule of a unitary President.
Hostility or hatred towards another on grounds of ethnicity, race, religion, etc is incomprehensible to me. When I hear people make generalisations about another social group they often draw contempt from me as a first instinct. Those who contend that federo will create tribalism are yet to provide us reasons why this would happen. All they are doing is asserting a falsehood in the hope it will be believed.
I am certain that it is not a contradiction to want to be different while not being hostile or displaying hatred towards others. In any case discrimination has many positives. For example, when we pick a partner, we are positively and selectively discriminating against others but the end is to make our lives better and improve everything around us. Advocates of federo hold similar hopes, intentions and expectations.
In life we confront individuals not tribe or race or such things. The spread of positive human qualities within any one ethnic group is as wide as in the next group. Coincidence is common occurrence but it is not a science. If all Karamojong who have attended Makerere University have tended to pick up first class degrees, we cannot use that to conclude that the Karamojong are the cleverest ethnic group in Uganda or can we?
Ethnically demarcated regions form natural administrative boundaries acceptable to the traditional nationalities of which we should be proud because they are the basis of our identities. To argue that such units would be panacea for trouble in the form of tribalism in Uganda is contemptible. In any case, where is the evidence that federo will fuel tribalism?
Between 1955 – 1966 Buganda was a meritocracy in the promotion of education for all regardless of tribe. An able student from outside Buganda would be preferred to a Muganda student of lesser academic ability and indeed many non-Baganda students were educated on Buganda scholarships. To suggest that federo will overturn a long standing policy is a vain attempt to be malicious.
From 1967 after the overthrow of Buganda, security operatives and Ugandans of a certain ethnic group often posed the question: "Do you know who I am"? This carried on into the Amin era and gained momentum during Obote II. The current "twalire" era carries on the tradition that belonging to the ethnicity of the President of Uganda places one in a special citizen category. Where is the evidence to suggest that under federo it would be worse than it is today?
Today a career army sergeant of a certain ethnic group is said to own property valued at a billion shillings. This is someone who joined the army at the age of 16 years and has served for the last 20 years. It beggars belief how a career soldier could accumulate so much wealth without anyone questioning it. Is it because of the soldier’s ethnic kinship to the President? Would such practices continue unchecked under a federo system and could they get worse for lack of accountability?
Looting the treasury
One commentator has argued that federo simply means a case where people prefer being looted by their own instead of seeing people from other ethnic groups loot them dry without re-investing in the community they loot. The commentator argues that this is the overriding reason why Buganda is demanding that Uganda should embrace federo. We are not going to waste time debating the proposition suffice to say that if that was the meaning of federo and it results in a benefit for the greatest number then perhaps to consider it after all.
Another commentator has argued that federo will mean more public expenditure, something that Uganda cannot afford, contending further that federo will undermine the current accountability procedures in place that have apparently served the country well. The commentator does not provide any evidence to the good. In fact the contrary is true in that what decentralisation has done for Uganda is to decentralise corruption. Uganda is currently rated the third most corrupt country in the world yet confusing agents have the cheek to say that the current situation constitutes the ideal for our country. They want to bully us into resignation by accepting the false premise that what we have cannot be improved. From there they then insist that the motto for Uganda is "No Change" to allow the current leaders to rule until they die.
Those local officials loyal to the Movement have been issued license to loot the funds that filter through to local government. This is so because the local officials have to account to the Central Government instead of the people they purport to serve. In light of the fact that Central Government does not have the capacity to monitor each and every local authority in the country, officials in local government responsible for handling funds take full advantage. This is also case in the NRA perhaps with a touch of connivance from the top.
When one complains of thieving officials, the complainant often gets in trouble because no action is taken against the person complained of leaving the victims to suffer the wrath of the corrupt or incompetent official. Loyalty to Government exempts officials of corruption and incompetence.
The federo arrangement
Federo will put in place an arrangement where local administrations are not detached from the people they lead and in whose name they act. Today it is on a wing and prayer to effect a change for the better because the actual decision maker is in Kampala and has to be consulted virtually on everything despite having no knowledge of the local environment. Most of the decisions are superficial and have little bearing to the needs of the people.
