Katikkiro Mayiga’s international visit to Europe (the UK and Sweden respectively) North America (Canada and America) to meet Baganda diasporans is more than just the ‘ettoffali’ focus it ends up being labelled.
In London where his maiden visit of the ‘ettoffaali’-the brick-appeal in the developed world started, the Katikkiro and a top delegation that accompanied him from Mengo also briefed Baganda diasporans about priority (okusoosowaza in Luganda) kingdom projects that the diaspora was called upon to participate in or find useful co-partners for.
We learnt from the Katikkiro and his team that Buganda is pursuing a 20 year long vision (2014-2033) aimed at returning Buganda to the summit (Buganda ku Ntiiko) politically, culturally, in planning and development and the improved welfare of its people as individuals and collectively.
To fulfil this vision, Mengo has sub-divided into 5 year short terms goals (2014-2018) to drive to the 20 year vision (2014-2033).
- Exalting and protecting the Kabakaship (okunyweza, okutaasa n’okukuuma Namulondo)
- Power sharing through Federo
- Protecting the ancestral land of Buganda, its natural resources, securing its borders and environmental protection,
- Working tireless through innovation and creativity to uplift the living standards of the people of Buganda.
- Unifying the Baganda.
The Katikkiro emphasized the importance of Baganda understanding what belongs to them (ebyaffe in Luganda) so that they know what needs to be sought after from the Central Government.
He said the top priorities in the current 5 year strategic plan are exalting the Kabakaship and the quest for Federo from the Central Government.
“The fundamental issue in this plan is that Buganda belongs to the Kabaka. The crown of Buganda Kingdom is His Royal Majesty the Kabaka. Is that hard to understand?” Katikkiro Mayiga asked in rhetoric to the audience.
Federo he said is an on-going quest to Central Government because it-Federo-is a heritage Ssekabaka Muteesa I left for Baganda and through which they retain what was bequeathed them-the Baganda.
“We want to share power through the Federo system. Is that hard to understand? There are those deceiving people that Federo cannot be grasped. Federo simply means sharing power. It is that simple. Federo is not rocket science,” he said to thunderous applause from the audience.
“Federo is about sharing power where you (Central Government) do some things and the other (Mengo Government) does these other things,” he explained to the audience gathered at Harris Academy in Peckham, South East London where the main event was held.
Placing the Federo system in context, he traced it back to traditional Buganda where it was followed down to the homes of the Baganda.
“In Buganda when a boy turned 18-back then an 18 year old was considered a man-his father would give him a stick which nearly looks like the ddamula (mace) I am entrusted with keeping,” he explained.
“At 18, the young boy would be taken to his father’s banana plantation together with his mother. The young man’s father would ask his mother to use a stick to demarcate part of the land for him-the young man. After the portion was demarcated, the young man would be asked to bring a wife,” he revealed.
“Once married, the young man would become independent with that portion of land as his own. His father would still be his father but the young man would have become independent. He would then be able to eat at whatever time he desired. Federo follows a similar principle. It is about power sharing where people do what they desire,” he explained.
The third priority of Mengo is protecting Buganda’s land and securing its borders.
As the issue of land is very contentious Buganda Land Board Chairman Kiwalabye Male updated the diasporans- often interested in purchasing land back home- on the improvements that had been regarding land purchases in Buganda.
Buganda Land Board is the custodian of all the land and properties owned by the Kabaka.
“First verify the authenticity of the land you intend to buy to avoid complications in the future. If you purchase land without dealing with its owner, the law does not recognise the purchase,” he explained.
“You no longer need to send money back home to a relative to purchase land in Buganda. Wire the money directly to the Buganda Land Board account. After a purchase is made, we give you an official letter that authenticates all your purchases,” he said.
“Get documents for your land because you cannot own land without documents. Do not treat the purchase of an asset such as land lightly,” he cautioned.
Many diasporans depend on their relatives back home to make land purchases for them and many have been duped.
Buganda Land Board verifies all land titles including those for buying or selling land and solves land disputes on the Kabaka’s land. The head office is at Bulange in Mengo but it has branches spread in the major counties of Buganda.
The Katikkiro implored Baganda to teach their children Luganda to preserve the language.
He urged them to emulate the Chinese and Indians who regardless of where they settle teach Mandarin and Gujurati respectively-even as they learn other foreign languages.
The Baganda and well-wishers of the Kingdom were thanked for their contributions with Baganda called upon to retain the spirit of Buganda that never dies (omwoyo gwa Buganda ogutaffa).
The Katikkiro was accompanied to the UK by
- First deputy Katikkiro Edward Ssendaula,
- Minister of Investments, Planning and Economic Development Robert Nsibirwa,
- Education Minister Twaha Kawaase,
- Tourism Minister Rita Namyalo,
- Health Minister Ben Mukwaya,
- Head of Buganda Land Board David Kyewalabye
- Hajji Mutaasa Kafeero and other members of Buganda Twezimbe
He told Baganda in London that….
- His paramount duty is serving the Kabaka whom he referred to as his only boss. As Katikkiro, he said he is open to working with everybody regardless of tribe and race only as long as they respect the Kabaka. “I have only one boss, the Ssabasajja. Anybody who despises the Kabaka has to deal with me” he warned to thunderous applause.
- The Kabaka is very concerned about the impoverishment of Baganda, a matter that the Katikkiro and his team are tackling head-on.
- Buganda’s prestige (Ekitibwa) is derived from the Kabaka and his subjects. He emphasized that the ‘ekitibwa kya Buganda’ that Baganda are so proud to sing and talk about, starts from the individual first. If their status is impoverished-the current plight of many Baganda today-then it reflects badly on the Kabaka. “The most embarrassing thing in Uganda is a poor Muganda. How can you sing the Buganda anthem (Ekitibwa kya Buganda) yet in the night, you fall into saucepans to steal meat. You cannot sing about ‘Ekitibwa kya Buganda’ yet you have no food at home, yet you cannot treat yourself when unwell. The Kabaka has Ekitibwa but it comes from his people and the state of their welfare,” he stated.
- Baganda at home and abroad should stop lamenting about the past and instead focus on the future. They should work hard to lift their welfare instead of lamenting about what became of Buganda.
- Baganda should stop their secretarian ways and demand for services from the Ugandan Government rather than the appointment of a Muganda, a Protestant (abapoto as he said Protestants are popularly called in Buganda) to a prominent government position. “People fail to demand for services from government and instead click themselves up in sects and want one of their own-a Catholic, abapota (Protestants), Muslims to be in Government. Would you rather that one from your sect gets appointed or that government builds hospitals and roads?” he wondered.
- Baganda should stop focusing on the shs20bn the Central Government owes in rent arrears to Mengo Government. “Work hard to improve your welfare. There is so much talk about the shs20bn we are owed by the Central Government. That should not detract us from working. If you are owed, does it mean you should not work. These are simple common sense issues,” he cautioned.
Katikkiro Mayiga Factoid.
- He is the youngest Katikkiro that has served under the 20 year reign of Kabaka Ronald Mutebi.
- He was appointed Katikkiro on May 12th 2013 after working at Mengo in various capacities, the most recent as Minister of Information.