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    Minister Mayanja: The Instruments Of Independence To Milton Obote Were A Crown Of Thorns…



    Kabaka Muteesa II (L) and Milton Obote (C). On the right is Minister Sam Mayanja

    On 8th October 1962, the then thirty seven year old Prime Minister of Uganda Apollo Milton Obote addressed the nation.

    He said, “Country men and friends, at mid-night tonight Uganda shall become independent, we shall have a Uganda flag, National Anthem and Coat of Arms. These will be our symbols, but independence does not begin and end with the selection and raising of a flag; singing of a National Anthem and the display of a Coat of Arms.”

    Milton Obote warned that independence would mean great responsibility for everyone in Uganda, and gave an assurance that his government was determined to fulfil its duties to the people.

    In his own words, Obote said, “our independence shall mean great responsibilities for all of us without exception. Collectively, we shall be responsible to safeguard our independence and to ensure peace and stability within our country. In addition, the government in whose name I now speak, offers you a firm determination to protect life and property and opportunities for your advancement.”

    Obote called upon all Ugandans to; “pass an irrevocable resolution marking our new status and guiding us into the future.”

    He urged Ugandans to; “add to that resolution that we are of Uganda and Uganda is ours”.

    Premier Obote further told the nation that it was vital to; “recognize and pay tribute to friends from inside and outside Uganda who have helped us on our way to independence. Let us remember the best we have received and now inherit from the British administrators.”

    He further pressed Ugandans to; “give the missionaries past and present a special praise for the light they brought and do still maintain.”

    He told the nation that he could not; “forget our men of commerce and industry and also our peasant farmers and the working men and women. Our ability to have a higher standard of living as in the past will depend on their success, security and happiness.”

    He ended his maiden address by praying to God to; “Give us and our country the will to safeguard our freedom and to serve our country in peace. I pray that He may give us reason and in reason we may seek and find; and may what  I have said tonight bind us into the community of hope who shall think and strive and toil in such patterns, that work of more noble worth may yet be done. All these and more; for God and my country;”

    Prime Minister Obote’s broadcast was heard by millions of listeners throughout the country, radio sets in towns and villages were tuned in to hear the message, which was greeted with applause in many places where large crowds had gathered around loud speakers.

    On 9th October itself, at Kololo Stadium, more than 50,000 people watched and applauded intricate and spectacular military tattoos, which culminated at midnight in the lowering of the Union Jack as the British National Anthem was played to signify the closing seconds of British rule.

    Then, as the Uganda Flag was picked out in a brilliant spotlight, the Uganda National Anthem was played as the vast crowds in the stadium stood in hushed and respectful silence.

    When Anthem was over, a spectacular firework display lit up the skies, and bonfires could be seen bursting into flame on hilltops, carrying the message of independence throughout the country.

    For many thousands of people, the celebrations continued throughout the night, and Kampala was crowded with people up to the early hours of next morning. Bars and restaurants saw record business gains as they struggled to cope with the unprecedented demand. It was a joyous salute to the birth of the new Uganda.

    On 10th October, 1962 Milton Obote told the nation that the independent state of Uganda was to be very different from the Uganda Protectorate; “in which we have lived for most of our lives”.

    He noted that he had no illusion to the problems; “that confront us”.

    Indeed the problems which confronted Milton Obote as a person and Uganda as a newly independent country were enormous. Uganda had qualified for independence for years, but Ugandans’ inability to come together to attain their common goal had delayed independence until the ninth of October 1962.

    There was the outstanding issue of the lost counties which were lost from Bunyoro to Buganda during the 1880’s when the Omukama of Bunyoro Kabalega lost the battle against a combined British and Buganda forces whereupon the disputed area was handed over to Buganda.

    With the coming of independence, Bunyoro’s demands for the return for the lost counties became insistent and determined.

    The noises of the Mengo Establishment were loud and clear; “there should never be a word about Buganda’s counties reverting to Bunyoro.”

    The Mengo Establishment even suggested that Buganda was prepared for war to protect the counties.

