Prof. Karusoke, head of NRM’s Kyankwanzi National Leadership Institute, came up with the conclusion, at the recently held non-partisan conference at Fairway Hotel, that all ancient kings of Africa, were equally stupid. He singled out Buganda kings asserting they signed a treaty that would eventually sell their sovereignty to the white man.
Unfortunately, these are just opinionated, sweeping statements-generalizations. Much more would be expected from an academic with the assumed expertise in the fields of political science and philosophy. We would be enriched and motivated by deep philosophical thought supported by well researched historical facts.
His statements lack the nuanced arguments of a seasoned intellectual and are laced with caustic, aggressive language with his trademark words-stupid, crook, lunatic, vampire, jackal, biological substances, bedbugs, et al.
His language and tone portray him as populist, polarizing, and as an instigator and a sensationalist (this does not necessarily conclude he is). The approach obscures whatever good points he could have made and he alienates any meaningful audience. Carl Marx, who he venerates and professes to, made his arguments with sound and persuasive reason, and would roll in his grave on hearing (Prof. Karusoke) his die hard follower’s presentations.
His assertions are an insult to our predecessors who had to suffer the onslaught of the Western invasion of Africa with war, and loss of dignity, life and sovereignty.
He also effectively insults the Aborigines of Australia, the Indian Americans, and the Indians of the subcontinent who lost their dignity, lives, and land to the invading whites.
None of the above societies wanted to lose their land and sovereignty, but they were inevitably overwhelmed by the white man’s fire power-the Maxim machine gun that mowed them down mercilessly.
The fate of those who collaborated or resisted was the same in the end-conquest by the white man. The American Indians, the Nubians, the Zulu all put up spirited resistance, but were still brutally vanquished with heavy losses of life.
In our present day we have vivid lessons of the consequences of imprudently working against the West-Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya to mention but a few.
In his narration, Prof. Karusoke clearly states that the infant King Chwa had to have his regents, Kaggwa, Kisingiri, and Mugwanya, sign the 1900 Buganda Agreement on his behalf because of his minority age. This implies he had no meaningful or authoritative say on the terms of the agreement. As king, Chwa was therefore not responsible and not stupid about something he had no hand in.
He also states that the other kings, Kabalega of Bunyoro and Mwanga of Buganda, were [callously] exiled by the British. There’s no doubt they were not willing to work with or support the coloniser’s schemes and were gotten rid of, or is that what makes them stupid to him?
We also know that later on the heir to Kabaka Chwa, Kabaka Sir Edward Mutesa, suffered the same forced exile to England, when he was not forthcoming to the wishes of the mighty British.
The Daily Monitor is quoted that Buganda’s land area [at the time] was 19,000 square miles. The 1900 Buganda Agreement is said to have apportioned 9,000 square miles to the Buganda government; and the rest, 10,000 square miles, went to the Crown/British colonial government and the landed gentry (favored Baganda owners of huge swaths of private land).
In the article, Sabiti Mutengesa is quoted as clearly, rightly, proudly and conclusively arguing that the the booty that had gone to the colonial government, under the agreement, had to go to/default to the Uganda government, when the British handed over the reins after independence.
Unfortunately, in his excitement and glee to shame and eviscerate the Buganda Kingdom, while ridiculing it, he stumbles and trips on his own faulty line of argument.
Logically and mathematically, the 9,000 square miles the Buganda government is demanding for is not a part of the remaining 10,000 square miles spoil that went to the colonial government and the landed gentry/Bataka. The 9,000 square miles (mailo akende) did not fall under the colonial government custody-to repeat myself.
Further still, the Buganda Kingdom was not custodian to the portion of land (part of the 10,000 left after subtracting the ‘mailo akenda’) that was forcefully, ‘white-collar’ grabbed by the British through the 1900 Buganda Agreement.
Sorry, wrong deduction by Mutengesa: it’s this land that he erroneously and rashly deduces as what the Buganda Kingdom government is demanding for, when he concludes that ” In essence, Buganda was being a custodian of it’s partners booty and that remains the case.” Buganda is demanding for what it was apportioned by the agreement not what went to the colonial government.
In his presentation, Prof. Karusoke asserts that the West is marauding, looting, and plundering weaker states and dominating the Middle East. So, how different is that scenario from the one a century ago with the African kings? He’s quoted as saying that U.S. involvement in Uganda makes us a pawn between Islam and the U.S. So, why are we accepting to be used and does that suggest all our African leaders today are stupid as he surmises about their predecessors, the kings?
Uganda’s cultures have had some of them practicing communal land ownership, especially the pastoralists, while the sedentary farmers have tended to lean to family/individual land ownership. It’s not true that the whole of Uganda only practices the communal type of ownership.
The £300 of the year 1900, for example, that’s referred to in the article as remuneration to some kingdom officials would be equivalent to over £10,000 in today’s British Pound.
One wonders whether the NRM is getting its money’s worth from Prof. Karusoke and whether the cadres are getting the right guidance to make the NRM a more viable force and invaluable future leaders of Uganda? His style of argument is worrying, unenviable, and unsophisticated making it seem to lack its intended purpose of creating much needed leaders with knowledge, character, and versatility to deal with complicated national and international issues. His sweeping generalisations do not pass academic muster. He should leave those to the likes of Ofwono Opondo and Tamale Mirundi.
On the contrary, he may be having an agenda thus making us naive to question his approach. If not, he may be lacking of character and more so full of information other than knowledge, wisdom, and reason. One would not want his professorship to fall victim to some of the local, street boy jokes!
Opinion by Fred Sekiwano