Category CULTURE

How Buganda expanded from a humble beginning to a state


Buganda was founded around A.D 1200. It consisted of three counties of Busiro, Mawokota and Kyadondo.

Baganda were originally divided into six clans, each with a separate totem. Although the six clans were equal, the leader of Civet Cat (Ffumbe) clan was leader of all clans, making him the first leader of Buganda.

The first Kabaka of Buganda was Kato Kintu. Kabaka Kintu deprived clan heads of their political and judicial powers, leaving them with cultural powers only. He created thirteen clans to counter the original six and made himself the leader of all clan heads (Ssabataka).

Baganda were divided into royals and non-royals. The non-royals were subdivided into three groups: clan leaders (Bataka), civil/political leaders (Bakungu), and peasants (Bakopi).

All the land was entrusted to the king for use by all without discrimination. (The 1900 Buganda Agreement between Buganda and Britain changed this arrangement giving land to the Kabaka, saza chiefs, few prominent Baganda and the Crown, leaving peasants who constitute the majority of Baganda out in the cold. Land ownership in Uganda including in Buganda is currently changing hands once again). The Kabaka was supreme ruler.

At the beginning, clan leaders were hereditary and were powerful. Kabaka Mawanda made some changes and gradually eliminated most hereditary leaders. Ultimately power was centralized in the Kabaka. Kabaka Mutesa I had absolute power and his word was final, reminiscent of Louis XIV of France.

The expansion of Buganda began in the 17th century. The areas of Butambala, Gomba, Busujju and Southern Singo were conquered and colonized or annexed to Buganda.

Conquest and colonization continued in the 18th century. Buganda gained territory largely at the expense of Bunyoro. The counties of Kyagwe, Singo and Bulemezi were colonized. Buddu was added to Buganda around 1770.

Buganda gained more territory when six counties of Bunyoro were forcibly annexed by Britain to Buganda in 1893 as reward for Buganda’s support in Britain’s defeat of Bunyoro resistance to colonial rule. Buganda also absorbed Kokki and Kabula.

The acquisition of guns by the kings of Buganda helped in Buganda’s colonization process. For example, by 1880, Kabaka Mutesa I possessed 1000 guns. The possession of guns and Anglo-Buganda alliance speeded up the geographic expansion of Buganda.

Contrary to popular belief, Buganda is an amalgam of many clans with different histories and cultures, with some clans bigger and more powerful than others. Given this background, secession of Buganda from Uganda could open a pandora’s box that may be difficult to close.

By way of illustration, soon after Dudayev announced Chechen-Ingushetia sovereign and independent of Soviet Union on November 1, 1991, the Ingush people split from the Chechens. On November 30, 1991, the Ingush people voted to remain within the Russian Republic.

Thus, there is a possibility that some clans in Buganda may choose to remain within Uganda should Buganda attempt to secede.

The information is not exhaustive. It has been provided on demand as part of civic education.

Eric Kashambuzi

Why Buganda should abandon the idea of secession


As a Uganda citizen and researcher, I have a right to express my views on any subject provided I present facts. I have decided to campaign against secession in Uganda.

I request that you listen to me and hear what I am saying and read carefully what I am writing on this subject instead of hurling insults at me without even bothering to understand what I stand for. Anger and frustration don’t solve problems. It is clear that attacking me has become a coordinated effort. Hopefully it will fail as more Ugandans understand what I am saying and that I mean well for present and future generations.

I have good reasons for taking on such a challenge with all the costs involved. Here are some of them. I will provide more as and when appropriate. I suggest Buganda (and others) pursues federalism rather than secession.

1. Pursuing secession might open a Pandora’s box and expose Buganda’s Achilles’ heel given its history of a complex governing system that is well documented. Buganda proper consists of three counties of Kyadondo, Busiro and Mawokota. The rest was obtained reportedly by military aggression and subsequently forced into colonization with Arab and British support. In this sense Buganda is not different from Britain that conquered and colonized Uganda. Further, Buganda is like Ethiopia that conquered and colonized parts of its empire. That is why the Somali people in the Ogaden region are still demanding decolonization. The same could be made by counties in Buganda that feel were conquered and forced into colonization. The UN still has a department of decolonization and could admit such concerns.

2. The pre-colonial centralized kingdom of Buganda and the division of labor created rich and poor classes; royals and non-royals. The latter groups were exploited under a feudal system. Buganda secession might restore a centralized system of government with absolute rule as enjoyed by Kabaka Mutesa I and resumption of a feudal system and severe punishment for non-compliance.