    Milton Obote had to get Buganda to compromise and differ any decision on the counties for at least two years and get this huddle out of the way so that Uganda could get her independence as one nation.

    Milton Obote had to do this since his new government was to rely on a UPC-Kabaka Yekka collusion where Baganda/Mutesa party (KY) was to control about one-fifth of Parliament and would not hesitate to throw UPC government out of office where Buganda’s interests were threatened.

    Apart from postponing the thorny issue of lost counties, for at least two years after independence, Buganda was extended full autonomy which meant that it was in federal relationship with the central Government where Buganda was like a sub-state, a state within the state of Uganda.

    This meant the Buganda Kingdom was to continue to exist and operate its administration in the same way it had done during the colonial period – a virtually independent Kingdom with all the entrenched privileges that it had enjoyed since the conclusion of the 1900 Buganda Agreement.

    In other words, Buganda entered the; “independence era” much as it had been before. The Kingdom’s constitution was annexed to the Uganda constitution.

    To the rest of Uganda, Obote’s compromise to Buganda was in effect a surrender of Uganda to Buganda.

    Members of Parliament of independent Uganda were in two categories; those from Buganda who were nominated by the Lukiiko (Kingdom Parliament) and the rest of the members including those from the other Kingdom areas who were directly elected by the people.

    This difference made the Buganda Members of Parliament delegates of their legislature rather than the representatives of the Buganda electorate and yet the Parliament of Uganda was basically that of a unitary state. Thus, Milton Obote took the reins of power of a Uganda which was neither a federal nor a unitary state.

    Milton Obote as a person had to bring this compromise in order to bring Buganda into an independent Uganda.

    He balanced his personal charm and nationalism to keep the newly independent nation together.

    A hardworking person who had a reputation for efficiency and a knack for negotiating tricky deals, Obote was confident he would hold the new nation together.

    He had a reputation of a brilliant debater, a fact which led to his election as a leader of the combined African representatives of the LEGCO from which his Uganda People’s Congress was born.

    Therefore the solution to holding Uganda together in this tricky independence compromise, lay primarily on Prime Minister Milton Obote’s skills as a negotiator.

    Unfortunately for Obote, the Kabaka Yekka was a Buganda Royalist party owned by Kabaka Muteesa II.

    Muteesa had never been a democrat. He had risen to power purely as a result of an accident of birth. His Buganda Kingdom had always agitated for a Buganda, independent from the rest of Uganda.

    Yet this was the man who held a fifth of the National assembly members, President of Uganda and commander-in-Chief of the Uganda Army.

    On the other hand, Uganda People’s Congress Party was not fully in Obote’s control. The Secretary General John Kakonge was leader of the radical wing of the party while another contender to the same position was the ambitious and razor intelligent Grace Ibingira who was a close friend of President Muteesa.

    In addition, the other members of Obote’s UPC party were individuals with defined regional political blocks behind them. Each of them believed that they were capable of being Prime Minister of Uganda.

    These were men like; Feliex Onama heading the West Nile group, Eric Otema Alimadi heading the Acholi, Cathbert Obongor heading the Teso, and W.W. Nadiope heading to Busoga.

    Milton Obote opted to build his own power base within the party by adding on his own royalist cycle in the party with defectors from Kabaka Yekka and the Democratic Party.

    However when the referendum in 1964 on lost counties went in favour of Bunyoro, the animosity of Buganda towards Milton Obote and UPC Government germinated and grew.

    The Baganda regretted that Buganda had failed to lead Uganda to Independence and that political power in the post-colonial state had shifted from people in the centre to peripheral ethnic groups that lacked the material and experience to lead.

    According to this view, an enlightened Muganda leader might have Bugandised Uganda the way Bismarck Prussianised Germany without using excessive force.

    Ironically this view was held by the same Baganda Mengo Establishment who had ditched their fellow Muganda Ben Kiwanuka in favour of Milton Obote.

    The regrets of Buganda not having had a Muganda to lead Uganda at independence and now the counties going to Bunyoro, the anti-Obote group in the UPC joining President Edward Muteesa who doubled as the Kabaka of Buganda, led to a staged coup against Prime Minister Milton Obote’s government.

