Kabaka’s 20th Coronation Anniversary

Sunday 4th August 2013
HE Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

Speech by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

On the occasion of the



3rd August 2013


His Excellency the Vice President,

His Highness the Kabaka,

Dignitaries present,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Your Highness, On behalf of the people of Uganda and on behalf of the National Resistance Movement, I congratulate you on this 20th Anniversary of your coronation at Naggalabi.  It is good that God has given both of us health and opportunity to serve the people of Uganda in our respective capacities – Your Highness, as the Cultural Leader of Buganda and myself as the Political Leader of Uganda.  I wish you a long life so that you can continue to lead our people in Buganda as a Cultural Leader.

Your Highness, you may remember that when I met you in London in 1981, at the late Prof. Lule’s house, I told you that the traditional institutions in Uganda could be restored if the people concerned so wished and the institutions contributed to patriotism within Uganda, pan-Africanism in Africa and modernization.  This was because African needed all the four: the traditional practices that are still relevant; patriotism within Uganda; pan-Africanism within Africa; and modernization.  Indeed, some of the traditions are very crucial.  I will just take three to illustrate this point: the indigenous languages and dialects; the clan organization; and the exogamous nature of those clans. 

As you may have heard, together with some academicians, I have just finished writing a Runyankore-Rukiga Thesaurus.  I was very happy to do this because these indigenous dialects are much richer than, for instance, the English language.  Losing them would be a great loss not only to Africa but to the whole of humanity in terms of man’s ability to describe things, action and events accurately.  If, for instance, you take the English word: ‘standing’.  In order to describe the different postures of ‘standing’, they keep using the word ‘standing’ in a descriptive way: ‘standing-straight’, ‘standing-still’, etc. The Runyankore word for ‘standing’ is okwemerera.  However, to describe the different forms of ‘standing’, I do not have to repeat the word kwemerera.  Instead, there are completely different words to do that: kwetsiimba (stand-still), kuzagira (stand-motionless), kuhanda (stand-aimlessly), kubambira (stand-in-ambush and wait for somebody in an enclosure), etc.  To lose such rich descriptive capacity would be a disaster for humanity. 

The exogamous practice, marrying outside your clan never within it, is excellent biology and genetics in order to avoid in-breeding (obutembane).  Part of the social problems you hear about in other continents may be linked to not having these practices.

However, Africa was colonized when we had those rich languages, the rich foods like millet, bananas, milk and many other foods as well as the rich practices.  That is why, right from inception, our political organization ─ the NRM, as well as its precursors, FRONASA, PRA, etc., added patriotism, pan-Africanism and socio-economic transformation as well as democracy.  We, therefore, always view the cultural institutions that were restored in 1993 in that context.  We have never changed from that position and we shall not change from that position. 

I would like to take this opportunity to present to you an autographed copy of the Katondoozi (Thesaurus) of Runyankore-Rukiga that I authored with Prof. Emmanuel Muranga, Gilbert Gumoshabe and Mrs. Alice Muhoozi, all of Makerere University.

On the economy, we have achieved the minimum economic recovery we set out to achieve in 1986, when we took over the Government.  The people in Uganda remember the terrible shortages for essential goods such as sugar, soap, salt, paraffin, beverages, etc.  Those problems have long been solved.  Uganda’s GDP is now US$ 22 billion using exchange rate method compared to US$ 1.55 billion in 1986.  By using the purchasing power parity (PPP) method, the GDP is now US$ 51.3 billion. The big growth is obvious to those whose eyes are not jaundiced by prejudice and envy.  Kampala–Entebbe-Mukono-Matugga-Nansana-Buddo areas are making a conurbation.  They are now almost linked by tens of thousands of new buildings ─ a far-cry from the 4,000 Indian properties the mafutamingis were fighting over during Amin’s time.

Since 2006, a happy new phenomenon has emerged ─ Uganda’s ability to fund by itself infrastructure projects instead of just relying on donors.  Accordingly, Masaka-Kampala road, Busega-Mityana road, Matugga-Semuto road and Kawempe-Kafu road have been funded by the Uganda Government ─ just to take a few near examples.  However, there are scores of roads and electricity projects all over the country that are now being funded by the Uganda Government. 

We still welcome funding from the Development Partners and Lending Agencies for roads like Arua-Koboko-Oraba, Gulu-Atiak-Bibia, Mbarara-Ntungamo-Kabale-Katuna, etc.  Our historical friends in the anti-colonial wars, the Chinese, have recently become an important source of development finance.  Accordingly, we are negotiating with them to fund Karuma, Ayago and Isimba ─ although we had put aside some good money to start on some of those dams.  If the negotiations, with the Chinese succeed, the 2.5 trillion shillings we had put aside to start off Karuma will be used for other infrastructure projects.  Therefore, Uganda has not only recovered but is beginning to stand up and run some distance unaided.

There are, however four areas where we need support from everybody ─ the area of industrialization in order to create jobs; the area of wealth creation (okugaggawaza) in each homestead so as to have homestead incomes instead of surviving on subsistence farming only (okulisa olubuto kyokka);  discouraging land fragmentation especially on inheritance (okusikira); and fighting corruption.  The cultural institutions, the religion faiths as well as the political leaders could help these efforts.

Finally, I congratulate Your Highness, the Kabaka, on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) you signed with me the other day.  That MOU deals with the issues some people who like to recklessly fish in troubled waters have been using regarding some issues including the former masaza-magombolola estates as well as the harmonization of the rights of the indigenous cultural groups in Buganda. 

I wish you happy celebrations and a long life.

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