Under decentralisation as practiced in Uganda, the powers are delegated with a proviso that any major decision must be referred upwards. Under the unitary constitution, Central Government reserves the right whether or not to act on complaints. To this end Government has deliberately ignored all complaints against those loyal to the movement, which has created a class of untouchables, which in turn has undermined the principle of accountability.
Under federo decisions will be made on the ground according to the needs of that particular locality. Accountability is thus easy to monitor and in turn corruption and stealing may be able to be checked effectively. What the advocates of federo are saying is that Uganda is crying out for a political arrangement that allows for greater accountability than we have today and are recommending a federo arrangement.
Opponents of federo have argued that creating a fresh tier of government in Uganda is likely to cost the country in excess of what it can afford. They also seem to be arguing that all current tiers should be retained while allowing for a new tier to be created as some form of compromise to federo demands. This is totally a confused situation, which leaves room for Central Government to find more jobs for its supporters.
Restructuring the current political arrangements is what federo is about. Needless to say is that the federo structure will create a civil service independent of Central Government and we are certain that it will create economic activities all round to cause regeneration and development.
Central Government will not be able to appoint cronies and plant them at every local government level as is the case today instead civil servants and all workers will be locally recruited instead of being posted in places by Central Government.
Feeding off nepotism
We are not arguing for a second that corruption, nepotism and other vices in the public service will disappear at a stroke on the introduction of a federal arrangement. No, rather we are saying that corruption, nepotism and other vices will be best addressed under federo because of the checks and accountability written into federo.
Under the unitary constitution, the President is the fountain of sovereignty and challenging his decisions and action can be deemed a treasonable offence – examples of this are too many to list. The unitary constitution elevates the executive above all other branches of the government. This has meant that the President can reject legislative and judicial decisions without being in contempt of those branches of government. This begs the question whether the current unitary arrangement does not undermine the principle of the rule of law?
Indeed the Uganda Cabinet (read Museveni) is proposing that Parliament becomes subordinate to the Executive and that the judiciary (Constitutional Court) should not have the powers to review complaints relating to any repealed law. The point here being that if any law is ruled unconstitutional, Ugandans will not be allowed to petition court on any act resulting from the enforcement of unconstitutional law. What Museveni is saying the Nazis and all human right abuses should not be challenged since at the time they did what they did, they were acting within the law albeit that that law has subsequently been found wanting. This is the Austin principle, as students of jurisprudence will confirm.
The unitary constitution has given room to opportunists to confuse the line between public and private. The President uses public funds to buy support and bribe opponents. Disturbingly, Ugandans do not have legal recourse to take him to task. Whenever the President has failed to find an explanation for his actions, he has simply said that he has sacrificed a lot for the country and is therefore entitled to use public funds as he deems fit.
Perhaps more disturbing are incidents when corruption is proven but the President wearing a judge’s hat deems them legitimate mistakes and therefore excusable. To mind is the case when his young brother, Lt. Gen. Saleh, admitted to taking a bribe of $800,000 to conspire with a supplier of military helicopters to supply the army 4 junk helicopters at $12m that he knew would never fly. The President later ruled that his brother should be excused and allowed to spend the bribery money on people in the war zone. A year later the young brother was involved in yet more corruption, again the President asked the country to overlook the offences since his brother had in the past made "great contribution" to Uganda’s liberation movement. Another example is when the presidential jet was put to private use when it transported the married daughter of the president and her friend to Germany to give birth. Museveni argued that since he had made many sacrifices for Uganda’s! benefit coupled with the many enemies wanting to kill him and his family, it was justified to use the presidential plane for his private use. That is his idea of the rule of law.
I digressed somewhat but the point is made that the unitary constitution has vested and concentrated too much power in one man to the extent he is a law unto himself. There are no checks against the excesses of the office of President in Uganda and we want to stop the current and potential abuse by putting in place a federo arrangement, which has checks and balances the fragile structures currently in place to ensure the upholding of the rule of law.
Since the unitary constitution of 1967, Uganda has continually been a one-party-state except for the period 1980-1985. Even then, the opposition was much compromised because agencies of the state including the army, the police, the civil service, etc recognised only one master, namely the UPC Government. Persecution, harassment and intimidation of the opposition were the order of the day, tactics which the current regime has also used most effectively.