    President, Edward Muteesa II, joined other anti-Obote groups and requested the government of the United Kingdom to supply them with guns so that they could fight and overthrow Milton Obote.

    Her Majesty declined the request and President Muteesa and his group turned to Gail and Roberts, a gun manufacturing company in the UK to supply them with arms.

    This firm also declined but through other means President Mutesa and his group managed to get hold of some guns and ammunition. It was purely military and Edward Muteesa of the rank of Maj. General was at the head of it.

    In addition to the military option, the group bent on overthrowing Prime Minister Milton Obote’s government and considered the alternative of getting rid of Milton Obote through a motion of no confidence in Parliament.

    Thus Dauid Ochieng, the Secretary General of Kabaka Yekka, an Acholi, and a boyhood friend of President Muteesa whose oratory was legendary, was chosen to present the motion to Parliament.

    In his speech Dauid Ochieng stated, “If I live a hundred years, or for a hundred hours only, this motion shall always be my greatest contribution to my country Uganda…..  Supremacy of the law, and the long arm of the law are the principles at stake. In accepting this motion we approve and endorse both……”.

    The motion was passed while Prime Minister Obote was on tour of Northern Uganda.

    On 12th February 1966, he returned to Kampala to face his critics. On the 22nd February, 1966 the Prime Minister and his advisers decided that the members of the cabinet who had been actively engaged in the plot to overthrow their own government should be arrested.

    Milton Obote moved very first and suspended the constitution. On March 2nd 1966 he abolished the offices of President and Vice President, and assumed all executive powers of state.

    It is said that Obote took this action, with reluctance and torment, and had suspended the Constitution, not because he loved it any less, but because he loved Uganda more. A new constitution -“the 1966 pigeon hole” constitution was passed by Parliament.

    With his co-plotters arrested Edward Muteesa was isolated. His only advisers at this critical time were Mengo men like Sebasitiyano Sebanakita (Ssaza chief of Buddu county), James Lutaaya (Ssaza chief of Singo) and Amos Ssempa (former Secretary of the Lukiiko and first Ugandan Minister of Finance in the UPC-KY administration), who although made good teammates at football pitch or hunting expeditions, they were men utterly useless when it came to advising on national issues.

    Using his position as President of Uganda, Edward Muteesa appealed to the Secretary General of the United Nations for intervention.

    The UN did not respond. With no help forth coming from UN, Edward Muteesa reverted to his position as Kabaka of Buganda and mobilised the Lukiiko’s support which passed a resolution that said; “this lukiiko resolves not to recognise at all the Uganda Government whose headquarters must be moved away from Buganda soil.”

    Obote’s government called this move “an act of rebellion”.

    Having passed these resolutions all of Buganda was incited for war.

    War drums were heard in many parts of Buganda. Roads were blocked or damaged.

    Law and order broke down. Wanton destruction and damage of government property followed.

    Chaos and anarchy were let loose. Lawlessness was the order of the day.

    Obote’s government would not tolerate this state of affairs. The rebellion had to be quelled.

    Army intelligence indicated that Edward Muteesa had stock piled weapons in the Lubiri and moved to the palace. The palace guards opened fire and the Uganda army unit was virtually wiped out in the exchange of fire that followed.

    Milton Obote ordered Col. Idi Amin to take command of quelling the rebellion. Under Idi Amin’s direction, the army surrounded the palace and after a lengthy spasmodic exchange of fire, the palace was captured. Edward Muteesa escaped undetected by jumping over the wall of the palace and eventually found his way to the United Kingdom were he settled and later died, a poor and broken man.

    These events in a way led to the advent of Idi Amin whose quelling of the Mengo rebellion led to his promotion to full commander of the Uganda Army and to the rank of Maj. General.

    On 25th January 1971 the Maj. General overthrew the government of Milton Obote and established a military regime which was itself overthrown by a combined Uganda rebels-Tanzanian Army in 1979.

