Friday, July 31, 2009



JULY 15, 2009

From President Yoweri Museveni
To Hon Beatrice Wabudeya, Minister of The Presidency
CC The Minister of Internal Affairs

RE: Guidance on Banyoro Bafuuriki question.

This is to guide you in the tasks you are to handle in the matter of the Banyoro-Bafuriki question in Bunyroro Region. You should, first of all, define the problem. What is the problem? The problem, obviously, is the modus vivendus between the Banyoro and the Bafuriki in terms of land, and political rights.

This is on top of the old problem of the British Colonialists and Mengo sub-imperialists that grabbed land from Banyoro and engaged in a genocide in the region, resulting into the depopulation of the area. This means, essentially, three elements in the problem.

●The land grabbed by the British colonialists and their Mengo-sub imperialists and turned into Mailo land.
●The land currently being occupied by the Bafuruki that was part of the former public land including the forest reserve, beyond the original settlements of Luteete (Rutete) and Kisiita that were promoted by the government without foreseeing the consequences; and
●The resultant threatened political marginalization of the indigenous groups of the area-The Banyoro, the Bagungu, the Bachope, the Baruuli, Banyara, and the Bahiima.

We, the NRM members, being nationalists and panafricanists, cannot undermine our vision and program by associating ourselves with the vulgarized versions of “national integration.”

Genuine national integration must include scrupulous respect of everybody’s rights to the land of their heritage, politics, and culture. To do otherwise, is, actually, to undermine our vision and program. It is to make the threatened groups resent or even resist, legitimately, our invaluable vision. In any situation, we should always ask ourselves “where is justice in this case?” The NRM must always fight of justice –for just causes. I am not, for instance, a monarchist. The area of Ankole, where I come from, is, obviously, thriving without a monarchy. Nevertheless, you remember that I spearheaded the restoration of monarchies in the parts of Uganda that wanted them. This was part of my nationalism and part of my panafricanism eventually.

Therefore, in the case of the Bunyoro Region, it is clear that the Banyoro are legitimately there because that is their origin. The Bafuuriki are also legitimately there because some were settled there by the central government, or, the Late Sir Tito Winyi while others have, subsequently, bought land from the original Bafuuriki, the Banyoro, or the absentee Mengo landlords. If the indigenous Banyoro had not been bled by colonialism and Mengo sub-imperialism, such an infusion of Bafuuriki would not have caused disequilibrium.

The Ankole-Mpororo area (Ankole, Rukungiri and Kanungu) is such an example. There, the Bafuuriki were settled in the amahamba (unoccupied wilderness) but the indigenous population remained in the core part of the area in large numbers. The Bafuuriki in such cases are, actually, an advantage for the areas. There can only be some minor problems like those affecting the Banyabutumbi a sub-group of the Banyakore Bahororo that used to live in Imaramagambo forest. The issues of such groups should also be addressed in a conscious way using administrative actions before they become radicalized.

The vulgarized version of integration goes like this: “We are Ugandans and we all have equal inherent rights in all parts of Uganda”-right to property, all political rights such as competing for political offices. That is correct as long as you ensure that in exercise of those inherent rights, you do not fundamentally damage the legitimate inherent rights of others- especially of those indigenous to the area. If that happens, the central government must come in to regulate the enjoyment of the inherent rights of the respective groups so that disequilibrium does not develop or become entrenched.

To throw more light on the incorrectness of the vulgarized version of integration, I would like to pose some few questions.
(i) If the Bafuuriki dominate political space in the area to which they migrated, where do the indigenous people of the area find another political space?

(ii) If the Bafuuriki were more nationalistic, why could they not find some person among the indigenous people and vote for them?

(iii) Can some people from indigenous groups successfully compete, politically in the areas of origin of the Bafuuriki? If not, is this not unequal relationship?

(iv) Suppose we were to infuse 100,000 Bafuuriki into Acholi or Karamoja, what would be the reaction? If the Acholis and Karamajongs were to react violently, would it mean that they are not Ugandan enough or would it be that the policy was wrong?

Horizontal rural migration by peasants after they have exhausted land in one area is not a progressive way of creating national integration. The more correct way is vertical migration, from the farm to the factory. That is why the factories should be detribalization centres through the use of Swahili on the work site.

Some people confuse normal individual migration with the mass insertion of big groups into an already enfeebled population on account of history. These are easy to distinguish from what we are talking about in Bunyoro. In 1955 the Banyankore (through their Ishengero) elected Hon. Kapa an immigrant from Rwanda as their first MP along with Hon. Katiti. This was positive and, besides, Kapa was a munyakorenised mufuuriki. He was, therefore, capable of defending the multidimentional interests of the Banyakore groups that is economic, political and cultural. Is this not different from a situation where two significant but different cultural groups are precipitately juxtaposed with each other? Is the situation in Bunyoro unique or otherwise?

Having thought about all this for a long time, I am proposing the following principles to be part of the solutions.
1. Ring-fencing the LC 5 positions in the whole of Bunyoro region for the indigenous people; and also ring-fencing the sub-county leadership in the whole of Bunyoro.

2. Ring-fencing the positions of Member of Parliament in the whole of Bunyoro region for the indeginous people except for the special constituencies created around Rutete (Lutete) and Kisita resettlement schemes. Number and two will in the spirit of article of 9 and article 10 of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda. They were also envisaged by article 32 of the constitution of Uganda which talked about affirmative action in favour of marginalized groups by reason of history or otherwise for the purpose of redressing imbalances that exist against them.

3. All the indigenous people that were on the Mailo land in 1964 should be granted ownership and the absentee landlords should leave the land. All the indeginous people that have been on public land should get titles ownership of that land. The Bafuuriki in the settlement schemes already have their land and should get titles if they do not have them. The Bafuuriki who bought land legally should have their rights recognized.

4. All the illegal encroachers in forest reserves should be evicted without compensation as the normadic cattle keepers of Buliisa are being settled in Buganda.

5. The towns and trading centre should be exempted from these affirmative action measures. They should be free for all Ugandans. This is the healthy integration. The totally integrated Uganda should have its nucleus in the urban centers, factories, the hotels, the shops, the real estate etc. in oreder to promote healthy integration, industrialization should be promoted to pull redundant population from rural areas to the urban areas. Here there should be no regulation beyond ensuring that the workers are Ugandans.

6. The indigenous people who get land should be prohibited from selling the land for 20years and also leasing it.

7. A program of sensitising the Banyoro and Bafuuriki should be promoted.

8. Government should have a special program for developing Bunyoro using money provided by the central government including the British funds.

9. Finally there should a sunset clause to terminate or cause a review of this policy after 20years.

All this is a consequence of the colonial policies also supported by the traditional chiefs like of Mengo in Uganda, of discouraging the use of Swahili as a national language. If the people of Bunyoro-the Banyoro or the Bafuuriki were using Swahili, their differences would be submerged. It is the use of vernacular that provokes, in part, these contradictions. I like the indeginous languages, in fact I am about to complete a dictionary in Runyakore-Rukiga. However, I see these vanaculars not as an end in themselves. I see them as a source of enriching Swahili. That is why NRM promotes Swahili. We included it in the constitution; we use it in the army etc.

The committee, should, therefore, look at the principles I have mentioned above and see them work. You should also identify any other problems that I have not identified and propose solutions. You should propose any solutions you feel are useful in the areas for which I have suggested solutions.

Yoweri K. Museveni.
Cc VP, PM,
All Members of Cabinet Subcommittee of Bunyoro Issues,
Head of Public Service,
P.Secretary Office of the President.

NB The letter was read over the radio.