Uganda: Southern Sudan Secession Sparking Similar Demands?
â€œEver since the colonial era, Buganda with now a population of 8.5 million people in an area, which is 19,000 square miles with the requisite resources has sought for self-determination
to sustain itself with the possible compromise of creating a bigger economic political federation with other nations,â€ says the petition.
Will the recent voting that allowed Southern Sudan to embark on its journey towards independence spark similar demands eleswhere in Africa?
That question is already an issue of increasing contention in Uganda. The Baganda, who inhabit the traditional kingdom of Buganda, contained within the country known as Uganda, have made such demands in a petition by prominent individuals, mostly lawyers, addressed to the United Nations.
The petition, “Buganda Captive in Uganda”, in addition to Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, was copied to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and other officials including those at the EU. “Our wish is to bring to the attention of the international community and request its urgent intervention to prevent further deterioration of the relationship between Buganda and Uganda...failure by the International community to act could lead to untold suffering and loss of life if President Museveni is allowed to continue on the path to destroying our heritage. Enough is enough.”
More than 6,000 people signed the petition. It comes shortly after lawmakers from Museveni's ruling NRM party in Uganda voted into law a controversial bill that aims to curb the powers of traditional monarchs, including the king of Buganda. “We, the undersigned are appealing to you to intervene in the current constitutional arrangements of Uganda, which if not checked will, in all likelihood, lead to genocide,” read the petition. The population of Buganda is 8.5 million.
The Uganda Parliament passed the bill into law on February 1; many Baganda claims that the bill targets its monarch and is a direct encroachment and violation of human rights including their cultural values. There has been much resentment of the Museveni government since dozens of Baganda were mowed down by his security forces--they had protested the Museveni government's restrictions of the king's movements. He is known as the Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi.
“Ever since the colonial era, Buganda with now a population of 8.5 million people in an area, which is 19,000 square miles with the requisite resources has sought for self-determination to sustain itself with the possible compromise of creating a bigger economic political federation with other nations,” says the petition.
They called on the UN, the U.S. and the U.K. to take the lead in resolving the problem that the U.K. colonial government imposed on the Kingdom of Buganda by making it a part of what's now Uganda. They also said: “Buganda urgently seeks international intervention towards self-determination to renegotiate her co-existence with neighbouring nations....The perpetuation of the colonial legacy is intolerable and has to be dismantled if we are to see peace in our time.”
Kabaka Mutebi II has been at loggerheads with the Ugandan ruler of 25 years, Museveni.
“Buganda, once a sovereign nation state, is under the non-consensual military occupation of a colonial state called Uganda, which was created by the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which Government we have petitioned twice before," read the petition to the UN.
The petition also states that “failure to address these matters urgently risks the matter resolving itself through bloodshed, which is likely to lead to a great loss of life in the millions.”