    Short lived regimes of Yusuf Lule, Binaisa, and Muwanga followed before Milton Obote bounced back to power in 1980, only to be overthrown for a second time by the Army commander Gen. Tito Okello.

    Prior to that event, Milton Obote had on 24th December 1984, at the occasion of Christmas carols presentation at State house Entebbe, announced what was to be his greatest decision in life-to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and saviour, regretting only that he had done this belatedly “in the evening of my life”.

    It was only on 26th January 1986 that a fundamental change was ushered on the Uganda political scene of Uganda when the National Resistance Movement under the leadership of Yoweri Kaguta Museveni took the reins of power.

    It is this fundamental change which has created an environment where Ugandans are truly bound together into the community of hope where they are able to “think and strive and toil in such patterns that work of more noble worth”, is finally being done.

    The writer, Dr. Sam Mayanja is the Minister of State for Lands;



    Lawyers Alaka, Mukasa Mbidde, Ochieng Listed Among Top Lawyers Likely To Face Arrest Over Balondemu’s Forged Medical Letter…



    Embattled Kampala District Land Board chairperson David Balondemu (L) and lawyers Alaka (Top R) and Mbidde (bottom R)

    The mighty Grapevine has exclusively learnt that very soon, some top city lawyers are likely to face arrest over Kampala District Land Board chairperson David Balondemu’s alleged forged medical letters.

    Highly placed sources at police’s Directorate of Criminal Investigation(CID) have revealed that last week, Jackson Tweheyo on behalf of Maj. Dr. Tom Magambo the CID Director summoned lawyers Caleb Alaka, Evans Ochieng, Hassan Kamba, Fred Mukasa Mbidde, Robert Bautu to appear before the State House Anti-Corruption Unity to record statements on allegation of forging a medical letter.

    The lawyers were supposed to appear before the Department of Economic Fraud and Anti-Corruption on 28th of November 2023 but they all snubbed the summons.

    However, when contacted, lawyer Alaka rubbished the allegation of face arrest explaining that he personally hasn’t yet been summoned but his friend Bautu told him that he was summoned to appear before State House Anti-Corruption Unit.

    Counsel Alaka, a Criminal law giant explained that the State House Anti-Corruption Unit under the command of Brig. Gen. Henry Isoke doesn’t have powers to summon a lawyer on grounds of offences committed by his client.

    “They are not serious, Advocates are Officers of Court. We are just helping court to deliver justice. For us we just represent clients. They are the ones who give us documents including local council letters. So, we are not the ones authorising those documents,” Alaka noted.

    theGrapevine has learnt that lawyer Bautu wrote to State House Anti-Corruption Department explaining why they will not appear to record the said statements.

    He noted that they have the privilege to present the documents given to them by their client to a judicial officer and thus are not answerable for those documents.

    Buganda Road State Attorney Ivan Kyazze brought to the attention of the presiding magistrate in Balondemu’s bail application Winnie Nankya that the accused person with the help of his lawyers forged medical letters from Kampala Hospital.

    He presented the affidavit of Dr. Peter Kibuka the Kampala Hospital Chief Executive Officer denying the said letter noting that it was not authored from his hospital.

    The letter presented by lawyers indicated that Balondemu, who is battling multibillion fraud cases was supposed to have a surgical operations in the very week the application came before the magistrate.

    Highly placed sources at State House Anti-Corruption Unit told theGrapevine that the detectives were set to arrest the said lawyers last week but all of them run into hiding.

    The said lawyers were added on the list of over 50 city lawyers who are under investigation on allegations of abetting fraud and corruption.

    Among the lawyers who is set to be arrested before Christmas is one working with Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) who issued a bribe of Shs70m to a top politician at City Hall to be given a juicy job.

    State alleges that Balondemu, Erick Geoffrey Mkwe, Joseph Ibona  together with others still at large fraudulently obtain Shs2.2bn from the American company KG Unlimited under the guise of awarding them a contract of supplying agricultural drone sprayers and fertilizers in the Ministry of Agriculture.

