Uganda’s vice president, Dr. Gilbert Bukenya has told Mengo to forget about the Federo, which they are agitating for. Bukenya is supposed to have made these statements in an interview that is published in government owned and controlled Sunday Vision of September 6, 2009. Bukenya was echoing the statement made byPpresident Museveni, during a July 12, 2009 public debate On WBS TV, where he (Museveni) declared: “I can never allow Federo for Buganda”.
August 16, 2009 Bukenya attended the Coronation Anniversary celebrations in Lubiri where Omutaka Nakirembeka chided the vice president and other Baganda members of the NRM government for parroting their anti-Buganda bosses. Kabaka Mutebi , in what appeared to be a veiled reference to Museveni’s TV declaration, made clear that Buganda would not tolerate any more double-talk on Federo. The Kabaka said: “When we hear some people saying that they don’t know what Federo means, I think they have failed to understand what we mean. You should reply to them that Federo is all about justice and truth, and this is what we demand.”
On his part, Bukenya told Kabaka Mutebi and the tens of thousands of Baganda present that: ”Buganda’s Federo concerns are genuine and we need to talk about them seriously. I will make sure to recommend to the appropriate authorities that they be handled.” Apparently Bukenya chose the newspaper interview format to inform Kabaka Mutebi and his subjects to forget Federo, only saying, “We are giving them a regional government.”
Below is what Bukenya told Moses Mulondo of the New Vision in response to a question on Federo. According to our sources in Ugandan media, Bukenya and Uganda state house were involved in composing both the question and the answer . Moreover, Bukenya’s answer was first shown to the Uganda state house, by Robert Kabushenga, before publication. Therefore, all the vagueness (kavuyo) it contains is intentional.
Question: Do you think Buganda’s demands on federalism are genuine?
Answer: Lets first of all make this very clear. Long time ago when the Europeans came to the centre of Africa here, there was an absolute monarchy. All the power and the leadership was enthroned in the king of that kingdom. He would even order for the killing of a person if he wanted. When the British came in they started taking away power from the king and giving it to the chiefs.
That was the beginning of process of reducing absolute monarchism. By 1950 monarchism was beginning to die out because the colonialists had introduced elections. Once they introduced the system of one man one vote, democracy began to take over from the monarchy. Today you would be wasting time or dreaming if you thought of going back to the absolute federalism of the monarchy we used to have before the colonialists
But the Buganda kingdom is not demanding for the federalism it had before colonialism, rather, it is demanding for the federalism it got in 1962 after we had acquired independence
But the 1962 federalism is what we are giving them. We are giving them a regional government. They told you to manage many things; I do not know what they were told to manage in 1962. However, I want this to be re-emphasised for it seems to be our major disagreement. In a democratic arrangement you cannot expect that there will ever be a leader of a government without their being voted for by the population. It’s not possible.
That is why we have been saying, ‘why we don’t dissolve some power by creating regional governments whose leaders will be voted for by the people?’ The central government can give some power and you can call that federalism. But the previous federalism of an absolute monarchy is gone forever.