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In full: Professor Lumumba public lecture in Bunyoro

On June 8, 2023, Professor Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba, a renowned Kenyan public speaker, law lecturer, historian and orator, was in Hoima City, western Uganda, to deliver a public lecture.

He was invited by Mubende Bunyoro United Association (MBA) which is seeking to file a case against the British government for atrocities committed against Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom, one of Uganda’s oldest cultural institutions.

MBA also wants reparations as was the case for Mau Mau of Kenya. Lumumba was accompanied by Professor Wallace Williams of Trinidad and Tobago who also doubles as the Consul General of Antigua and Barbuda to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

In attendance at the Legal claim against the British Government and General Public Lecture on Pan Africanism that took place at Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom Rukurato (parliament) courtyard in Hoima City were kingdom officials, government officials and residents.

Below are the speeches in full.

This is a discussion and not a lecture because (lectures) seem to be arrogant sometimes. It is about a subject because they continue to visit pain on us.

The Africa that we are having conversation around is an Africa that has known pain and the Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom has been a victim of the pain that has been visited on Africans.

Many of us know that this continent was invaded and her sons and daughters were taken away to distant lands. Indeed the presence of my friend Dr. Wallace Williams who now claims the citizenship of Trinidad and Tobago is a testimony that his ancestors were taken away into the Caribbean.

And when slavery had lost its shine, the colonialists invented yet another project that took place in Berlin in 1884 and 1885 where the continent of Africa was divided into the territories that we now know as the 54 countries of the continent of Africa.

When the British came here in the 1880s, they came to this part of the continent so to speak after the diabolical conference of Berlin.

While they were here forcing our leaders to sign treaties. Their cousins from France were doing the same in West Africa, their cousins from Germany were also doing the same in Dahomey in what is now Namibia, in what was then known as Tanganyika they were also in Cameroon.

Their cousins from Portugal were also doing the same in Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Angola, Mozambique, and Sao Tome and Principe.

Their cousins from Belgium were also doing the same in Rwanda and Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Their cousins from Italy were doing the same in Libya, doing the same in Somalia and. their cousins from Spain were doing the same in Equatorial Guinea.

They devised different ways of dividing us. In fact, the British were so blatant and adopted a policy that they referred to divide and conquer.

So, they came here and made you believe that the Baganda (one of the tribes in Uganda) were your enemies.

They made you believe that Basoga and people who had the same colour like your self were your enemies.And we believed yet it was indirect rule.

They set brother against brother and sisters against sister. They took land that belonged to one brother and they gave it to the other and they even took mountains like Kilimanjaro and gave themselves as gifts.

And our lakes they named after themselves. Nalubaale they called it Lake Victoria and we still call it Lake Victoria.

They came and named Mwitanzige into Lake Albert. The lakes for which you had named they called it Edward.

They went to Zambia and called them Livingstone and Victoria and abandoned Mosi O’tunya. They came here and gave them your names such that you are not Asiimwe but Donald.

So that I’m no longer Otieno Lumumba, I’m Patrick that is how they did it-our minds were corrupted.

And when they had corrupted our minds, we fought against them, expelled them but they never went away.

They are still here. They are still controlling us in very certain ways. We use their language and I would have loved to speak Kiswahili or Runyoro.

We use their names. We worship in churches that they have created and we abandoned our Gods.

Even the name of our God they took away from us. This is who they are and they have not changed. Let you not be cheated.

When we are present here and we are talking about our grievances we must identify our enemies.

Our brothers are not our enemies. They (colonisers) are our enemies (applause). When you go to South Africa sometimes I hear my brothers claiming that those Africans from the north are their enemies. They forget that their enemies are the whites who constructed the apartheid regime.

When I came here to the Bunyoro-Kitara empire, I heard that Bunyoro talk about empako (peti-names) in my mother tongue which is Luo we call it pakrwok.

And I know when we were moving from Sudan when people settled here and those of you who are familiar with the history of Bunyoro they were here for some time.

And indeed when we were moving down to what is known as Kenya the Banyala seeing referred to us as Omunyolo because they thought we were the Banyoro.

So, even today in Kenya those of the Luhya people call the Luo Omunyolo thinking that they are Banyoro and that is how connected we are.

So that when we talk about territory you must remember that the territory must never be the basis of conflict.

