Uganda, as it is known today, is the creation of the colonialists at around 1894. They lumped different tribes together and by virtue of the day, called the emerging country Uganda. It has known only two forms of governments, namely quasi federal, and central governments. The central governments have been characterized mainly by dictatorships, and as such with corruption, human rights abuse, insecurity, poverty, abuse of office, etc.
Federo was officially abandoned by Uganda in 1966, and the move was eloquently hailed by the learned as an escape from an obscurantist backwardness into a brilliant future of Pan Africanism and unity. The beliefs of that time are well documented in the "Uganda Argus" and the "People" of the late 1960s. The country was assured in those days that "correct" political philosophies were the key to everything. We know better now. Uganda has become very complex. That's why, after 35 years, we are revisiting the Federo question, especially because of its administrative, democratic and cultural convenience.
Before the formation of Uganda, all major ethnic groups ruled themselves as Kingdoms or Chiefdoms. The famous Kingdoms include Ankole, Alur, Buganda, Bunyoro, Busoga, and Toro. The famous Chiefdoms include Acholi, Japadhola, and Teso. The tribes had nothing to do with each other. They were brought under a superstructure of political administration called the Uganda Protectorate Government. This however did not stop each tribe carrying out their own social development.
Edward Mutesa II was the President of Uganda between 1963 - 1966. This was a quasi federal government because Mutesa was at the same time the King of Buganda, which enjoyed a federal status. Many Baganda today therefore associate federo with this period in which Buganda received special treatment as compared to other regions.
The other smaller Kingdoms of Ankole, Bunyoro, and Toro had semi federal status. All other kingless districts formed a unitary form of government of independent Uganda.
The reign of a central unitary government in Uganda started with Apollo Milton Obote I who ruled as executive President from 1966 - 1971. During his reign parties were abolished, and a one-country one-parliament and one-people type of rule took place. This was a civilian government.
Purely military governments started with Idi Amin who ruled between 1971 to 1979. His reign saw the death of about half a million Ugandans. This military dictatorship was overthrown by Ugandan exiles supported by the Tanzanian Peoples Defence Forces. Then Prof. Yusuf Lule ruled for only 68 days in 1979, and was followed by Godfrey Binaisa 1979 - 1980 who tried to introduce an umbrella system in the country. Paolo Muwanga took over from Binaisa in 1980.
After the multi party elections in December 1980, Apollo Milton Obote ruled the country for a second time between 1980 - 1985. Museveni's Uganda Patriotic Movement lost the votes very badly and decided to go to the bush. Obote was overthrown by the military of Bazilio Olara Okello and Tito Okello who both ruled between 1985 and 1986.
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni became president in January 1986 after a five year bush war. Since he is an active Lieutenant General of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces, his government is a quasi military government. Museveni ruled Uganda unelected from 1986 to 1996 in the name of promising fundamental changes. The promises never happened, except that corruption went in the skies, poverty elevated to unknown heights, and the war in the North and South West continued. A good number of people (about a million) are displaced, and like no other time before, Uganda experienced famine under Kaguta's rule. A country rich in soil and rain could not feed its own people. Party activities were banned, and at the end, were voted away in the referendum.
The unitary central government in Uganda has miserably failed the people of Uganda. Only true federalism can guarantee that such suffering as under a central government cannot happen again. Now is the time for a change, for a fundamental change. True independence will come from ethnic unity.