3. We don’t know the real motive and the agents of secession. It could be a design to break up Uganda and make the different parts vulnerable to colonization by power hungry individuals or groups of them.

4. The use of military means to achieve Buganda secession which is not a secret may plunge Uganda into an inferno with catastrophic outcomes.

5. The non-Baganda living in Buganda as the only home they know and those who have legally (or illegally) invested in Buganda will not be driven away without a fight. Baganda outside of Buganda could face extremely difficult challenges witness the Ibos who lived outside their home of Eastern Nigeria when the country descended into political chaos and civil war.

6. Secession of Buganda even if it succeeded may not be recognized by any government as has happened to Somaliland which seceded in 1991 that some Ugandans are fronting as a success story for emulation. Without recognition, so-called independent Buganda will not become a member of AU and UN or any other organization and won’t receive political, technical and financial assistance through bilateral and multilateral arrangements.

7. The recent secret agreement between Kabaka Mutebi II and President Museveni could be disastrous for Buganda and Uganda. In these uncertain circumstances, the different parts of Uganda will fare better within than without Uganda framework.

I appeal to Baganda and to all Ugandans to reflect on this issue of secession carefully weighing the gains against the losses and to understand the real motives and character of those few Baganda relentlessly pushing for secession using examples like Somaliland that no one has recognized since it seceded in 1991. It is important to recall that the decision by Lukiiko in 1966 to expel Uganda central government from Buganda soil within nine days was imposed by three saza chiefs as members of the Lukiiko. Baganda should therefore avoid pressure from these few but aggressive Baganda that are relentlessly pushing for Buganda secession using military means. This may explain why Ugandans to the Rescue organization has refused to disclose what it is up to while it continues to collect money from all Ugandans.

I personally believe very strongly that Uganda, her people and institutions will be stronger and safer if we agree on a new system of governing ourselves after NRM has exited that will accommodate regional, district, county and clan needs. A federal system with checks and balances and regulations will be a better alternative than the disintegration of Uganda.

By Dr.Eric Kashambuzi

Suddenly, Baganda want independence, not federo


This is the third time that Baganda have suddenly demanded independence from Uganda. On December 30, 1960 after Baganda failed to agree with the colonial secretary on a formula for independence acceptable to them, Lukiiko decided to secede. On May 20, 1966 Lukiiko once again demanded independence by giving the central government an ultimatum to quit Buganda on or before May 30, 1966.

The colonial government ignored the decision and went ahead with elections in 1961 for the independence of Uganda which the Democratic Party (DP) won under the leadership of Ben Kiwanuka and became the first prime minister of self-governing Uganda. The second decision for independence was interpreted by the central government as a rebellion that had to be prevented, resulting in the 1966/67 political and constitutional crisis that abrogated the 1962 constitution under which Buganda enjoyed a federal status.

Since the abrogation of the independence constitution, Baganda have consistently demanded its restoration and return of the federal system of governance. The demand received considerable attention at home and abroad including a debate on Radio Munansi for two consecutive weekends.

Consequently, in October 2012 a conference was held in London on federalism. The current Katikkiro of Buganda was the keynote speaker and laid the foundation for returning Uganda to a federal system. There was overwhelming support in principle from all parts of Uganda. It was decided that a committee be established to consult with all sections of the population throughout the country and in the diaspora and convene a national convention so that Ugandans decide how they want to be governed.

In March 2013, at a meeting in London, the committee on federalism was formed and tasked to conduct comprehensive consultations with a focus on culture and governance, prepare a report with action oriented recommendations and convene a conference at an appropriate time. The committee with a good representation of Baganda has begun collecting information.

Suddenly, especially since the signing of a secret Agreement between Kabaka Mutebi II and President Museveni, there has been a surge in the demand for secession using especially Somaliland as a case in point. Some Baganda have demanded that the armed wing of Ugandans to the Rescue Organization should focus on that goal. Given the deteriorating political situation in Uganda anything can happen, leading to the disintegration of Uganda or a civil war.

Experience of failed and costly attempts to secede by Southern States in the United States, Biafra in Nigeria and Chechnya in Russia should serve as a warning to the few but vocal Baganda pushing for secession. This could open a Pandora’s Box and expose Buganda’s Achilles’ heel. It could wake up “sleeping dogs” as happened during discussions for Uganda’s independence. In Ankole, Bahororo demanded a separate district which was denied. This denial woke up Museveni who ultimately created Ntungamo as a separate district and Ankole is the only area where the kingdom was not restored. The Bakonjo and Baamba demanded a separate district which was denied. It was followed by Rwenzururu guerrilla war and eventually got what they wanted.

