RCC KATEREGGA: THE PK SEMOGERERE I KNEW AND HOW HE NARROWLY MISSED BEING GEN M7’S CO-PRESIDENT IN 1996
By Ahmed Kateregga Musaazi
On June 1st 1994 as we were about to burry my grand paternal uncle who was also President General of Africa Muslim Community Juma Sect Bukoto Nateete, Sheikh Zaid Kateregga Mugenyasooka, where among the mourners was the NRM Vice Chairperson Sal Haji Moses Kigongo and Minister of Local Government Jabbeeri Bidandi Ssali, we realized that we had not informed Dr. Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere, the Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs yet Sheikh Zaid Mugenyasooka was the first Muslim to join DP and he died so.
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One of the elders, Prince Anatoli Mukasa of the Basudde family at Kabwami in now Lwengo District, (who passed on recently), on the directive of the late Prince Henry Mary Kateregga, of Nsambya FC, rushed to the nearby residence of Mzee Bidandi Ssali, where the wife, Susan, provided a landline to ring to Ssemogerere. In a few minutes, Ssemogerere had arrived as we were burying Sheikh Mugenyasooka.
That is the personal closeness at a family level, we had with Dr. Ssemogerere. His predecessor, the late Benedicto Kagimu Mugumba Kiwanuka was close to Sheikh Mugenyasooka as his lawyer and lawyer of his sect and that is why he persuaded him to join DP as early as 1956, and he asked him to endorse a parliamentary candidate for now Butambala and Mawokota constituency, who was Haji Musa Njuki and he won in the controversial 1961 elections which were boycotted by Buganda. Since Ssemogerere was DP’s Publicity Secretary, he also worked closely with Mugenyasooka and more so, his son, Sheikh Haruna Ssuuna Mugenyasooka, who is now in his eighties at Ng’ando in Butambala District. He however crossed to NRM.
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Almost until 1985, our family except my paternal grandfather Zuli Arabi Iddi Dungu Mukasa Kimera, of Nnambiriizi in Mawogola, who was a Kabaka Yekka and later Conservative Party, had been DP until 1985 when they all joined NRM. However, my father, the late Sheikh Abbas Kimera and his father Zuli Arabi Mukasa were suspected to have been collaborators with 1979 war wakombozi (liberators) and since 1982, the home of my paternal grand uncle Emmanuel Sserwadda Kakumemu of Kagologolo, in now Bukomansimbi district was a National Resistance Army cell.
A lot has said and written about Dr. Ssemogerere who died on Friday November 18th at his residence at Lubaga and was buried on Monday November 21st at Nkumba in Busiro in an official burial as directed by President Yoweri Museveni who was represented by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja Musafiri.
There is one thing l have not heard or written, and when l wrote about it at Buganda Think Tank WhatsApp group, it became controversial. After election of the Constituent Assembly in 1994, there was common talk that President Yoweri Museveni, who had led a successful broad-based government since 1986 where all political parties, fighting groups and interest groups were represented, wanted to consolidate more by appointing the UPC defacto leader Nalongo Cecilia Atim Ogwal, Vice President and Dr. Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere Prime Minister.
According to sources, which were later confirmed by Ogwal herself, she went to Lusaka to consult the UPC President Milton Obote who was in exile, who gave a condition that Ogwal be appointed a Prime Minister with executive powers as Obote was between 1962 and 1966 and Yoweri Museveni and Paul Ssemogerere become ceremonial president and vice president respectively as Sir EDWARD Muteesa ll and Sir William Wilberforce Nadiope were. This was not acceptable and eventually in November 1994, a female Vice President was appointed not Cecilia Ogwal of UPC but Dr. Specioza Wandira Kazibwe, a DP who was already a Minister and a member of National Resistance Council in an NRM broad-based Government.
Prior to that cabinet reshuffle, in the draft Constitution of the Republic of Uganda-by-Uganda Constitutional Commission under Justice Benjamin Odoki in accordance with people’s views in the Odoki Report, there was a provision for a Vice President as a running mate as it was the case in US and Tanzania, among others. There was some talks suggesting that Dr. Ssemogerere be President Yoweri Museveni’s running mate. It was said that the newly crowned Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi was the mediator. That was after talks NRM-DP merger had failed. DP Executive Committee and National Council wanted even a broad-based government to be replaced with a coalition government.
Even in 1980 elections, according to Francis Wazairwahi Bwengye, in his book ‘The Agony of Uganda,’ DP almost succeeded in recruiting the young revolutionary, Yoweri Museveni back to D.P. where he had been for nine years, before he crossed to UPC where he was for five months. He wanted to be a DP Vice President General and they accepted. He also wanted the name of the party change slightly as DP was characterized with Roman Catholics, UPC with Protestants outside Buganda and Kabaka Yekka for Baganda. On that one, they disagreed and he went with what Eriya Kategaya of his Front for National Salvation (FRONASA) and Bidandi Ssali of (SAPOBA-Kintu Musoke, Kirunda Kivejinja) had started, Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM) where he became an Interim Chairperson and later a President and Presidential Candidate.
Sources say that, Ssemogerere had almost accepted to be Museveni’s running-mate but DP Mobilizers Group under the late Michael Kaggwa with patronage of Secretary General the late Robert Kitariko, who had been dropped in cabinet in 1989 and had become bitter, threatened to field another presidential candidate. So, Ssemogerere reluctantly resigned his ministerial post as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Service in 1995 to prepare for his candidature in 1996 which was an alliance of DP and UPC, and overwhelmingly won in Northern Uganda but equally lost in Buganda due to association with Obote.
Consequently, the Constituent Assembly deleted a running mate provision from the constitution that was promulgated on Sunday October 8th 1995. Ssemogerere’s darling was proportional representation as practiced in federal Germany and Belgium. While delivering proposals to Uganda Constitutional Commission where members of National Resistance Council and political party leaders were invited at Uganda International Conference Center to give views, her advocated for proportional representation.
He recalled that in 1980 controversial general elections, despite rigging, if Uganda was proportional, Museveni would have won a parliamentary seat according to the votes UPM got countrywide and in his view, and maybe he would not have resorted to the bush war. But even the only UPM candidate that won Dr. Chrispus Kiyonga did not go to parliament but to the bush. 1980 elections rigging was a spark for a people’s protracted war which root causes were among others, in 1966 crisis when Obote abrogated 1962 Independence Constitution.
Lastly, as others have said and written, Ssemogerere was a man of peace and not violence and bloodshed. At one time, the then DP Deputy Secretary General told me how he, the late Abbey Kafumbe Mukasa who was DP Deputy Treasurer General and the late Prof.Yoweri Kyesimira used to buy arms for the rebels, but they could not reveal that to Ssemogerere because he did not believe in an armed struggle.
As we wait for a constitutional review commission to be announced by DP President General Norbert Mao, who is Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, we should think about some elements of proportional representation like where a first run up in presidential elections automatically becoming Leader of Opposition in Parliament or party presidents with representation in parliament to be specially elected member. This can only be possible if opposition parties work under IPOD framework, which should also be legalized. Haji Ahmed Kateregga Musaazi is a veteran journalist and Deputy Resident City Commissioner Masaka City in charge of Kimaanya-Kabonera City Division.
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