By Odaka Asuman
From the first evening in 2017 when I learned that some people from amongst those “selected” to represent the Jopadhola on matters of ownership of Tororo Municipality in the meetings with the President had introduced “boundary narrative” within the greater Budama nation as a new defence, a huge feeling of betrayal engulfed me.
As I debated within myself, why supposedly informed group would take that route, it downed on me they had deliberately made the good case to give leverage to our adversaries. I also felt a heavy sense of betrayal of the Jopadhola interest playing out as a sophisticated reverse psychology.
Reality confronted me that most likely the most dangerous enemies of Padhola who had been operating under concealment now feel boldly empowered to help the adversaries albeit with high sophistication of mind.
My dilemma and difficulty however was and like still is how to have the Jopadhola know these complex mind games.
Too sophisticated for the excited ordinary minds to comprehend, my worry was and still is that it will take a mountainous job for a few of us who carefully study the calculated words they speak, every action they take and every move they make to have the masses understand what we face as a community.
Sadly enough, they have surrounded our Kwara, captured our cultural institution and subjugated our people to submission.
They direct the affairs of our community without resistance or fear of an alternative source of fact.
They back their sophisticated mind games up by massive propaganda of all kinds, capabilities to deny the alternative opinion holders platform to contradict them, massive economic capabilities and political power they wield.
In this way only their opinions become the singular truth to which they feed our disempowered people on. Everyone turns the wheel in the direction as dictated by them only.
It of great wonder why this “new group” disregarded all our earlier positions and reasons why we, the Jopadhola had rejected and still reject any attempt to change the position of Tororo especially the Municipality.
Our rejection as based on law, legitimacy, history and common sense is everywhere for anybody to refer to.
There are also reports such as “The Kiyonga Report, The Kabwegere Report and Adolf Mwesigye works which had cemented our position and secured our ownership.
Prof. Oloka Onyango’s works and writings among other associated research in that same direction are additional intellectual support to rely on. Why then would any reasonable man bring up falsified and simplistic narrative, how can a Nation of Budama have a boundary with self?
Why I refer to Budama as a nation
A nation is a stable community of people formed and based on a common language, common territory, shared history, ethnicity, and or psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.
Budama (East and West) has been a stable community since the Luo group who later attained the name Jopadhola (in the 13th century) and Wadama (in the 16th century). Their basis of nationhood being Dhupadhola language in the entire territory and the manifestation of their psychological make-up being only Adhola. Any other culture in that territory established presence from the late 18th century.
Budama nation in country Uganda
The colonial effort to reconstruct Uganda broke it into 14 sub-region technically known as “federal states” which included; Buganda, Bunyoro, Tooro, Kigezi, Ankole, Rwenzori, West Nile, Acholi, Lango, Teso, Karamoja, Elgon, Busoga and Bukedi. Each of these Federal States had their people making up various nations. The demographic majority, relative development, strategic location and administrative convenience determined the location of the Federal capital.
“The Federal State of Bukedi” comprised nations of Bugwere, Bunyole, Samia Bugwee, and Budama with its federal capital consciously in Tororo town of Budama nation on account of its relative development, strategic location, demographic advantage, economic opportunities and administrative advantages.
Law, history, geography and logic dictate therefore that Budama’s boundary can only be said to be with Bugwere, Bugishu, Samia Bugwee and Kenya only, and never with self
The issue of Budama having two counties was an event of late 1950s in a meeting at Sesera in Nagongera when Mr Nyapidi requested the Jopadhola to allow the establishment of a second county with Headquarters in Mukujju to enable the people in the Eastern part of Budama get services nearer (instead of the distant Kisoko where Budama country headquarters was located). The curving and division was, therefore never done out of ethnic consciousness but purely for governance and administrative convenience.
Even the creation of Tororo Municipality from the level of an ordinary Trading centre to a town board, then town council and now to Municipality was never done as an action correcting any kind or sort of whether historical or legal injustice real, perceived or imagined.
True, the Municipality was curved largely from a sub county that later formed part of East Budama but it is Budama.
Like the Buganda say “…Omugo guuba gwaanatema si gwanalonda…” loosely interpreted as …” a stick will always belong to the one who cut it from the bush, not one who picked from the street….”
It’s therefore understandable for our adversaries to attempt twisting history, but it’s inexcusable that any ethnic “boundary” within Budama can be mooted or even accepted by anybody amongst us to the extent of travelling to the colonial office, really?
If this wasn’t reverse psychology against the Jopadhola, then what was it?
Some of us opposed this approach and even travelling to London because it gave our adversaries a string of legitimate claim which shouldn’t have been all.
Nonetheless, some people thought we were wrong branded us Political failures who were only looking for relevance and proceeded to London, am sure knowing very well that the very map which had been presented to them at State House on their request was actually what was awaiting them in London and is what they carried back here.
They went to London and the only message they told the people was that the map was reading “Budama” without exception – something we had told them much earlier.
On their return our adversaries were celebrating, not so much about what they found at the colonial office in London but because of the ray of legitimacy they had to achieve in their ambitious pursuit.
The same group, restless about not only the celebrations they had handed our adversaries but also the curiosity amongst the Jopadhola, hastily organized a meeting in Rubongi allegedly to unveil the what they had gone to verify in London.
Some of us refused to go there, therefore I was absent but I want anyone who attended that meeting to refresh our minds about the extent to which they discussed map issue in that meeting other than the usual political grandstanding.
Today, this move has placed the future of Padhola only in the hands of a very cunning politician whose verdict and rationality is only determined by where he can get more votes – everyone knows between the Jopadhola and the other side, where more votes and influence is.
He won’t care about the historical or emotional attachment we have with Tororo, not our Cultural significance or even the future. Therefore, having all our hope in him is a monumental risk.
I see many Jopadhola becoming very restless every time Parliament schedules to discuss, Tororo pushing us to a very simplistic reason and position that “the issue is with the president and we must wait for his pronouncement”. For how long shall that be a valid reason to save our motherland.
And yet this is not the only mind game these people have played on the Jopadhola, there are a couple ever since 2016 as will share in the subsequent articles.
And I ask, are the GOOD really the GOOD, and BAD really the BAD?
The writer is Japdhola (Moriwa Guma) and an aspiring MP, Tororo Municipality (next election)
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