Mayanja Nkangi died a frustrated man – Muliika

Monday March 13 2017



Joash Mayanja Nkangi

Joash Mayanja Nkangi 

By Paul Tajuba

Take us through what you knew about his early days
He was a gentleman who was naturally gifted from schools. He was always one of the brilliant students wherever he went; not only in secondary schools and primary, but even at university. He was one of those who attended extraordinary universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. That gave him a good start.
Two, by then rule of law and constitutionalism was prevailing in this country, although it was a transitional period from colonialism to independence. He participated even in 1962 when Uganda was formed. The old Uganda meant Buganda. He was one of the delegates of Buganda who went to London.

By that time was he in the Buganda hierarchy?
He had been spotted as a young man. But since he joined the conference, they were the people who worked out the 1962 Constitution, so he had that privilege.
The 1962 Constitution, one would say was not completely a good Constitution because still the British and some politicians had manipulated [it] through intrigue and scheming.
But all the same, it was a good Constitution although it gave three different categories, there was unitary, semi-federal and federal. But since he happened to be in Buganda where federal was a little bit advanced compared to other areas, he was exposed to good management and he actually acquired the skills of Buganda culture and the system of governance Buganda had.

He was calm, cool and measured always. He had those tenets, was it because he was grounded in culture, attended best schools or his family background?
In total, it was. And even the systems in Uganda were helping him to carry on like that. Because today, where there are no systems, even if you are the best among everybody, you cannot work, you will find the system hitting you left, right.
“Above” could order you to do something you are not supposed to do and eventually collapse if you do not. By then, rule of law and constitutionalism was working.
For instance, Buganda had advanced to a level of direct elections. Lukiiko was then directly elected, and you would hear no crime; no one went to court because they [elections] were sincere and perfect.
The representatives from our counties by then were 20 and then 18 and three of each representatives were directly elected.
And in the case of Nkangi and the late Michael Kintu [former katikkiro], it was Lukiiko which elected Nkangi and they had to send three names to the kabaka, and Nkangi was elected.

It must have been a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of young man appointed katikkiro at 30 years, at the time kingdoms were abolished
It was for everybody, even Baganda. That is why they kept on fighting until [former president Milton] Obote was removed. That fight started in 1966 and Baganda tried to defend themselves, they even killed soldiers in Bulemezi; but because they were taken unaware until they regrouped and Museveni was incorporated in their plan.
The NRA you talk of was organised by Lule and his group and another 40 Baganda and Museveni came in to fight because we felt that he was part of the system to restore rule of law and constitutionalism.
Nkangi came in when systems were okay and that is why we were prospering. And that is where Obote deceived other areas that Baganda were favoured by Bunguzu (Whites); that is why other areas were behind instead of telling them to copy what Buganda were doing.

Why is that the largest community in our country cannot take affairs politically, you have the numbers, education and money
Because Buganda had advanced and our way of culture is not to hoodwink people, so we did not think in fighting and that is why Buganda was even assimilating other tribes when they came in. They [Baganda] give you land and where to settle.
It is the only area where you were accommodated regardless, except that they put a stop on Banzugu and Indians owning land.
We do not believe in violence. When you think of violence it must to be planned as we sat down to fight in 1980 to 86. It was Baganda who fought mainly and Museveni came in. Baganda provided food.
But we did not expect him to manipulate us as he is doing today as he is no longer our servant. He is serving himself and his family. We did not know, we thought we were dealing with people who are mature.

President Museveni and Mayanja seem to have gotten along so well
I do not believe it because otherwise his policies have been overrun. He tried to show Museveni what somebody with sanity should do to lead the country, now see these handshakes where ministers are allowing money to go out, which Mayanja did not.
It is time to learn from Nkangi; how he managed it and we also tell leaders today to follow his example.

He founded the Conservative Party but served as minister in various dockets. Do you think he died a frustrated man to see the Ugandan politics the way they are?
Definitely! Remember the Conservative Party’s manifesto was one, advocating for federalism. What he was fighting was to see that the central government is there and local government must be there. But local governments must have enough power described constitutionally as to how much they can exercise their power.
But now, we are all being bundled together by the central government. It is the “above” ordering, whether there is sense or not.
Look at what is happening at [Kampala] city council with a mayor and executive and they are just ruled out by the minister, or “above”. Then why pay these people?
Nkangi was even trying to fight to see that people go back to own power. Because the point is, power must be owned by the people, not with mockery as the Constitution today says power belongs to people and when you ask how they own it, when a political party decides against people’s wishes.
I do not believe Nkangi died a satisfied person because his goals are not yet achieved. And I think it is a call for all Ugandans, not only Baganda, to note what he was aspiring to do and make sure we follow that.

You have numerical strength in Uganda, maybe four to five million people, really what makes the people of Buganda lose glue that can unit and speak with one voice?
First, the enemy is using money to divide people. He started by making people poor. That is why he overran cooperatives, he overrun indigenous banks like UCB, so you make them desperate and eventually they became beggars and they will never state anything.
Two, you use the threat of a gun. You see in Uganda even a mosquito is being attacked by AK47 [rifles] and that is why people like these [Dr Kizza] Besigyes and the rest, instead of sending them summons to report to police, you go with teargas and teargas everybody.
There are no political parties to help. Because today’s political parties, where we should organise ourselves, are companies. They are owned by individuals.

We have seen a glimpse of unity brought in by current Katikkiro [Charles Peter] Mayiga when he started etoffaali…
If you think that is unity, what has he achieved? Buganda wants a federal system. Can he get it? How do you beg for your right? This is what I told President that I cannot beg him for federal; he has no power to give us, neither take it away.

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