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Day February 15, 2009

Comparison between 1953 and 1966 Buganda crisis


1/7 If you chanced to access a Top Secret memorandum C. (53) 324 written by the British Secretary of State (Minister) for the colonies to the British cabinet on 18th November 1953, you would learn that HM EF Mutesa II had very few options when he was summoned by Andrew Cohen for interview.

2/7 The governor (Cohen) already had instructions to ensure that Kabaka Mutesa complied with instructions to leve the country.  The memorandum stated that, If the Kabaka refuses to come to this country to see me then I propose to authorize the Governor to put into operation the plan described in paragraph 6 above.”

3/7 Para 6 of the memorandum was a detailed military plan (referred to by Secretary Lyttleton as “extreme action”) that was supposed to be executed from the day of the Kabaka Mutesa/Governor Cohen meeting (30.11.1953) to 8.12.1953.

4/7 Note that on 16th November 1953 4th Battalion K.A.R started moving back to Jinja from Kenya ready for military operations in Buganda “in support of the police” to carry out what the memorandum called a coup d’etat had the Kabaka tried to

“…embark on an open trial of strength with Her Majesty’s Government.”

5/7 That “Top Secret” memorandum in part states that, “General Erskine has agreed to make available one battalion of the King’s African Rifles which is now moving into Uganda ostensibly as a routine transfer. He has also agreed to have a reserve battalion on standing by at three days’ notice but if this or any further reinforcements were called upon he might have to ask additional assistance from the United Kingdom.”

6/7 So then, Kabaka Mutesa was alot wiser than you can possibly imagine, by avoiding any childish action of the type that you call “Terrance Hill”.  Had he tried, he would probably have been subjected to an emotional experience that would have denied him the chance to see 1966, itself a continuation of the 1953 intransigence.

7/7 The difference between 1966 and 1953 was, that Governor Cohen had alot more manoeuvrability than AM Obote, otherwise the basic plan was the same.  Cohen had plan A and B.  Plan A worked and that saved the day.  AM had only Plan A, namely, Cohen’s Plan B, a Zero sum game.  I see UPC supporters somewhere (with the usual opportunism) saying that Cohen was outrageous.  I think what they(upc supporters) really mean is that, Cohen should have put into play Plan B (the one to that should have been executed by General Erskine…the extreme action…it would have saved the UPC the 1966 entanglements…that is what Mr Ochieno probably means).

L/Cpl (rtd) Otto Patrick

Mutesa 11 displays patience & wisdom at his 1953 deportation order


On 30th Nov 1953, when the Governor Sir Andrew Cohen surmoned Sir Edward Muteesa to Government House in Entebbe, after Sir Edward refused to budge from the numerous threats made towards him, Sir Cohen handed him the deportation order. Without looking at it, Sir Edward passed it over to his Katikkiro, Owek. Paulo Kavuma, and kept on staring at the Governor. He (Sir Edward) just calmly asked them, “Does this mean that I am under arrest?” The Governor hissed out, “Yes”. Two white constables then walked in to take away the Kabaka. He then allowed them to walk him out of the office. Upon reaching outside, his deputy ADC, Robert Ntambi (RIP) being concerned over the safety of his Kabaka asked him, “Ssebo, nkube?”, meaning “Sir, should I shoot the bastards?” Sir Edward being the Royal and British trained military personnel he was, replied calmly with wisdom and guidance, “Tokuba, baleke” meaning “Just let the poor souls be!”

Please note that Sir Edward himself was armed with a revolver which he later handed over to the accompanying British officer in the aeroplane when they were already airborne, and could have done a Terrance Hill to those two poor souls, but he couldn’t kill an innocent man. And lo, some Baganda bashers and haters spew lies on this forum of how Sir Edward killed innocent Banyoro in Karuguza, my foot!

Actually, Sir Edward was not only a British trained military officer, but was an instructor himself in the Grenadier Guards. As one might guess, British Army is not some taka taka African army where some officer might be made an instructor simply because of some top connections. Sir Edward was worthy his pips and medals and so, had to make the right decision at the right time after weighing a situation that deserves a split of a second action.

Sir Edward though still a minor, had the advantage of receiving lectures from his father; the late Sir Daudi Ccwa II. It was not just by chance that he was made the 35th Kabaka of Buganda. The British had tried to do the same to Sir Daudi Ccwa II, himself also a trained British Officer, but he was much wiser for them also. The  Cohen Plan “B” was to be executed in the beginning of November 1939 (Note the coincidence of the month of November) by the then Governor, Sir Philip Mitchell, but due to the failing health of the Ssabasajja, the British thought it unwise in Military Strategic terms, to appear to be antagonising a sickly man (equivalent of shooting a defenceless man in the back). They instead banked on ‘terrorizing’ the next of kin. Unfortunately for them, the next of kin was even more tough a nut to crack than Sir Daudi Ccwa II.
When I tell some Ugandans that Sir Edward’s resistance to the British gave a booster shot in the arm of the Mau Mau, they cant  comprehend that history. You see, sometimes we just cannot write the whole thing down here on the forum for theUgandans  to understand everything.
Robert Nviri
Respectable Buganda Nationalist
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