Permission to go to the bush, Mr. President

It is said that the Church Missionary Society (Wangereza/Protestants) once plotted to steal some, if not all of Buganda’s land. Unsuspecting of this plot, Mwanga was to sign an agreement which was to mean one thing to him and another to the Wangereza.

The White Fathers (Wafaransa/Catholics) learnt of the plot and implored Mwanga not to sign anything or anywhere. Not even ‘practice’ signing in dirt.

On the fateful day, the Wangereza in their sophisticated cloaks (certainly) didn’t wait for the cock to crow before heading to Mwanga’s palace. One bitty scribbling from Mwanga and the land of the Waganda would be in their control. They knew so.

After exchanging camouflaged pleasantries the time came for the agreement to be signed. Mwanga must have looked at the fools and said;

‘Hehehe. I am laughing at you.’

And the Wangereza perhaps stunned must have said;

‘But why?’

Those filled with the hope of going to heaven will find out from the Wangereza how embarrassing that must have been for them. While the rest of us will have one last giggle at the expense of the cunning red-faced Wangereza with Mwanga, somewhere in hell.

Mwanga rewarded the goodwill of the Wafaransa with tracts and tracts of land. After which madness ensued. All three sects went cabbages vying for political and territorial control of Buganda. In detail;

‘Everybody needed a gun. So everybody got a gun’

As a result, Christians were chased out of Buganda with their coats barely through their arms. Before they could stop to catch their breath, they were in Buddu. Mwanga escaped to Bulingugwe-Ssese Islands and stayed there for a while.

In the meantime Muslims circumcised Mwanga’s brother Kalema and made him king before Christians regrouped to send him and Muslims packing. For this lot, they were far deep in Bunyoro territories before they could finally untuck their tunics from their waist belts or whatever. And Mwanga was king again.

This punch for punch. Load/fire/flip the gun. Bullet for bullet warfare/carried on until Captain Lugard came onto the scene.

Captain Lugard had a toy. A maxim gun. The maxim gun had a blessing of firepower that could make bulls produce milk without preamble. Protestants drooled over this toy.

Against this gun, Catholics and Muslims had no chance of regaining control over Buganda. There has to be a reason why during the sharing of the counties the Wangereza banished Catholics to Buddu saying and here’s the quote;

“You go and live in Buddu. We don’t want to associate with you again.”

Around this time, word about an advancing bunch of the Germans reached these wretches. Lugard must have known the Germans to be bloodier! And that these petty land thieves were feeble in comparison.

So Lugard must have told them that; ‘look here you bastards. The bloody Germans are coming. If they reach Busoga, you’ll count your selves lucky if you wake up alive. So, settle your issues.’

The fear of Germans must have served in favor of the redistribution of counties among the three denominations. This time round in a one for you, one for me fashion to quell any possibility of any sect teaming up with Germans.

Truth be told, the Germans were bloodier. Talk to Tanzanians.

But of course the devil still had more tricks up his sleeve. There was to be more chaos. And Mwanga got exiled to Seychelles this time round.

According to what is written, the British never intended to colonize Uganda. Yet when they did, in droves, Waganda upped and left to escape forced labor and paying a hut tax. Some set their huts on fire by way of giving tax collectors the middle finger.

‘Tax the ashes, bastards!’ they must have shrugged.

Now while British rule was accidental, a man could not hold onto a dozen wives and get baptized. Many an extra wife lost to God in this quest for the hope of inheriting the Kingdom of God was too good an opportunity to pass up. Besides, plagues, wars and greed, all pointed to the nearness of the end of the world. Therefore these poor men had to leave their wives if for nothing else, to save their lives.

Of course some gallant men were like;

‘We have seen the face of God. In our wives.Woe, foe or the Virgin Mary! Heaven be dammed!’

And this group held onto their countless wives. And their wives held onto them. Neither mocking songs e.g; Mukasho Mukasho taba nyoko nor the wrath of hell could sway their strutting.

Those left behind and some lucky to remain married took up cotton farming and became independent. Scarily independent. Marking the genesis of domestic tension in many households.

From one corner of a village, you’d hear the children of chiefs learning their ABCs. In another corner men were squealing, biting off the ears of their wives over remittances from cotton sale.

Other times because the wives were too busy with cotton farming there was no time for any kind of ‘nonsense.’