Uganda has had regular elections throughout the era of a one-party-state and the people elected have harped on about having the mandate to speak for the people. That the people were not presented the choice to elect people of the preference is ignored. The elections have been held as some kind of endorsement exercise of the regime in power but not necessarily to offer an opportunity to change that regime if the people so choose.
With that in mind, President Museveni and some commentators have sought to undermine traditional society saying that anyone who was not "elected" has no political role to perform and all cultural leaders must restrict their public role to adjudicating on cultural matters. This mischief informs President Museveni’s proposal to create two Nkiikos (Parliaments) in Buganda: one for cultural and the other for political and economic deliberations.
According to this perspective, family and culture are not to be part of politics because the leadership was not elected. One wonders where the politics of the country will find its moral authority if family and culture are to be locked out of political debate. In fact that perspective assumes that legitimacy and consent only derive from popular vote. Museveni and company are nevertheless silent on his nominees to Parliament whose constituency is called Museveni.
The shallowness of the "elected representative" argument is a touch disturbing because it is infinitely opportunistic. For example, the basis of that argument sought to tell the people of Buganda that Mengo does not represent the views of the Baganda because Mengo officials were not "elected". According to this theory locally elected officials are the true representatives of Buganda, which, in any case, is not a constitutional entity. This is nonsense since the local council representatives are elected for specific reasons/functions. In the same way, you do not expect your local councillor to represent you at the United Nations local councillors in Buganda do not represent the views of the Buganda.
That said the issue of representing Baganda as a cultural unit is a constitutional one. Local councillors represent Districts while the Kabaka represents the Baganda. That is the constitutional position. Anyone who says otherwise simply wants to breach the constitution, something that comes easy to Museveni and his supporters.
Uganda’s unitary constitutions
Since the overthrow of the Independence Constitution there has been a continuous abuse of power which has resulted in perpetual instability either for the whole country or parts of the country. Indeed the unitary constitution that replaced the independence constitution created a dictatorship at the Centre, which has proved unaccountable to the country. In part this has encouraged terrorism both against the State and State terrorism against the people.
The unitary constitutions of Uganda then and now are informed by many negative considerations seeking to suppress the freedoms and rights of the traditional communities who are perceived as a threat to the so-called national unity. These constitutions have proved themselves to be short term to serve the interests of the people in power and not the people of Uganda. The unitary experiment has produced brutal dictatorial regimes staffed by gangs of unscrupulous characters, whose continued looting of public assets, misuse of resources and irresponsible borrowing has given rise to unprecedented social decline. We now live in a country of two extremes: less than 5% lives the life of luxury; 30% have just enough to survive; while 65% live on a per capita of $2 a month or less.
The unitary constitutions have ignored our diversity and have failed to unite the people of Uganda. We are a very long way from becoming a Nation-State rather Uganda today is a State with several traditional nationalities (which the colonialist has called tribes) who have been stripped of a role in the mobilization and development of the people of Uganda. Instead we have one uniform meant to fit all. The powers of the traditional communities were removed at a stroke and vested in the President of Uganda and his Government. Conflict has since become a way of life and leadership has become a test in crisis management.
The federo arrangement
Federo will not change everything at a stroke rather it will address the fundamental question of abuse of power given much prominence by the unitary constitutions, which have concentrated power in the executive. Power and responsibilities will be shared between the Centre and the Regions thus creating checks and balances against potential abuse of power. Each Region or State shall enjoy semi-autonomous devolved powers in a range of matters, which will be provided for in the federo constitution. This will include economic planning and development, taxation, education, health, legislation, construction, commerce, judicial, etc.
Among other things, the federo arrangement will remove the rush for jobs at the Centre providing sustainable employment in the regions, which is not subject to politicians at the Centre. Local administrative units will generate economic activity, which in turn is likely to bring development and employment to the local areas. Competition to develop local areas will eventually remove the begging mentality, which is currently championed by President Museveni and his Government.
Local issues will be resolved locally and intervention by the Centre will be by invitation. The Federo Government at the Centre will co-ordinate and provide support, technical advice, the know-how, enforce standards, etc. This is what we mean by federo notwithstanding what Museveni, Nsibambi and their minnows choose to label it.