    Sources at the State House Anti-Corruption Unit said that Balodemu has two already sanctioned criminal files by Justice Jane Frances Abodo the Director Public Prosecution and 15 other files have not yet been sanctioned even though investigations are done.


    By Sengooba Alirabaki


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    High Level Lobbying Kicks Off For UNRA’s Kagina To Replace Gen. Katumba In Ministry of Works As M7 Finalises New Cabinet That Will Sail Him Through 2026 Elections…



    UNRA's Allen Kagina and President Museveni

    For fear of losing workaholic Allen Kagina the Executive Director of the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) in the ongoing process of merging government agencies as a mechanism to cut government expenditure, a number of lobbyists including politicians from both the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the opposition are persuading the appointing authority to appoint her a minister.

    According to a recent cabinet brief, UNRA is set to be taken back to the Ministry of Works and Transport which means that Kagina has to compete with other candidates to head a department in the ministry and her powers will be reduced because she will no longer be the final decision maker on road construction matters.

    Maverick Kira Municipality legislator, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said that if such a move to merge government agencies is executed, it will be a disservice to the public because UNRA, being an independent body has been making constructive decisions which have benefited the public.

    Ssemujju noted that if UNRA is taken back to the Ministry of Works and Transport, he will be among those who will lobby and pray that Kagina is appointed a minister so that she remains the final decision maker.

    “For me I like that woman, not because she has helped construct and rehabilitate roads in my constituency but because she is not corrupt. Many people in Museveni’s government are very corrupt, their names are on the corruption wall of fame but for Kagina, No. I speak this with authority because as a Member of Parliament I’ve sat on several accountability committees including chairing COSASE but Kagina’s name was never cited in any corruption scandal, which is not easy when you are working in Museveni’s government,” Ssemujju said.

    He added, “And when you enter her office asking for construction of your road, she doesn’t make phone calls to receive orders from above, she makes her decision there and then. We need such people because she is close to Museveni’s family.”

    Highly placed sources in the corridors of power confirmed to theGrapevine that President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is likely to reshuffle his cabinet during Christmas holidays.

    Sources disclosed that a number of people have been recommending Kagina for the position of Works and Transport minister.

    We have been told that Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala the current Minister for Works and Transport is set to be transferred to the Prime Minister’s Office to help the president clean that docket which has been named one of the most corrupt.

    Sources said that when Gen. Katumba went to the works ministry, he started a cleaning process and a number of untouchables were put to order.

    Sources revealed that in the Prime Minister’s Office, there are many untouchables especially in the office of the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness, and Refugees.

    When the current Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja tried to expose them, she was character assassinated and humiliated to the extent that the appointing authority started asking questions.

    Senior presidential advisor on media and also a seasoned social, political and economic commentator Joseph Tamale Mirundi recently disclosed that in the coming reshuffle, the president is going to appoint a team of ministers who will help him sail through the 2026 general elections.

    Mirundi explained that the President’s immediate opponent Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine) of the National Unity Platform (NUP) is trying to portray his government as one full of human rights violators and they plan to use these accusations as a weapon during the 2026 campaigns.

    He noted that a number of ministers are living in fear of being fired in the next reshuffle.

    “Now all of them are running to get photos with Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba. Many of them have been fighting the MK Movement but they now want him to appoint them to organizing committees of barazas which are going to take place in their constituencies,” Mirundi said.

    He added that Gen. Muhoozi is going to be a strong factor in deciding who to appear on the list of incoming ministers.

    He was supported by shadow finance minister Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi who said that in the coming reshuffle, Museveni is going to appoint more youths in his cabinet as a way of countering Bobi Wine.

    The Butambala county legislator gave the example of Ruth Katushabe the former Bukomansimbi legislator and also the Senior Presidential Advisor on Political Affairs who was assigned by Museveni to make sure that most of the students in Secondary and University vote for him come 2026.

    Kivumbi claimed that Katushabe has been moving school to school, university to university campaigning for Museveni and before her appearance at any learning institution, the heads first receive commands from above to allow her to talk to students.

