Friday, July 3, 2009 SEARCH Go to archive Sunday Monitor News Op-Ed Business & Technology Letters Sunday Sport Insights Inside Politics Political Grapevine Sunday Life Saggy's Crazy World Rainbow Monitor Daily News Regional Special Business Opinions Letters Sport SMS Feedback M2: People, Places M2: Features Monitor Weekly Health & Living Big Brother Africa Columnists Business Power Personal Finance Smart Money Sqoop Full Woman NiE Score Jobs & Career M2: Hanging Out Victims of Gun Rule Special Projects -- Select -- Special Projects Where is Uganda Going Bush War Memories Rwanda's Economy Idi Amin profile Other Projects Government White Paper Insights | December 23, 2007 Bugweri no longer at ease Dr Nkutu Kirunda THE storm of Bugweri is now settled, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) are each trying to read much into their fortunes. I was hesitant to comment on the elections and the outcome but cannot hold down my pen because of the many distortions that are peddled by opportunists who are not telling it straight. For the start, there is no winner in all this, only losers because both Hon. Abdu Katuntu and 3rd deputy premier Kirunda Kivejinja belong to the same house and personal disagreements coupled with differences in a generational view of politics became fortified positions causing acrimony and violence fuelled by opportunists. This has left Bugweri divided and though, there are short term gains, eventually the loser is Bugweri. To understand Bugweri, you have to understand its history. Bugweri is at the centre of the politics of Busoga. It is one of the eleven principalities that make up Busoga. It was founded by a Munyoro prince, Kakaire, son of Agutamba Nyamutukura; the Omukama of Bunyoro. He arrived in Bugweri in the late 14th century and established a breakaway dynasty called Menha, literally meaning breakaway from Bunyoro. The Menha dynasty provided eleven hereditary paramount kings till the advent of colonialism that abolished the chieftain in 1896. The last king of Bugweri was Menha Munulo, who as a young impressionable boy was courted by the Arabs and converted to Islam, much to the dissatisfaction of his uncle and guardian, Muwaabe, the head of the Bugweri Supreme Council and brother to his late father. He was forced to abdicate the throne by the Supreme Council because as the king he could not spill blood and yet as Muslim, he had been circumcised. Munuulo took on the Islamic name of Ibrahim and chose to rather abdicate the throne than renounce Islam. As a Muslim, he wanted to buried facing Mecca and not Bunyoro as the tradition demanded. This act of defiance of tradition and the fact that he chose Islam rather than his throne made him a hero in the eyes of many of his young subjects who also converted to Islam. This explains why Bugweri is largely Muslim. One of Muwaabe’s sons; Salim Kiveiyindha also became a Muslim and established a Koran school in Bugweri. When Captain Lugard recruited his conquering army that galvanised the colony, Uganda, the bulk of his army was Nubian from Sudan, who were also Muslim. This army revolted in the famous Sudanese mutiny in 1869 at Bukalebba, Busoga on the shores of Lake Victoria and beheaded two British officers including Captain Chivatt. They assumed control of Lugard’s tactical headquarters and established contact with Menha Munnulo, who incidentally was Muslim. On realising that Munnulo was in fact a prince and Muslim like themselves, they promised to make him the overall king of Busoga, something that excited the young prince. The Sudanese army accompanied him back to Bugweri and proclaimed him King of Busoga. The gains of course were short-lived because, Lugard’s regiments from Buganda crushed the mutiny, and Munulo was captured, exiled to Kenya, where he met his death. The burden of Bugweri was left with Muwaabe who reconstituted the Supreme Council and chose one of the young princes to work with the colonial government on behalf of Bugweri. That prince was Zirabamuzaale, father of Beatrice Zirabamuzaale, the woman MP of Iganga. He subsequently became Secretary General of Busoga and one of three first Africans in Legco along with Apollo Kaggwa of Buganda and Nyangabyanki of Bunyoro. He used his position to promote education in Bugweri and along with Muwaabe, drew a master plan that encouraged outstanding children in Bugweri to take part in the politics of Uganda. As head of the royal clan, Muwaabe decreed that his successor as traditional head of Bugweri should not necessarily be his son, but the most outstanding son of Bugweri in the politics of Uganda. Muwaabe died in 1941 and the reins as head of Bugweri fell on Zirabamuzaale and not his son Salim Kiveiyindha, father of Kirunda Kivejinja. The result of this political master plan produced Shaban Nkutu, cabinet minister in Obote 1, who converted the whole of Bugweri to the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) when he became National Chairman of UPC. When the UPC regime fell in 1971, Nkutu met his death at the hands of Idi Amin despite frantic efforts to save his life by Wanume Kibedi, another son of Bugweri, who was serving Amin as foreign minister. With the return of electoral politics in 1980, Obote sought ways of reclaiming Busoga for UPC having burnt his hands there in his earlier administration. He knew that his starting point in Busoga was Bugweri and thought that he could use the nephews of Shaban Nkutu: Kirunda Luwuliza and Kirunda Kivejinja to do that job. But with Kivejinja, Obote had irreconcilable differences having expelled him from UPC in 1964. He decided to sojourn on with Luwuliza, as Secretary General of UPC, with unquestionable power in his government of 1980-85. Kivejinja on other hand joined Yoweri Museveni and fronted the Uganda People’s Movement (UPM) in the elections. He went along with Museveni to the bush to wage a war against the UPC government in 1981, much to the chagrin of members of this traditional house who supported UPC. In Bugweri, Kivejinja became public enemy number one and caused the house of Bugweri to split into those who supported Luwuliza Kirunda–UPC and Kivejinja-UPM/NRM who were the minority. His minority group was constantly harassed and scorned by the reckless UPC group, with Luwuliza’s famous detention orders which he signed as Minister of Internal affairs. Fortunes reversed with the collapse of the UPC regime and subsequent take over of the government by the NRM in 1986.Here, like all conquered people, the UPC group in Bugweri sought refuge in Kivejinja for protection. Only Luwuliza Kirunda went into exile. The rest like Elias Mulawa who had served in NASA and is the father of Abdu Katuntu, Shaban Tigabugwa, Bagwitte, Hajji Aswin Menyha, Dhakaba, Ndhote and others stayed around and reconciled with Kivejinja to bring the house of Bugweri together. In my next article, I will show the social origins of political violence in Busoga and Bugweri, where differences in political opinions, pit brother against brother or son against mother. The classic case was of Kalikwani in Kaliro when the UPC regime fell in 1985; a brother beheaded a brother. I will also show the origins of the current rivalry between Katuntu and Kivejinja and how it has been exploited by opportunists and projected as a fight between NRM and FDC. In Bugweri, Katuntu’s mother will support Kivejinja while Kivejinja’s brother will support Katuntu. This is the unenviable position of Bugweri, where most of the people are closely related by blood and political violence did not start with the 2006 elections. Dr Kirunda is a member of the former ruling house of Bugweri, currently attending the Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA, USA ARTICLE TOOLS Send this article Printer friendly Email the editor TOOLS - Add to Favorites - RSS Feeds - Advertising © 2009 Monitor Publications Ltd | Home | Terms of Use | About Us | Advertising | Contact Us | Daily Nation | Subscription Form | Monitor Mail | KFM Mail | The East African Mail
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