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Buganda can still rise again, but…




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In this second and final part of Apollo N. Makubuya’s book Protection, Patronage, Or Plunder? British Machinations and (B)uganda’s Struggle for Independence (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018), reviewer Lwanga Lunyiigo, discusses Mutesa II’s political dilemmas and how they haunt the kingdom till today.


The locking of horns between Sir Andrew Cohen (governor 1952-1957) and Mutesa II is described and explained in graphic detail by Makubuya.

The 1955 Agreement that resulted from the negotiations conducted by Prof Keith Hancock was sheer blackmail. Buganda wanted Mutesa II back from exile and in return for this they agreed to endorse the Agreement where the Kabaka became a mere constitutional monarch.

This was contrary to the ancient Buganda constitution where the Kabaka was the ”object of ultimate concern” and embodied the executive, legislative, judicial and even religious powers of the Buganda nation. So Mutesa II continued to act as if the 1955 Agreement did not exist. Indeed, the British had to conclude another Agreement in 1961 that ultimately drew Buganda into the Uganda State.

Although Buganda had declared Independence in December 1960, the Baganda did not have the wherewithal to implement it and had to submit to the Uganda Project thereafter.

Cohen had embraced the political party dispensation in the 1950s. However, the big wigs of Mengo did not want anything that drew them into the politics of Uganda. For the same reasons, they rejected Cohen’s overtures for the Lukiiko to appoint Buganda’s representatives to the Legislative Council.

It was Sir Frederick Crawford (governor, 1957-1961) who persuaded Mutesa II to form a Buganda Party. Kabaka Yekka was thus formed in 1961 on the advice of the departing British rulers.

After Ghana became independent in 1957, it became clear to British Empire watchers including Mutesa II that Uganda would become independent in the near future. Cohen had strengthened the Legislative Council in favour of Ugandan Africans; he had established an executive council to which he appointed prominent and well-educated Africans; he was moving the economy on the public-private partnership model; and was determined to deliver a unitary constitution for Uganda.

Buganda was determined to become independent separately from Uganda but failed to achieve this. However, there was another road that Buganda could have taken but did not. It could have owned the Uganda project and probably succeeded in taking it over.

Most Ugandans were not happy with the deportation of the Kabaka in 1953 and even the Mau Mau took up the deportation of Mutesa II as a cause for war. When Mutesa II returned from exile in 1955, he was very popular. But instead of leading Uganda into Independence, he chose to join an alliance (KY-UPC) as a junior partner; the results were disastrous for Buganda and for him.

One of the most amazing revelations to come out of Makubuya’s book was the role of Daudi Ochieng — a confidant of Ssekabaka Mutesa II and architect of the KY-UPC alliance; secretary general of KY; and Buganda representative to the Legislative Council — who was all along a British spy who passed on to the Protectorate government what Mengo was planning.

Although Makubuya does not accuse Ochieng of being behind the 1966 crisis in Buganda leading to the abrogation of the Independence Constitution of 1962 by Milton Obote, it is likely that when the British left, he continued to play the same role for Obote, who was keen on destroying Buganda by all means.


In his book, The Bell is Ringing, Martin Aliker, Ochieng’s younger brother, comes out with a curious statement on Ochieng’s death. He writes: “…Daudi was diagnosed with cancer of the stomach. I paid for him to fly to London for an operation at Guy’s Hospital by a leading surgeon in the field, but it was too late. He returned home to Uganda and died shortly afterwards on June 1, 1966, aged 41… The real cause of his death may never be known.”

Many spies are destroyed after outliving their usefulness. Could this have happened to Daudi Ochieng? He had precipitated a crisis that removed Mutesa II and destroyed his kingdom; of what more use was he to his employers?

Belatedly embracing Uganda after the endorsement of the 1961 Buganda Agreement and acquiring what was considered a special status in the 1962 Constitution and preventing a Catholic from assuming the leadership of Uganda, as Makubuya tells us, Mengo, except Katikkiro Michael Kintu, who declared from the outset that he did not trust Obote, was all set for Independence celebrations.

Idi Amin best expressed the characterisation of the Baganda by their fellow countrymen: Isolationist, conservative, arrogant. It is for that reason that the Baganda have been brought to their knees and their land largely taken away.

Obote’s most enduring legacy is the militarisation of post-colonial politics, with the army playing the lead role in obtaining power and keeping it. Obote was explicit on this. Addressing the National Assembly after the attack on the Kabaka’s palace at Mengo, he said on May 25, 1966: “…The midwife of an old society pregnant with a new one is a force.”

After this, there was no looking back. Makubuya discusses this militarisation at great length in the final phase of his book. Of course, with this militarisation came gross violation of human right.

The Baganda took up arms during Mwanga II’s reign to fight for the Independence of Buganda in the late 1890s; they took up arms to fight Obote in the early 1980s, defeated him along with their allies.

Baganda made huge sacrifices in the Luweero Triangle. Many people there lost their lives, and property was destroyed. Apart from the satisfaction of defeating Obote, they still remain at the political periphery and are powerless to achieve their core interests, such as a federal Uganda in which they can have some autonomy.

The one desire of the Baganda is to redesign governance in Buganda and return to institutions that served them well in the past to overcome what they term the crisis of governance in Uganda. Unfortunately, they don’t have the political space to do so.

The Baganda rush into alliances, believing in the integrity of their allies, only to be betrayed; they believe in the efficacy of agreements whereas to those they make these agreements with, they are no more than pieces of paper.

Makubuya, being a prominent Muganda, brings out well these betrayals and bad deals. The greatest challenge, for the Baganda is thus to get out of this subordinate position in the leadership of Uganda. They need to join the mainstream leadership of Uganda as the only way for the kingdom to ultimately get a good deal.

As Makubuya clearly shows, the British have a residual interest in their former colonies because British interests are permanent. They use British army training missions and aid to dictate the economic and social status of former colonies. Through the Commonwealth, Britain relives its imperial past glory with the Queen as its head.

This work is definitely Makubuya’s magnum opus. It is a tour de force and we congratulate him for his efforts.



Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’




Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone

Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –




Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard




Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

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