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Bidandi to Museveni: don’t destroy Buganda, Uganda

Kabaka talking to President Museveni

In our continuing series on letters exchanged between President Museveni and his former minister JABERI BIDANDI SSALI, we pick up from where we stopped last week when Bidandi cautioned Museveni on his handling of Buganda after the 2009 Buganda riots.

In this letter written in February 2010, Bidandi tells Museveni to listen to the voices of caution.

February, 2010

Your Excellency,
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni,


A few months ago, I wrote to you on the above issue [Buganda]. It was in confidence because I wanted to avoid the then prevailing emotional tempo that had pervaded the public debate.

I had hoped that the concerns I raised would add to those of many other voices to cause you have a second thought on the iron fist approach you have preferred in dealing with the Kabaka and Buganda leadership at Mengo. Apparently you were not impressed.

In the interest of peace and harmony for our country and taking into account our post-independence experience in which avoidable social conflicts have at various periods led to deaths of hundreds of thousands of Ugandans and suffering of millions which has persisted to the present day, I once again appeal to Your Excellency to listen to the voice of caution.

Please Mr President, be informed that the iron fist stance with the Kabaka is a replica of the mid-sixties and is generating deep-rooted bitterness within the hearts of many people in Buganda and outside which is bound to incubate seeds of vengeance ready to hatch at the earliest opportunity.

You and I may not be there by that time, but why should we plant seeds of blood for our tomorrow’s generation?

Your Excellency please, do not take lightly the Nateete and Busega riots which you are wrongly attributing to Mengo and CBS. I once again request you to take very seriously two aspects of those riots.

One; that innocent Ugandans including children were indiscriminately shot at in their closed houses by individuals attired in police uniforms (I hesitate to refer to them as policemen because no trained police man could do that).

Two; the lining of passengers in their tribal or ethnic groups some of them being made to buy their freedom. If this spread to other areas throughout the country NO GUN, NO KIBOKOS would contain that situation!

I disagree with your assertion, Mr President, that these riots were planned by Mengo or CBS or other radios. They were signs on the wall indicating the inevitable fruits Uganda will reap if Your Excellency persists with the iron fist policy in governance.

Up to now you personally have kept CBS closed, not the Broadcasting Council, not the law. The conditions you set for the reopening of the radio reflect your resolve to close the radio permanently and soothes your ego injured by the Kabaka’s refusal to answer your calls for over a year and abuses hurled at you by individuals you have ordained banned from ever appearing on CBS if it ever opened or for that matter any other radio station!

This is an absolute order from an absolute president. Your Excellency the majority of the people in Buganda view the conditions you have set for the reopening of CBS as persecution, part of a deliberate scheme to destroy Buganda as an entity. They are hurt and are likely to harbour seeds of vengeance.

Many Baganda are now saying that you have decided to destroy Buganda like Dr Milton Obote did before you, geographically by redrawing its boundaries and dismembering it.

President Museveni greets Kabaka Mutebi as Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga looks on

The feeling of independent Uganda enshrined in the message of the national anthem which sadly is today being sung as a ritual, transcends people’s hearts. The meddling in the affairs of Kyabazinga because of political interests; the Bafuruki debacle in Kibaale, Buliisa and in Tororo; the Balaalo conflicts in Buliisa and Kiboga; the suppressed now simmering quest for the restoration of Obugabe in Ankole and the ludicrous political districts being created will one day resurrect into social disharmony and marginalization.

Mr President, why should a leader constitutionally charged with responsibility of forging harmony and unity in diversity be so insensitive to such developments and, instead, compound the situation through unguarded language and deliberate vindictive actions?

Lastly Your Excellency, I am one of those who are and have been patriotic nationalists since the 1960s. In fact I dare claim before you that I am a more avowed nationalist than yourself, judging by your style of leadership, actions and utterances.

However, I submit to you that, I am also one of the avowed Baganda who are ardent supporters of our African heritage. Our diverse cultural norms and values which continue to evolve (not through suppression) in order to exist in tandem with the globalized cultural values are part of that African heritage.

Please Your Excellency, do not destroy the African cultural values that have through generations been enshrined in the Buganda kingdom, other kingdoms and cultural entities in Uganda.

They together constitute Uganda’s contribution to the African heritage and subsequently to the heritage of the human race. Your obligation is to create and nurture an environment which will encourage its evolution and eventual hand over to the next generation.

My last word on this issue; please for the sake of national unity and harmony, Your Excellency, reconsider your position on CBS, Kabaka and Buganda as a cultural entity. Do not destroy them.

Recourse to the provisions of the law will settle all your concerns. Finally, I extend my appreciation to Your Excellency for the gesture of visiting Moses Ssali (Bebe Cool) my son at Nsambya hospital where he was lying in agony after being shot by somebody wearing a police uniform. I believe the law will take its due course.


People’s Progressive Party.

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