As we know the nucleus of Buganda comprised three counties of Busiro, Kyadondo and Mawokota (G.K.Kahangi 2003). The rest was added through military conquest and colonization in part with external support and those affected know it. The issue of the lost counties should serve as a reminder complemented by current demands for autonomy by some counties. To pretend that all is a Garden of Roses in Buganda is unwise.

To avoid a possible catastrophe, Buganda and indeed Uganda need statesmen/women to craft a vision for the entire country for present and future generations based on a federal system that allows regions to determine their destiny in areas in which they have a comparative advantage except national defense, national security, foreign affairs, national currency and regulations for sustainable management of natural resources.

We should refrain from appeasement in seeking support for the next elections as some prospective presidential candidates have begun to do. The few vocal voices demanding secession not only in Buganda but in other areas should be persuaded to rethink because the costs in the short, medium and long term could outweigh the benefits.

By Eric Kashambuzi

GOD BLESS HON REBECCA KADAGA…WHERE IS NIRINGIYE, MATEMBE?


In a situation even where the mightiest of the land are dillydallying over the moral decadence and perversion of the West, she stands tall to be counted. At home and even when she is out. Our media and ‘human rights activists’ need to read and get details of homos and their fate in the West: not allowed to join Boy Scouts or Girl Guides; not allowed to ‘declare’ their status when players in key games: soccer, baseball, et al. No homo is allowed to be chaplain of any youth club. THEREFORE THERE MUST BE SOMETHING WRONG ABOUT IT.

It is only and the end of 2013 that one fellow in Britain believed to be the father of the computer was given a post-humous pardon and rehabilitation: he was condemned for being a homosexual in 1952. CECIL RHODES, the greatest rapist of African resources and sovereignty was banished by his own parents at age 17 to Africa, because he was a homosexual. Conventional history records that he was a sickler, so his parents sent him to Africa …’hoping that he would get better’!!! Imagine a family in 18th century England, sending their teenage son to a ‘dark continent’, with the hope that he would get better!!!!!!

This thing should NOT be seen in isolation. It is part of a larger campaign to eliminate us and occupy our continent: family planning( Marie Stoppes type), the Walter Reed Project ( guinea-pigging us for biological weapons), legalisation of prostitution, weakening the family unit, condemning African names and practices as satanic, GMOs, trafficking of human organs( disguised as ‘ ritual sacrifice), ‘child rights’, foreign aid in every sector and everything( which is actually AIDS), ALL this is should be seen totality, as a package.

The ‘explorers’ coming to Africa expected to find ‘wild naked savages’ whom they would eliminate the way they did in the Americas. Finding powerful empires and flourishing economies, they were shocked. The legacies and records left by those ‘pioneer explorers’ show that ‘other less offensive and subtle means have to be devised by successive generations to eliminate the native…’. This started with the enslavement of the mind, where one feels superior and liberated when they condemn all things African and want to be European, American!!

We stand firm. If you love Africa, why have you not given us the same HIV/AIDS cure that the US uses, instead leaving us for all manner of experimentation????

AFRIKA AMKA….TUTAMSHINDA MHUNI!!!

Sandra Birungi
Patriotic Ugandan
Kampala.

Who are the Abanyala?


Who are the Abanyala?This question has been asked by forumists on The Monitor of December 30, 2013. Attempts to answer it have been blocked by the moderator. However, the answer is found in three books;
a)The History of Buruuli/Bunyala, b) Semei Rwakirenzikakungulu and the Making of Uganda, c) A Community of Strangers, A Journal; A History book of Bunyala of Kayunga, By A.F. Robertson Professor of History at London University, published by Scholar Press of London.

The Abanyala are the indigenous citizens of Bunyala(Bugerere). They have been living there for millions of years. When the Anglo=Ganda colonial forces defeated Kabaleega this county, Bunyala(Bugerere) was one of the seven lost counties which were donated to Buganda to thank Baganda for having betrayed Africa and sided with the British colonisers

When the Lost Counties were donated to Buganda, Baganda settlers, colonisers poured into these counties in millions to enforce their colonisation thus outnumbering the indigenous Banyala. That is why today Baganda keep saying, THOSE BANYALA ARE VERY FEW.

When the 1964 Referendum was being held it was staged in only two of the Lost Counties, Buyaga and Bugangaizi, leaving out the other five, Buruuli, Buheekura, Rugonjo (Singo), Bulemeezi and Bunyala.

