To put into context Museveni’s recent anti-Luo sentiments on BBC, his streak of history with the Luo needs to be revisited.
In this 2007 article in the Uganda Monitor Newspaper (pasted below) Museveni’s ethnic chauvinism is clearly revealed. He brags that his mother’s Ankole tribe was the only Bantu community in Uganda that was not conquered by the Luo expansion hundreds of years ago.
Makes one wonder whether this Museveni man is mentally losing it – basing 21st Century decisions on 9th century East African tribal migration patterns and conquests is a heck lot wierd to say the least.
Museveni was born out of wedlock to an Ankole mother and his father’s ancestry is unclear (? Tutsi or Hima). He ousted a Luo president (Tito Okello) and toppled another (Blasilio Okello) that he was supposedly to share power with after. He has since waged a 23 year war of paranoia and Luo-phobia in Northern Uganda under the guise of fighting the LRA, which has largely led to outright marginalization of the Luo communities of Acholi (Acol), Langi and Alur.
Even Daily Nation’s Charles Onyango Obbo’s Luo-Padhola in the East are largely marginalized by Museveni. Obbo was detained, threatened, and hounded out of Uganda personally by Museveni. That explains his exile in Kenya.
It is therefore not out of character for Museveni to manifest symptoms of Luo-phobia like generalized denigratory snipping of the community through disparaging remarks.
Going back to the Monitor article below, he charges that Buganda Kings are Luo, as if that means they are afflicted by leprosy. Kwani what is the problem if Buganda Kings are Luo? Who doesn’t know EA history and the obvious fact that the Buganda, Bunyoro & Toro are essentially a hybrid between Bantu and Luo? ;
Buganda kings are Luo, says Museveni
RISDEL KASASIRA & RICHARD WANAMBWA, Uganda Monitor, Kampala
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni yesterday put the royal lineage of traditional leaders in Uganda at the forefront of his submissions to a debate on land in Munyonyo – concluding that Buganda, Bunyoro and Tooro kings are largely of Luo origin.
The President was speaking to some 600 delegates currently attending a conference on Land Conflicts and Mitigation measures in the country.
Mr Museveni talked predominantly about the current debate on land in the country that has sparked tribal emotion. At the conference, Mr Museveni chose to lecture delegates about the history of tribal settlements in East Africa, stating that the ancestry of the kings of Buganda, Bunyoro and Tooro is rooted in the Luo dynasty, before sounding a warning to those he said are inciting tribalism as the debate to amend the 1998 Land Act rages.
Mr Museveni said the Luo, who are largely settled in northern Uganda and western Kenya, governed the three kingdoms, leaving descendants behind, who today, are the current rulers.
“The kings of Bunyoro, Buganda and Tooro are Luos,” said Mr Museveni.
“It’s only in Ankole that we stopped the Luo expansion. How can you have a Bantu name like Oyo, like this young boy (the King of Tooro) and Olimi the king of Bunyoro?”
In further drawing a link between the king of Buganda and the Luos, Mr Museveni cited a Luganda word “Wankaaki”, which means main gate, one he claims originated from the Luo.
“If you ask any Muganda that what is Wankaaki, they will tell you ‘Lubiri lwa kabaka (Kabaka’s palace). But we have to excuse them because they don’t know history. This is a Luo word,” said the President.
Delving into his favourite subject of history, Mr Museveni said the three kingdoms were conquered and ruled by the Luo from 900 to 1500 AD. His historical opinion was corroborated by Makerere University political historian Mr Mwambutsya Ndebesa.
“About 600 years ago, the Jo-bito (Luo) attacked the Chwezi dynasty and formed the Babito dynasty whose descendants are Baganda and Banyoro,” said Mr Ndebesa, adding that the founder of Buganda kingdom, Kato Kimera, was a descendant of King Rukidi Mpuga of Bunyoro. He said Tooro was formed in 1830 out of Bunyoro kingdom.
In what has now come to characterise the President’s speeches on the land question in the country, Mr Museveni took another swipe at Mengo, the seat of Buganda Kingdom, describing officials pushing for the return of the now obscure 9,000sq miles of land, as “opportunists. ”
“I normally tune in to CBS (Buganda’s radio -Central Broadcasting Service) when I have time. And you hear all this trash. They are just opportunists whose intention is only naalira wa? (What is in it for me?),” he said.
Mr Museveni took time off to remind delegates that his administration reinstated traditional and cultural institutions in the country, with the sole aim of reviving lost glory and custom, before concluding that the traditional leaders have failed “and I will oppose them because I am still here.”
He described as “absolute rubbish”, calls by some people who have been agitating for a north-south divide in the country, saying Uganda is a cohesive nation “and no one should talk about dividing it.”
And although it would seem Mr Museveni’s remarks were a direct response to recent claims by Gulu LC 5 chairman Nobert Mao that northern Uganda was willing to secede from the rest of the country due to uneven distribution of the national cake, it isn’t in doubt that the current land debate in the country has driven a sharp wedge in Parliament, just as it has in the public domain.
Last week, the Coordinator of Security Services in the country, Gen. David Tinyefuza, told Parliament that the army will not hesitate to intervene in settling civil strife in the country, a proclamation that has now been understood as a warning to anyone who stokes tribal hatred over the land debate.
Already, Buganda and the central government have locked horns over the proposals which the latter believes will help curb incessant illegal evictions in the country. Mengo insists it will only legitimise land grabbing.
Commenting on the land debate, Mr Museveni said “the talk about tribalism and division is absolute nonsense and we shall oppose them.”
The conference, organised by Jami Yakupatanisha, a local NGO and the Makerere University Department of Peace and Conflict Resolution, with the support of the Canadian government, presented a report on the causes of land conflicts in Uganda.
According to the report, a copy of which Daily Monitor has seen, unclear land demarcations in northern Uganda and massive evictions in central Uganda are the major causes of land conflicts in the country. The report also concluded, based on a survey carried out between October 2007 and February 2008, that the land question in the country has become a tribal issue.
“In the recent months, land has often become a tribal question fuelled by debate by special interests to ‘protect tribal land’,” the report reads in part. “The current rhetoric demanding that ‘other’ people (i.e. non-tribesmen/ women) keep off ‘our’ land is sowing the seeds for a continuing and growing politicised conflict.”
It is an opinion that was also shared by Lands Minister Daniel Omara Atubo who concurred that the debate on land “has become emotional, sensitive and political.”
The report recommends, under the customary land tenure system, that the role of elders and traditional elders on land matters be strengthened. It also calls for systematic land demarcation across the country in order to reduce conflicts, especially in northern Uganda.
- 20 years on: Is it sunrise or sunset for Buganda? (monitor.co.ug)
- CULTURE AND PEOPLE IN UGANDA Uganda is situated (kanyikekevinsanderson.wordpress.com)
- Uganda: prisoners (peopleuganda.wordpress.com)
- *Museveni spied on Kabaka MutebiI* (mukssteven.wordpress.com)