Monday, October 5, 2009



By Allan Tacca
The Daily Monitor

There is something about the log in your eye and the speck in your neighbour’s that Jesus once referred to. Either they have forgotten the biblical reference, or some of our NRM legislators have not read the relevant passage.

If they had reaped some wisdom from the text, they would have pondered how ordinary Ugandans have endured their type for so long before discussing the possibility of abolishing Uganda’s tribal kings. We shall see why.

Being human, our kings sometimes make mistakes, even grave mistakes. In Bunyoro, for instance, the Omukama (king) is harbouring officials who often speak as if – after sorting out the Bafuruki – they would want to return to the pre-colonial age and do battle with Buganda to settle the question of Bunyoro’s supposed territory.

In Buganda, the Kabaka (king) and his officials are disturbing His Excellency the president of Uganda with demands for federal arrangements as the basis for local government, as if they do not understand that instead of ceding real authority to regional entities, the president would probably rather have some more power for himself.

Even an upstart masquerading as the Ssabanyala of a tiny minority in Kayunga District and a would-be king like the disputed Kyabazinga of Busoga have made the mistake of thinking that they are bigger than a standard pawn.

Of course, if the pretenders had not been believed to be in cahoots with Uganda’s ruling clique, their claims would have amounted to nothing much, but their mistakes have brought death, destruction, animosity and disrupted delicate inter-communal relationships among our people.

When former NRM stalwart and schemer, Jaberi Bidandi Ssali, warned the party leadership in 2005 that lifting presidential term limits could bring chaos, the president was said to have retorted that he (the president) could create chaos, implying that his power was so immense that he could even deliberately induce chaos, and use it as an ordinary political tool without fearing that the consequences would spin out of his control. I would like to believe that the cynicism was not real, that the president was simply enjoying a flash of dark humour that had visited him. So, the president and most of the citizens do not want chaos. Okay? Now, what do we do to reduce the chances of serious disorder in the future?

I have already sketched what is wrong with our kings, the real kings and the frauds. As for the president, his passion for power is only human; most people in his position would spit at “enemies” like the second-rate entertainer, Bono, who want him to go away. Being human, he and his subjects are better off when there are checks and restrictions on those who occupy the presidency.

Parliament was constitutionally entrusted with the role of checking the actions of the executive. But most of them (and they happen to be predominantly NRM members) have forgotten everything except their bellies.

You cannot count the number of times parliament has betrayed this nation, when the contempt for reason and for the citizen was openly displayed, unless you sit down for months, painstakingly examining the records of the NRM caucus, the parliamentary committees and the plenary. But the Shs5 million given to most NRM MPs in 2005 before lifting presidential term limits must be the highest point of treachery. So huge are the implications! We would not even have Gen. Museveni today playing hide and seek with the Kabaka of Buganda, or ordering his troops to shoot and maim demonstrators. There would be another president, perhaps bringing a new perspective to the power of the presidency.

For these acts of betrayal, one could lay out a case that instead of having our attention diverted to the powerless kings, we should abolish – or at the very minimum in 2011 vote out – all NRM members of parliament.