The nationalism of the indigenous people of Buruuli, Bunyala, Kooki, etc. cannot be killed. Hence the people of Buruuli , Bunyala, have applied the Uganda Constitution to demand and seceed from Buganda without firing a single shot Hence the establishment of the kingdoms of Buruuli and Bunyala..

However, members of this forum whom I respect as scholars, should read those books which are available in all of Uganda’s good libraries and bookshops.

I don’t expect people to choose to remain ignorant when information is available in books. But there is a widely known saying amongst the Uganda educated class which goes,” If you want to hide something from a Ugandan put it in a book.” He will miss it because Ugandans do not have a reading culture.

Henry Ford Mirima

THE 1964 REFERENDUM WAS ABOUT WHO ADMINISTERS THE CONTESTED AREAS NOT LAND OWNERSHIP


The referendum was not about who owns which plot of land. The referendum was about who administers the contested areas. The people in the Buyaga and Bugangaizi voted that they preferred to be under Bunyoro while Buwekula voted to remain in Buganda.

Banyoro in Buwekula weren’t expected to vacate Buwekula after the referendum. And Baganda in Buyaga and Bugangaizi weren’t supposed to surrender their titles without compensation. Plot 1 block 42 with 1,433 hectares in Buyaga belongs to Kabaka Mutesa II while the current Kabaka, Ronald Mutebi, owns plot 3, block 90, measuring 231 hectares in Bugangaizi.

Uganda is not under some apartheid that it is somehow illegal or illegitimate for a Muganda to own land outside Buganda. The President owns land in Buganda and Bunyoro and he is neither a Munyoro or a Muganda but an absent Munyankole landlord.

ISREAL KINTU
UAH MEMBER IN USA

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH TRIBALISM


1.THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH TRIBALISM: ‘Most people, left on their own, have simple tribal hearts….. Lions, buffaloes, elephants and birds hang out with and look out for their own. If you want to see the wrath of a baboon, knock one as you drive through Busitema. Hit a dog and no baboon will notice!’-Beti Olive Kamya, then MP, Lubaga North and a member of UAH

2.Thursday, 6 March 2008.Parliament met at 2.33 p.m. in Parliament House, Kampala .:
MS KAMYA: ”One honourable Karimojong promised to -(Laughter)- I am saying it in good faith. What is wrong with being an honourable Karimojong? I think it is perfectly honourable to be an honourable Karimojong as it is honourable to be an honourable Muganda. There is no problem -

THE SPEAKER: Hon. Kamya, you should refer to a Member or constituency so and so or by name, rather than his tribe.

MS KAMYA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Okay,……………….

”I do remember that session in Parliament and I was completely taken aback when MPs laughed and the Hon Member from Karamoja took offense because (i) sitting together on the agricultural committee, we had developed a fairly codial and easy relationship, we joked and teased each other on Karamoja and Buganda, so my statement was made in that spirit – in reference to his threat on the floor of parliament that the people of K’ja were going to take certain action against something that displeased them.

I have often been teased by friends on account of Baganda (perceived?) dishonesty and slyness, I have been teased by Catholic friends on Protestants(I subscribe to Church of Uganda denomination) (perceived?) dishonesty, and I have often been teased about the Kikuyus (my Mother is a kikuyu) (perceived?) love of money over anything else – but I always take the jokes in the spirit in which they are delivered. My statement in parliament was really meant to be a light note, don’ read more than that it in.”

BETI KAMYA
member of UAH.

THE FEDERO QUESTION IN UGANDA IS THERE TO STAY


The federal question is there to stay and sooner rather than later Ugandans will have no choice but confront it. There are two institutions that have oppressed the Ugandan or African in general, namely, the Eurocentric education and the unitary system. There is no positive peace in Africa because of these two. And until they are reformed or vanquished African countries can kiss positive peace kwaheri.

There is no way you can dismiss people’s wishes as you want us to do with what Ugandans expressed in the Odoki Constitutional Review Commission. the Odoki Constitutional Review Commission showed that 60% of Ugandans wanted federalism.Why didn’t framers of the constitution endorse federalism since the majority of Ugandans wanted it/ What happened, who changed it ? That should be question.If the claim is true,i.e 60% of Ugandans wanted federalism, then it means that we are not using the document that Ugandans agreed to, what we are using is a fake document since it refused to put into place what the majority of Ugandans wanted, on that basis the fake document should be rejected. Justice Odoki, my mentor Papa Stephen Akabway who chaired the CA should be called to explain why they refused to honour people’s wishes.