    Kivumbi however boasted that NUP and Bobi Wine are also campaigning clandestinely in schools.

    Sources in the corridors of power told theGrapevine that among the ministers who are likely not to comeback are Amos Lugolobi the state minister for finance in charge of planning, Agnes Nandutu the state minister for Karamoja affairs and her boss Marry Gorreti Kituntu who are currently battling with corruption charges at the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court.

    Others are; Moses Ali the Second Prime minister, Anifa Kawooya the state minister for health,  James Magode Ikuya the state minister for East African affairs who sources claim are going to be fired on health grounds.

    Sources divulged that Gen. Edward Kale Kayihura the former Inspector General of Police is likely to be appointed a senior Minister of Internal Affairs, Lillian Aber the women’s representative for Kitgum District is set to be appointed a state minister in the Ministry of Labour, Otuke Member of Parliament Paul Omara is set to take over Lugolobi’s office, Kagoma North Constituency legislator Brandon Kintu who is also the NRM parliamentary caucus spokesperson will be taken to the Ministry of Information and National Guidance.

    Dr. Chris Baryomunsi is likely to be taken to the ministry of health and chances are high that Nabanja is going to retain her position as the country’s prime minister.


    By Sengooba Alirabaki


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    Why NUP Want Dead Body Of Bobi Wine’s Bodyguard Exhumed; Mpuuga Set To Make More Demands…



    Bobi Wine (R) with the late Ssenteza (L)

    The Opposition in Parliament lead by the Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LOP) Mathias Mpuuga Nsamba on Tuesday are set to task Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire the Internal Affairs senior minister to give a detailed report concerning the circumstances that caused the death of Francis Kalibbala Ssenteza the former bodyguard to National Unity Platform (NUP) Principal Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine).

    Shadow Finance minister and also Butambala County legislator Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi told theGrapevine that they were not convinced with Gen. Otafiire’s report and they are going to give the country a response through Mpuuga on the floor of Parliament.

    Kivumbi said that among the issues they want explained is the way Ssenteza was killed in a motor accident because Gen. Otafiire’s report claims that he was knocked by Bobi Wine’s Toyota Hiace which he used during the 2021 presidential campaigns.

    He narrated that Gen. Otafiire who signed the Statement, even though it was read by his State Minister Gen. David Muhoozi confirmed that at the scene of crime, there was a military vehicle.

    He added that government intentionally refused to carry out a postmortem report on Ssenteza’s dead body because they feared that it would reveal the cause of his death.

    “He stated that NUP supporters run away with the dead body and it is the reason they gave why they didn’t make a postmortem report but all of us know very well that the State has the capacity to exhume a body and carry out an autopsy because we cannot allow a person to die in such circumstances not subject his body to a postmortem,” Kivumbi said.

    Ssenteza, who was a carpenter at Mulago ku Biiri along Bombo road was knocked dead at Busega roundabout and buried in December of 2020 at his ancestral home in Masaka district.

    Kivumbi added that another explanation they want from Otafire is the circumstances under which Bobi Wine supporter Ritah Nabukenya died in a motor accident.

    He said that Otafire confirmed that Nabukenya was knocked by a speeding police patrol at Nakawa a Kampala city suburb and the driver of the patrol was arrested but the Director for Public Prosecution (DPP) Justice Jane Frances Abodo declined to sanction the file on grounds that it did not have supporting evidence.

    He insisted that the evidence was there but the file was not sanctioned on political grounds.

    However when contacted, Gen. Otafiire boasted that he is ready to face Mpuuga in parliament and he will answer all his questions on the floor of parliament because he will be there himself, not his junior minister.

    Highly placed sources in the LOP’s office told theGrapevine that immediately after Mpuuga makes his response, he will table fresh demands.

    They will include demands for an explanation on the arrest and humiliation of Muslim clerics and the issue of Balalo in northern Uganda particularly in Acholi.

    But Otafiire said that once the new demands are raised, he will ask the presiding speaker to give him more time to investigate the allegation and report back as he did with the first demands.


    By Hadijja Namagembe


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