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Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 4

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This is a long series of historical events. We have broken it down into 6 parts.

Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 1

Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 2

Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 3

Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 4

Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 5

Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 6

Protestant Bishop Tucker pressed the British Commissioner to allocate more land to the chiefs. With more than half of Buganda’s productive land given to a privileged section of society, those in control of land became the future controllers of economic means.  In 1903 K. Borup of the CMS distributed cotton seeds to 27 chiefs in Buganda for distribution to natives for cotton growing.

The first local company to be registered, Uganda Company, was an offshoot of the Protestant church under CMS. The British colonialists moved fast to consolidate their rule through collaborators and local chiefs under Apollo Kagwa.  The same Baganda Protestant collaborators played a key role in facilitating the extension of colonial rule to other areas of Uganda outside Buganda. The British deployed Baganda Protestant Chiefs to Bunyoro, Ankole, Tooro and eastern Uganda as agents of British rule.

In Bunyoro Buganda’s sub-imperialism was challenged through a peaceful but well coordinated protest dubbed Nyangire Abaganda in 1907.  It was an organised protest by the Banyoro against the Baganda Chiefs who were led by James Miti. However, the British blamed it on the Catholic Missionaries arguing that the Banyoro had no organisational capacity for such a move.  Consequently, 54 Banyoro Chiefs and opinion leaders were exiled – 49 of them were Catholics who were replaced by 51 Protestants.

The Protestant/Anglican religion became the official religion of Uganda thus Church of Uganda (COU).  All Kings, Chiefs, heads of government departments and any political office was expected to be Anglicised.  Political leadership was taken over by the Anglicans while the Catholics took up the traditional civil service. With no formal education arrangements in place for them, the Muslims lost out.

The Lukiko was dominated by allies of Protestant allies of the British.  Having jumped into land grabbing itself, the Lukiko championed the interests of the chiefs and the landed nobles.  It introduced the Envujjo levy where peasants were compelled to pay a percentage of their harvests to the owner of the land. It is this inequality that was later to give rise to the first agitation by native Baganda under their Bataka Association for being over taxed in land use rent (obusuulu) by the Chiefs and notables.  It was comprised of clan leaders and the wider peasantry who had been disfranchised by the land redistribution by the 1900 Agreement.

Kabaka Chwa refused to listen to them and they had to petition the colonial office. Both the Catholic and the Protestant missionaries competed for space in establishing formal education and health facilities.  The first hospitals like Namirembe, Rubaga, and Nsambya were started by them. The first schools like Gayaza, Buddo and Namilyango were by the Protestant missionaries while Kisubi, St. Peters, Nsambya and St. Henry’s Kitovu were the earliest schools built by the Catholics.  These schools taught the children of the Kings, Chiefs, notables, and the landed gentry.

Eventually, it became a norm throughout the country to find the Catholic Church and the Protestant church standing on opposite hills facing each other.  Adjacent to each church is a school and a health facility.  Until recently it was very rare to find children attending a school that was not of their religious denomination. Despite the colonial government starting Makerere University in the early 1920s, it kept out of Makerere’s education services leaving it to the Christian Missionaries.  This Missionary based education system was responsible for the Muslims failure to access and embrace early education. This religious based factionalism was to shape the future social, economic and political life of Uganda.  It became a big factor in the struggle for independence and Uganda’s first political parties. To this date, religion, tribe and regionalism still influence political association in Uganda.

In 1939 Kabaka Daudi Chwa died and a succession battle was resolved by the Protestant church who ruled that his elder son Prince George Mawanda could not inherit the throne because he had been born out of wedlock.  Instead it was the 15 years old Fredrick Muteesa who was installed as the next Kabaka.  In 1941 the Queen Mother, Drissila Namaganda expressed intention of getting married to a commoner, Kigozi.  Though it was against Buganda customs and against the Protestant Church, the Kabaka Mutesa, Katikiro Martin Nsibirwa and the Colonial office okayed the marriage.

Angry Baganda even attempted to lynch the couple with stones on their wedding day at a church in Kibuye.  Consequently, Katikiro Nsibirwa had to resign but the Kabaka reinstated him in 1945 only to be shot dead three months later at the entrance of Namirembe Cathedral.  Sir Apollo Kagwa’s son, Kawalya Kagwa was recalled from military service in Ethiopia and made the Katikiro. The Bataka Party under James Miti had been comprised of a large number of landlords. It gave rise to the founding of Uganda African Farmers Union by I.K. Musaazi.

In 1945 the first three African representatives to the Legislative Council (LEGCO) included the Protestant son of Apollo Kagwa, Kawalya Kagwa who represented Buganda region.  In 1947 I.K Musaazi founded the Uganda National Farmers Union to champion the rights of African Farmers.  In1949 Augustine Kamya led a trade boycott that culminated into riots targeting Asian domination of commerce. In March 1952 I.K. Musaazi together with other Ugandans outside the Mengo establishment founded the Uganda National Congress which became the first political party in Uganda.  It had no Catholics in its ranks save for John Kalekyezi (father of IGP Kalekyezi) who opportunistically joined it.

In 1953 the British exiled Kabaka Muteesa to England and the UNC rallied support to agitate for the Kabaka’s return.  John Kalekyezi initiated a militant group which he led to steal 30 guns and ammunitions from Kisubi that he intended to use in sabotaging the Queen’s visit to open the Own Falls Dam in 1954. During the same year, in October at Rubaga some Baganda led by a one Kasolo and others founded a Catholic political organisation dubbed Catholic Servants Welfare Association that eventually evolved into the Democratic Party two years later.

During the same year, the Lukiko formed a committee that negotiated with the Governor at Namirembe Cathedral over the terms for the Kabaka’s return thus the Namirembe Conference.  In 1955 the Kabaka was retuned from exile and plans were made to have a new Katikiro.  During the contest, it emerged that a Catholic Matayo Mugwanya (son of 1890s Catholic hero, Stanslus Mugwanya) was poised to win the seat but the Kabaka urged former Katikiro Kavuma to step down for Michael Kintu who defeated Mugwanya by four votes.  An opportunity for Buganda to have a first Catholic Katikiro was lost.  Mugwanya went ahead to win a bye-election to represent Mawokota county in the Lukiko but the Kabaka refused him to take his seat on grounds that he was a member of the Legislative Council.

Feeling frustrated and rejected, Matayo Mugwanya formed the Democratic Party in 1956.  The DP banked on the countrywide support of the majority Catholics.  In 1958 at a delegates’ conference in Tororo, a devoted Catholic and young Lawyer, Benedicto Kiwanuka was elected by a majority vote of 103 out of 114 to become the President General. Having served in KAR to the rank of Warrant Officer, he opposed Federal for Buganda in favor of a united Uganda and very soon it established strongholds in Buganda, Ankole, West Nile and Acholi.

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