The 1995 Constitution is often said to be the people’s constitution, but if an item that 70% of the people wanted was not granted, then how on do we call such a document that does contain such an item, the people’s document?

In 2007 I participated in a conference about Zimbabwe’ political challenges. One of the discussants, Prof. Ranger Lang from Oxford University observed that for countries such as Zimbabwe and Uganda with heterogeneous populations, the best option for good governance would be federalism. In Uganda’s case, he said that what Uganda had before independence time was actually federal governance.

On urban management, he noted that city management fail because central governments interfere a lot and cited an example of how clean Kampala, Harare and Bulawayo were because there was proper management by separate entities but when central government began interfering, those cities are now among the worst with pot-holes, no running water, poor sanitation, power failure, unplanned constructions etc.

Peter Simon

THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LANGIS AND KARAMAJONGS


What UAH members should know is that, after the Ateker group split from Lake Turukana area, one group went South-East wards (The Kalengin), while another group came South-West wards into the present day Karamoja area, all these people were called Lango (The word Lango means warrior).

The Langi who went into the present day Kenya were very aggressive fighters, so when the Arab slave traders tried raiding them, they instead raided the Arabs which made the Arabs to refer to them as “Wanandi” which is an Arab word for raiders, Wanandi eventually became Nandi (Lango of Kenya).

While some of the group that came to Karamoja drifted further Southwards to the present day Teso, it should be noted that these people were mostly young people who were tired of the harsh environment in the present day Karamoja, so they set off telling the old people to stay, “Nga Kar Imojong” , while the elders told these young people that they were going to die or going to their graves, Atec”, so their names started from Atec to Ateco then Teso, whle the Langi who remained become the Karamojong.

From Karamojong, there was no serious split but gradual expansion south-west wards, this was mostly by warrior section of the community who drifted slowly to the present day areas of Lira, Oyam, Apach etc, these people after finding a greener pasture which don’t require wandering with cattle like in Karamoja eventually decided to settle and practiced both cattle keeping and crop cultivation, but since this areas were occupied by the Luos, the Luos referred to them as foreigners (“Omiru” refer to Obargots statement above”), finding themselves uncomfortable neighboring cattle keepers, the Luos decided to move on to the present day Nyanza /Kisumu area in Western Kenya.

It should be noted that, much as the Langi (Lira, Apach etc), uses a language similar to Luo’s, every other aspects of their system are the same with Karamojong aand some aspects of Teso, like there are same clans in Lango, Karamoja and Teso (Atek in Lango, Ikitek in Teso, Okarowok in Lango, Ikarogwok in Teso, Arak in Lango, Irarak in Teso, whereas Inomo in Lango practices some local medicine, so does Ikinomo in Teso, all these same clans are found in Karamoja).

As for Luo names, not all names starting with “O’ among Langi are Luo names, but just had Luo influence, for example, because of Luo influence, the letter “L” was removed from their names to leave names starting with “O”, here are examples of names from Karamoja with equivalent of the Lango, but with letter “L” removed, Lokodo in Karamoja, Okodo in Lango, Lokii in Karamoja, Okii in Lango, Lotee in Karamoja, Otee in Lango, Ngole is in Karamoja as its Ngole in Lango, Langiro in Karamoja, Angiro in Lango.

So for those who think Lango is a hanging community should re-think again, there is actually no difference between Langi and Karamojong except a change is life style contributed by time and distance between the two communities, and that why in most instances if you find one touting himself as a Karamojong, there is 9/10 chance that he is actually from Lango.

“Dyang” is a singular while “Dok” is plural for cows, one cow is called DYANG, while many are called DOK.You should know that the Langi in Lira, Apach, etc are actually called Lango Jie, while the Karamojong are Lango Dyang or Lango Olok.
Lango Dyang simply means Langi who predominantly keep cattle.

Thanks and God bless you all.

Pyerarama Stewart

BAIRU/HIMA/HUTU/TUTSI ARE CASTES, NOT TRIBES


The caste divisions in Rwanda are (were?) simply that: caste divisions, that is stratification based on socio-economic standing. In the case of Rwanda, the Germans and later the Belgians enforced the caste system to the point of bastardising those groupings into what they called tribes or ethnic groups. That bastardisation of castes continues to obtain in our mistaken thinking. The Rwanda caste system is not any different from what was/is common in East Asia, in Japan, Nepal, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and so on.

