For Online E-newspaper
The East African : May 12th 2014
The EastAfrican MAGAZINE MAY 10-16,2014 V ity connection honou≥s Kawalya-Kaggwa in his daughte≥’s eyes Kawalya-Kagwa’s daughter, 85-year old Harriet Nansikombi KawalyaKaggwa (pictured below), said her father’s intentions were misunderstood, misinterpreted and opposed by Buganda elders. these social evils. We must alter this state of affairs before we can hope to advance, and so we require as chiefs and leaders, men of enlightened and disinterested character who will rule our people with wisdom and kindness but also with firmness and strength,” he added. “Finally, I would also mention how we hope for the introduction of electric lighting and power, water supplies and sewage system in our capital here in Mengo where, as you will have seen, trading activities, among others, are developing fast. As a first step to getting these conveniences we must try to get a town planning scheme for our capital,” said Kawalya-Kaggwa. Although Creech Jones did not directly address the proposed introduction of electricity in Uganda, he informed a luncheon hosted by the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and the Uganda Cotton Association in Jinja on July 31, 1946, that the British government had allocated £1 million a year for research into problems connected with domestic and economic life in its colonies. The British government had asked all the colonies to consider how best their economic resources could be developed if Great Britain provided technical assistance. The first piped water systems in Uganda were completed during the colonial period in the 1930s, while the sewerage system was introduced after 1937. “He is one of the great men of Uganda. He was foresighted even though the country had not developed to a higher level. The need for water and power were not important then because there was firewood and water in abundance. For him to foresee the current levels of development means that he was a great man,” said the former prime minister of Buganda, Dan Mulika. Kawalya-Kagwa’s daughter, (Top left) The Owen Falls Hydroelectric scheme. (Top right) The statue of leadership at Amber House on Kampala Road. Picture: Morgan Mbabazi 85-year old Harriet Nansikombi Kawalya-Kaggwa, said her father’s intentions were misunderstood, misinterpreted and opposed by the Buganda elders. Their argument was that hydroelectricity and water would not address their pressing needs and were one man’s senseless whims. They used the country’s vast expanse of forests, rivers and lakes to argue against the need for hydroelectricity and water projects. The elders wanted a high price for their coffee and the release of prisoners banished to Arua, in northern Uganda, for demonstrating against the denial of Africans the right to engage in commerce and export their produce. “It is gratifying to know that all was not in vain,” said Nansikombi. “The seat, which my father inherited, was not a comfortable one as the instability in the country raged on until the agitators were arrested and banished to Arua. Gradually, peace and tranquility returned to the country,” Nansikombi writes. “My father persevered against all odds. He stood by his word, dedication and belief as he understood the mentality of the elders to always resist change regardless of it improving their standards of living or those of their children. He said ‘Let us wait and see…,’” Nansikombi writes in her paper History of Ernest Micheal Kawalya-Kagwa Who Appealed to British Government In 1945 to Introduce Piped Water, Hydro Electric Power and Postal System in Uganda. Mulika contends that those A National Water and Sewerage Corporation pump station in Uganda. Picture: Morgan Mbabazi who opposed Kawalya-Kaggwa’s infrastructure project should not be condemned because of the competing interests and priorities at the time, “They were not wrong “My father persevered against all odds. He stood by his word, dedication and belief as he understood the mentality of the elders to always resist change regardless of it improving their standards of living or those of their children. He said ‘Let us wait and see…,’” Nansikombi writes in her paper History of Ernest Micheal KawalyaKagwa Who Appealed to British Government In 1945 to Introduce Piped Water, Hydro Electric Power and Postal System in Uganda. do with economic democracy or democratic nationalism, so economic participation was equally important.” “I don’t see any contradiction in economic participation and infrastructure development because they were all for economic emancipation. Therefore, one can’t argue that one group was backward. It was a matter of emphasis,” Ndebesa added. Nansikombi describes her fa- ther as a family man who spent a lot of his free time with his wife and children. “My father was a man who knew many people but had few friends. His family was his pride. He put much emphasis on the education of his girls and wanted to give them the best. He sent his girls to the then Union of South Africa accompanied by their mother for a better education. Our mother also took advantage of this and registered herself in a community development course, which helped her organise community group work on her return home,” said Nansikombi. Kawalya-Kaggwa’s family claims that because their father played a part in the introduction of electricity, he requested in his will the 40 per cent of the money collected from electricity bills be sent to the Buganda Kingdom government, 20 per cent to the Ernest Micheal Kawalya-Kaggwa Memorial Foundation, now MAKKF to support his family and Sir Apollo Kaggwa, and 40 per cent to the central government. In June 1946, His Majesty King George VI awarded Kawalya-Kaggwa the Medal in Silver Gilt for his outstanding services in the office of Katikiro of Buganda and throughout his career. He was also honoured with the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Kawalya-Kaggwa retired from at the time. Buganda had firewood and several clean water sources that were within easy reach. Coffee was fetching foreign currency for the country. So we should not condemn them because it was a matter of balancing what was important at the time. Firewood and spring water were more urgent at the time. Kawalya-Kaggwa was a great thinker and visionary, and those who opposed him were foresighted as well.” Historian and lecturer at Mak- erere University Mwambutsya Ndebesa sees no contradiction in the competing views of development at the time, arguing: “Those against Kawalya-Kaggwa were also progressive. The release of political prisoners was about human rights. The demand for higher prices for coffee had to politics in 1950 but carried on an active business life. He was a superintendent with UEB from 1951 to 1960 and was vice-president of the Uganda Credit and Savings Bank. Kawalya-Kaggwa died on December 22, 1967, at Mengo Hospital after a long illness. He was buried on December 23, 1967, in Manyangwa village in Wakiso District beside his father. In a tribute to Kawalya-Kag- gwa, S.W Kulubya, chairman of the Uganda Argus newspaper, said that he was a straightforward man who was not afraid to speak his mind. In the Uganda Argus of Decem- ber 23, 1967, Kulubya recalled that during his tenure as Katikiro, Kawalya-Kaggwa was often referred to as the “Prime Minister of Water and Electricity,” because he believed that these were the people’s first needs. “In this, he has been proved right,” said Kulubya.
May 5th 2014
May 19th 2014