MEET OUR DEMANDS:
Katikkiro Joseph Ssemwogerere
THE Katikkiro of Buganda, Joseph Ssemwogerere, meets
President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday to discuss Buganda's demands. He
told Hamis Kaheru exactly what Buganda wants:
QUESTION: Baganda seem to be unhappy with the constitutional review
ANSWER: Whereas we rejected the Charter in the 1995 Constitution,
the Ssempebwa Commission recommended that the districts that form a
regional tier should have representatives from district councils to form
a Constituency Assembly (CA). This CA would prepare a constitution for
each regional tier.
But to our surprise, although both the 1995 Constitution and the
Ssempebwa Commission recommended a constitution for each tier, Cabinet
is saying the tier should not have a separate constitution. Cabinet says
the Constitution of Uganda should take care of all the peculiarities of
the various areas. We do not think that this is a step towards
federalism. We think this is LC6 and we are not looking! for LC6.
Q: What do you want then?
A: We would like the democratically elected representatives from the
districts to team up with the present Lukiiko, form the CA and prepare a
constitution for our tier.
This constitution should not be in contravention of or contradiction
with the national constitution.
Q: Has Cabinet rejected the proposed regional constitution?
A: They don't want it. But Ssempebwa recommended a constitution and
1995 recommended a constitution. The Cabinet seems to think that we
should not have separate constitutions. But we don't think that can be
Q: What would be in the tier's constitution that can't be catered for
in the national constitution?
A: The national Constitution cannot take care of the peculiarities
of Buganda. We have got our culture and it has nothing to do with the
rest of Uganda.
The Constitution of Uganda undertakes to respect people's various
cultures and the quest for Federo is to take care of the special
peculiarities of various areas in terms of development, culture and
Q: What would be the Kabaka's role under a regional constitution?
A: The Kabaka was removed from politics in 1955 and we have no
intention of bringing him back to politics because the chief executive
is the Katikkiro.
Q: Do you want power to collect taxes under Federo?
A: We don't like to collect taxes at all. The central government
should continue to collect taxes and give back what we deserve.
Q: There is suspicion that Baganda want Federo so they can chase away
A: Non-Baganda have been living in Buganda for a very long time. I
do not remember of anybody who has ever been chased from Buganda for
being a non-Muganda.
I know of people who have been chased from other areas just because they
do not belong there, for example in Kibaale, Teso, Toro and Kasese but
not in Buganda. Buganda is extremely accommodating. Buganda is the only
place where you can have non-Baganda MPs. They are about 10 or more. So,
the accusation is of course totally untrue.
Q: You are asking for 9,000 sq. miles of land. What is it about?
A: This is unallocated land which was preserved for future
generations of Buganda and it was protected by the colonial government.
On October 8, 1962 this land was handed over to Buganda and we set up
Buganda Land Board (BLB).
When Obote abolished the 1962 Constitution he confiscated all the
property and assets of Buganda and the 9,000sq. miles became Crown Land.
When President Yoweri Museveni comes to correct the wrongs, instead of
returning the land to Buganda he gives it to the districts. The Kabaka
is here. Why not give it back to him?
Q: Where is this land and who is managing it today?
A: In Kiboga, Luweero, Sembabule etc. We don't
count that of Buyaga and Bugangayizi because it went back to Bunyoro in
Of course, it is no longer 9,000sq. miles because districts have
allocated themselves this land. But there are some unallocated patches.
We want the BLB to control this land. We can still keep the district
land committees but they work on behalf of the BLB. They can allocate
and send returns. This is not freehold. It is leasehold.
Q: What is the government's response to this suggestion?
A: They are suggesting that the land remains in the district and we
are saying No.
Q: Have you convinced other regions to accept federalism?
A: When the government fell in love with decentralisation, they went
out and taught it. They started with Mukono District as a test case.
When they found out that it was doing well, they spread it all over the
place. Why don't they do the same with Federo?
The reason why governments don't want to give Federo is because of
division of power and resources.
Q: Do you accept the idea of Mengo Municipality?
A: Yes. Mengo Municipality would take care of our cultural sites.
The municipality will have a mayor. It will not be headed by the Kabaka.
The Kabaka is the head of Buganda. Kampala can be the capital city for
all Ugandans while Mengo Municipality belongs to Buganda.
Q: Is it a trade off? That you get Mengo Municipality and Kampala
remains outside Buganda?
A: A distinction must be made between Kampala, the commercial city
and Kampala, the capital city. The commercial city can expand but the
capital city's boundaries should not change.
Q: Shed more light on that.
A: Bidandi Ssali had suggested that if Mengo Municipality is curved
out of Kampala, then another area (Kira Sub-county) should be cut from
Buganda to compensate for the loss and we are saying No.
Buganda is opposed to curving out of Wakiso District any part of it for
the purposes of curving out! Kampala city.
Q: What's wrong with adding Kira Sub-county to Kampala?
A: The capital city is the property of the central government and
its boundaries should not change. But the commercial city can continue
expanding even into the adjacent municipalities and beyond because we don't
want to restrict development. Like it is with Washington DC in the US
which extends to Virginia and other places. People can continue building
up to other areas, including Kira, but the boundaries of the capital
city should be delineated and remain static.
Q: What areas fall within the capital city's boundaries?
A: The capital city covers Makerere, Nsambya barracks, Old Kampala,
Wandegeya, Kira Road, Naguru, Nakawa, Mbuya, Bugolobi, Nakivubo Channel,
Nakasero, Kololo, Queens Way and Kisenyi.
Q: Those developments which spread across the boundary would not be
counted as being in the capital city?
A: Yes, because the capital city is political and administrative.
What does the government want from those areas? They don't have anything
Parliament, the central government's headquarters, Mulago Hospital,
Makerere University, KCC offices are all here. So what do they want from
those areas outside the capital?
Q: Do you accept that Kampala remains outside Buganda when you get
A: At the moment they are saying Kampala District is outside
Buganda. We don't accept that. But the government accepts to delineate
Kampala capital city from Mengo Municipality where our cultural sites
are and we agree to that.
Kampala then remains the capital city of the country, for all of us. But
of course that doesn't remove it from being in Buganda. You don't
have to mention in the Constitution that it is in Buganda.
Even if you don't mention it in the Constitution, we also don't want you
to mention that it is not, because it is. It was started by Ssekabaka Mutesa I.
Published on: Sunday, 1st August, 2004