India has 5 castes (if you add on the “thug” caste they become six). The Brahman or priests, the Kshatriya (warriors) who may be the equivalent of the cattle-owning, ruling Tutsi of Rwanda/Urundi; then there is the Vaishya who doubled as merchants and farmers, the equivalent of the Hutu; then there are the Sudra or labourers, the land poor, equivalent of lower Hutu who could only provide labour, or the Bairu in Nkore. I think in Rwanda/Urundi and Nkore the structure had not yet differentiated to the point of free crop growers being distinguished from the landless who could only provide labour to the ruling caste. Finally, India has the lowest caste, the Dalit or Harijan, the “untouchables”, the equivalent of the hunter-gatherer Batwa, those to only be spat on. You know the sound of spitting…”Ptwaa! Hence, Twa, Batwa…

India believed so much in caste that any emerging socio-economic group was allocated a caste. As criminality increased, those that thrived on crime were placed in their own caste of the “Thugs”, the sixth caste and these gave a hell of time to the British, forcing them to introduce Hindi “thug” into their language. Bottom line, those were not tribes, they were not ethnicities. They were strata determined by socio-economic position…call them classes.

Rwandan women marrying outside their castes: that is true. Women tend to outnumber men, especially in the warrior caste where there were usually high fatalities among men in endless battles and blood feuds. In later Rwanda/Burundi, this was accentuated by the legal prohibition of polygamy. It is not adventure that drove women to marry outside their caste. It was ontological necessity. Similarly in Uganda, when you go to areas of Nakasongola, south of Lango, there are people there called the Chope or Bachope. They were called Chope because at one time, serious wars among the Luo (in Dokolo etc) forced women and children to flee southwards towards Bunyoro as refugees. When those women were asked where their men were, their answer was, “finished, Kaput, kwisha”. Qestion: “Cho?” answer: “Pe!”. In Luo a man is a “Cho” and kaput is “Pe”; hence Chope. They were quickly married off not due to adventure, but due to the tragedy that had befallen them. Now in Bunyoro and Toro, they have such names as Muchope, Kachope, Kabachope, etc reflecting what you, Mr Okello would call the fruits of adventure. By the way, the Bakopi caste of Buganda seems to have borrowed its name from “Chope”. As you know, the Chope are also called Pawil. The word Biiru or Bairu similarly seems to have also been photocopied from the predicament of those widows and orphans…..

The existential reality of the Hima/Bairu and Tutsi/Bahutu was one of constant and at times bloody conflict over space for crop growing Vs stock grazing. When the cattle of a pastoralist strayed into the millet garden of a crop growing Hutu or Mwiru, the latter would almost always get his spear and finish off part of the offending herd. These conflicts still obtain in all parts of the world where pastoralists co-exist with crop growers. The bitter emotions that go with those conflicts over ecological resources are part of what we witnessed in the form of the Rwanda genocide. That is why I disagree with the Dr.Eric Kashambuzi’s perspective that reduces everything to boyfriends/girlfriends while not explaining the wider picture of the many levels of interaction or lack of it, amongst those groups. If a Hutu speared your beloved cow yesterday after it strayed into his millet garden, and you drowned his son in your cattle watering pond yesterday, when you caught him stealing your water, there may be little room left for romance between the two Hutu/Hima families. Mr Kashambuzi is oblivious of those realities.

In the case of Rwanda and Nkore, what made matters worse was the fact that, those societies subsequently acquired a pastoralist ruling class. As you know, pastoralists can depend on their cattle for virtually everything. Cattle is life! They cannot starve when crop growers deny them their cassava. So, there was a lack of symbiotic dependence between the rulers and the ruled, unlike in the agrarian kingdoms where the ruling class survived by getting tribute in kind (cassava, millet, yams, nswa, bush meat etc) from the subordinate classes and vassals. When you are an aristocrat of an agrarian kingdom, to ensure that you do not starve, you had to have very good relations with all clans. You could not dare to be arrogant. You even had to marry from each one of them to sustain the solid bonds of symbiosis. That is why you hear that Kings of an agrarian Kingdom like Buganda would marry platoons of wives (Kyabagu, 20; Kamanya, 38; Suuna I, 148; Mutesa I, 85; Mwanga, 20; Chwa II, 17 wives, Mutesa II, 14 etc). When you have a king who you don’t owe a living; one who can feed on milk, blood, meat, ghee 24/7, then you have a highly polarised polity: no symbiotic connection, no obligation to marry outside your caste etc…the point that Mr Kashambuzi misses completely in his anecdotes about girlfriends and finacees.

Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto

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