Katikkiro Mayiga’s reflections on five years in office

Saturday May 12 2018

Katikkiro Mayiga’s reflections on five years in office

Entrusted. Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi hands over Ddamula (the mace that symbolises the office of a Katikkiro) to Mr Charles Peter Mayiga outside Bulange in Mengo, Kampala, on May 29, 2013. FILE PHOTOS 

By Charles Peter Mayiga

On May 12, 2013, Sssaabasajja Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi appointed me Katikkiro (prime minister) of Buganda.
When the announcement was made, I received many phone calls from family and friends, which signified the magnitude of the job at hand.
They expressed joy and stated their hope in my leadership. I had thought about this role because I had been informed of the pending appointment before the announcement was made, but nothing prepares you for a responsibility of this scale.
I started re-thinking what needs to be done and wondering how I would execute this larger than life task. I think it is only natural to question yourself.

I was also encouraged by the messages, especially from people who I didn’t personally know yet they pledged to support me.
The majority of such people are still determined to see a Buganda that is better.
On May 29, 2013, the Kabaka handed over Ddamula (the mace that symbolises the office of a Katikkiro) to me at a function held just outside the main entrance of the Mengo Palace.
Lots of people turned up in their thousands stretching from the palace to Bulange, a mile away.

They seemed happy with my appointment, which signaled to me that disappointing them would be disappointing the Kabaka.
As I drove through the crowds of jubilating people, I thought about failure as a frightening prospect.
I also saw it in their eyes that if I worked hard, these people would accompany me on this sometimes lonely journey.
I have been lucky that they still walk with me five years later.
We have registered some modest achievements in the past five years since that Sunday evening announcement.
However, I will leave the extent of the achievements to others to judge. What I can say is that whatever has been achieved has been a collective effort.

For what we haven’t achieved yet, I can easily own that because I am the Kamalabyonna — Ssaabasajja Kabaka’s principal advisor.
So as I reflect on the period ahead, I see a lot of things that have not been achieved yet.
Land, which is a key aspirational tenet of our Kingdom, has become such an issue that we must resolve.
Like Mark Twain is quoted to have said, “they no longer make land.” What the legendary writer and humorist didn’t say is that the land in Buganda is the most sought after.

The increase in population and corruption in government agencies plus the weaknesses of the police and the unsatisfactory way the Judiciary handles land cases have led to land conflicts; without mentioning the reactionary policy decisions or proposals that seem to solely target the Kingdom.
In Buganda, land is a propriety issue and it is therefore our right to protect it. As long as I am Katikkiro, I will continue to fight for our inherent rights.
I also intend to continue pursuing the introduction of a federal system of government for Uganda. Federalism doesn’t make Buganda special or superior.

It would simply empower all major regions in the country to govern themselves in a manner they see fit. They would also develop themselves better.
A federal status would help Bunyoro manage its affairs better including receiving a percentage from oil revenue.
The Banyoro know what is better for them and their regions would develop much more than it is at the moment. But also development would stop to be concentrated in Buganda as it is today.



Mr Charles Peter Mayiga with Ddamula

Mr Charles Peter Mayiga with Ddamula

If we want our country to develop as a whole, it is high time we implemented recommendations of the Justice Benjamin Odoki Constitution Commission and Prof Fredrick Ssempebwa Constitution Review Commission.
Majority of Ugandans, not just Baganda, have demanded for federalism for many decades now. Demanding for sharing power through a federal system of government is something we won’t abandon.

As Buganda, there are many things that the central government still owes us. In the last five years, some of these have been returned including some land titles and properties at the Ssaza (county) level.
There are still many others that haven’t been returned. I will continue pressing for the return of these properties to the rightful owners.
Where others have been sold by the government such as Muteesa House in London, the plot of land on Kampala Road where King Fahd Plaza stands today, and shares in companies such as Uganda Electricity Board, compensation must be paid to the Kingdom.
It is not just a demand I make, compensation is the right thing to do. If Asians got their properties back, why can’t Buganda get what is duly ours?

The majority of the people in Buganda, as elsewhere across the country, are young people. They must be inspired to get themselves out of poverty. We have been doing this with Emmwanyi Terimba (grow coffee) campaign but that isn’t enough.

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Youth groups such as Nkoba za Mbogo must find a way to use their numbers for investments. Groups such CBS Fans Club have been doing well with social investments, such as helping each other when a member loses a close relative or when one decides to get married.
These are good causes and they must continue. However, I want to see them do more by saving money and investing it.

Nkoba za Mbogo, for example, has 600 branches across the country. If each branch saved just Shs500,000 a month, which they can easily do, they would be able to start up enterprises that can create jobs for themselves and their fellow youth.
For the future, I will consolidate on what has been achieved over the past five years and focus more on ensuring that we have properly running companies and institutions in the Kingdom.
Like I have written in my latest book titled Uganda: 7-Key Transformation Idea, the major problems in the world today are ignorance, poverty, and disease.

During this Omulembe Omutebi (Kabaka Mutebi’s reign) we must ensure that such problems that curtail our people from maximasing their potential are addressed.
That way the Kabaka will preside over a progressive Kingdom. Protecting the environment is going to be an important milestone in the period ahead if we still want to live on this planet or leave it safer for our children and grandchildren.

To that end, the Kabaka has directed me to work with Rotary International to double our efforts as we plant trees, among other initiatives.
We had already started on this programme by planting trees at every Kwanjula (introduction) event as well as at last funeral rites ceremonies, among others.
But we also know that Rotary is involved in other areas such as health, education, and poverty alleviation, among others and has an effective reach in the communities.

Lastly, I would like to thank Saturday Monitor for giving me this space to express my views and use this opportunity to thank all those that have supported the Kabaka, myself, and the Kingdom at large.
Like the old saying goes, if you want to walk fast, do it alone but if you want to go far, you walk with others. I look forward to continue walking with you on this tough and at the same time exciting journey in the period ahead.

Key issues to focus on
Land: According to Mr Charles Peter Mayiga, land is a propriety issue and it is therefore the kingdom’s right to protect it from an apparent plot to grab it by the powerful.
Federalism: As a system of governance, federalism, Mr Mayiga says, doesn’t make Buganda special or superior but simply empower all major regions in the country to govern themselves in a manner they see fit.
Return of Ebyaffe: As Buganda, there are many things that the central government still owes us. Some, such as land, have been returned but there are still a lot of others that have not been returned. I will continue to pursue their return.

Poverty: Through different programmes such as Emmwanyi Terimba, Buganda must use its numbers to fight poverty.
Consolidating gains:
For the future, I will consolidate on what has been achieved over the past five years and focus more on ensuring that we have properly running companies and institutions in the Kingdom.
Protecting the environment
This is going to be an important milestone in the period ahead if we still want to live on this planet or leave it safer for our children and grandchildren.

The author is the Katikkiro of Buganda Kingdom.

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