These men turned to the Buganda lukiiko. Imploring chiefs to make it illegal for women to own land. No intervention came. Then they wrote to the King of England. No reprieve. Monkeys were rolling in dirt consumed in fits of laughter.

1960-something. The British pack their bags/Independence/tick-tock tick-tock tick-tock/chaos/ chaos/progress/blink and it’s chaos/progress/chaos/1986/chaos/chaos/chaos.

Up until that point socialism was working. Men and women were working in ways they could. And then the devil showed himself in Adam Smith’s writings that dictated that no! The wealth of nations belonged to a chosen few. Cooperative unions and the public sector were out. Privatization and grand thefts were in.

The privatization rhetoric was not so sleek so those who had to listen to it had questions. Someone raised a hand. To ask the question below;

‘Ideology this, ism ism ism; we don’t want to know. Explain to us this; a man shut down our factories. You are privatizing the national bank, the diary cooperation is going for a dollar. Are we to cook and eat your behind?’

Now in the same breath that the hand meant to ask the question above went up, it got shot down with this answer;

‘We didn’t come prepared to entertain questions.’

Along came freebies. Cooking oil aid. Sexual politics aid. Mosquito nets aid. HIV/AIDS aid. Below par free universal education. Per diem. Brown envelopes. Contemptible sized condoms. F**K U emblazoned T-shirts and; futuristic state of art orphanages.

Whoever couldn’t make a living from the assortment above had to work. For if some were making it, everybody had to find a way to make it if they were to send their children to good schools. Pay bribes. Buy waragi. Afford sexual intercourse and; ergo ego, preorder tailor made suits and or socks from Katwe and Kiyembe.

Beyond 1986 the meaning and quality of education, a monthly wage, peace, progress and the prosperity for all (hogwash) varies from one town crier to another. In other cases, change makes as much sense as the price of a T-shirt a peasant wears on Election Day.

Opportunity now means;–– lucrative domestic work in outside countries.

Suddenly the old mandate of security agencies from the ‘swine years’ is unveiled like a number on a scratch and win lottery ticket.

Police officers have one role to play, tear gas and shoot. Shoot to kill, and or undress anyone who says; ‘but there is no medicine in our hospitals. But the roads…but corruption…our land is being grabbed by foreign and local mafias!’

Everybody gets doused in teargas. Just to cool them down.

And that is why the monkeys in the forests once again can’t help but laugh at those who aspire to become the next president of the Banana Republic.

Presidential dreams! Who gives you the right? What experience have you got?

As the consultations phase (that for some remains a virtual experience) comes to a close, as the campaigns phase draws closer, it is clear, those lucky enough to get to the polling stations come 2016 might cast their votes between sobs and hiccups.

We have a Police force, we have the Military Police, we have an Army that is by the way doing a great job quelling terrorists in Somalia, but wait; we need Crime Preventers too. God help the child if the trillion modern artillery budget is approved by the honorable bunch. And then it will be a bloody wedding.

Suffice to say there is going to be teargas. A lot of it. If it doesn’t knock you out, gunfire should. If a bullet doesn’t get you, don’t. play. dead. Twenty, thirty something young men and women in brand new NRM t-shirts have been reserved to give your behind a good licking with mortar like canes. And those licks will make many call out to their mothers.

If only the Pope’s visit was scheduled for next year. In the middle of the elections. Perhaps then, the plaster saintly face many a brute flashes before a guest saying everything is okay could be put to a grand test.

If only all who have been left ‘weary and heavy-laden’ cry out to the Pope saying; ‘take our yoke’ son of God. ‘Take this yoke from us.’

And if in that moment luck turned out to be a prayer and God listened and said;

‘I must end this nonsense.’

Trust the next chicken scratch it will be war. And it won’t matter whether God is watching or not.

Now, the first thing everybody needs to know about war, about gunfire is; you hear a bullet. You take cover.

Perhaps the time is nigh for a dare. After all that we have been witness to and the bleak future at hand, this is the point at which a tiny hand goes up to ask God this question;

‘Excuse me, sir, omusajja akubika?’

This dissertation “When the miles came; Land and social order in Buganda 1850-1928.” 1997 by Holly Elizabeth Hanson refreshed the writer’s memory regarding her High school History lessons.


  • Sam Mucunguzi

    eye omusajja akubika, naye akubwa ani

    • Kiwewesi

      byakufumba mutwe ndowoza. Ssejusa oyo, ne Besigye bebasinga okubitegeera.