Indeed, our leading historians tell us that one piece of land could be used by several communities-the cow herder could use the same land as the cultivator of the land.

In those days before the white man came here, we did not have title deeds. They came here and they introduced the titled lands, they defied our lands and gave them tenures such as mailo land.

After they left we still talk about mailo land-they did everything that they could to divide us and that is why the continent remains weak because we are divided and making us to fight shadows. We can never win against shadows.

We must in the nature of this do what is good and right. You know sometimes we in the continent of Africa judge ourselves very harshly.

The post-colonial African states including this country called Uganda is just over sixty years old. Uganda regained her independence in 1962 that was only 61 years ago.

There are people in this assembly who are older than Uganda and they are alive and they will live for another 20 years.

So, today, when we are talking about the grievances and the conflicts that make us unhappy and angry, those conflicts let me tell you honestly and candidly some of them will not be solved in your lifetime.

They will be solved long after you are gone. Your duty is to always remind your generations that there is a conflict to be resolved.

You know, when I travel across the world, and you meet people of Jewish tradition, even those who were born seven years ago talk about the holocaust in the 1940s.

The grievance is passed from generation-to-generation. If you think about the problems afflicting you in your lifetime you will be disappointed.

But if you know the problems are inter-generational you will not be disappointed because you will recognise that it is a relay race.

Friend of mine tells me and I agree with him: “When you want to eat an elephant, you cannot swallow the elephant, but you can eat the elephant piece by piece.”

The problems that confront us are like the elephant. When we want to eat them, we eat them piece by piece and after a long time we will sit down when we are satisfied and your children and your children’s children will tell a story that there was an elephant that confronted us and we ate it people will wonder how did they eat the elephant and will be able to tell them; piece by piece, generation by generation (applause….).

When we were learning the history of East Africa about kingdoms of Africa. I remember learning about the Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom and I remember learning about the Buganda Kingdom and I remember learning about Busoga and Tooro and all these kingdoms.

 I remember being taught about Omukama Chwa II Kabaleega who was deposed in 1899 and you know the story and who resisted the British and who was taken away through Kisimayo ultimately to the Seychelles.

And who died on his way in 1923. He did a great job and history remembers him (applause…) for resisting our enemy.

Sometimes you don’t have to win the battle immediately. Your contribution is that you fought and fought a good fight.

Last night I spent a night at a facility called Kabaleega Resort Hotel in Hoima City. The Omukama Kabaleega is a dead-long live Kabaleega because he never dies.

When you do good things what happens is that your moto remains, appearing to die but you never die.

We are here not because we have the monopoly of wisdom, we are here because we know we have a problem which is elephantine. Combining our wisdom and efforts, that problem can be eaten and we are going to eat it piece by piece and we are going to eat it with wisdom.

We are going to recruit those who are our allies. We have too many enemies and we should not create new ones. What we must do is to get our allies. A strong Bunyoro is good for Uganda.

I’m a student of history and I know when the kingdoms were abolished and when they were reinstated, I know their forms of operations, I know that Uganda is richer because of the kingdoms, I know the kings have soft power and there is nothing than soft power (applause…).

I know somebody was telling me yesterday that if you want to know soft power, look at the egg-when you break it from outside you destroy the egg but when it is broken from inside it produces a chick.

Let us be wise how we use our power. Do you want to break the egg from outside or you want to break it from inside?

Choose you now but for me I chose to break the egg from inside (applause…) because when I do so I’m aware that life will be produced (applause…).

In these battles that you are talking about you are not the only who are fighting these battles. I remember as a young law student, in my second year, the professor as a teacher in law, property and land, came to class and on the very first day, during the very first lecture he said “we are going to study the law of property in land, not land law-the law of property in land.”

We are going to discuss it, he said, because the last colonial question is the question of land. The British came here in Uganda and what they took was land.

And they argued that we did not own land. They therefore said that the person who owns land is the queen and they gave us titles in the name of the queen.

They took them and they subdivided them into pieces and they taught us that the little pieces must be fenced and once you fence it if your brother crosses on your side, he or she becomes your enemy.

They created enmity by imposing on us a land tenure system which was alien to us. We made land a God and to ourselves which we worship not knowing that the land leveth but we die.

The British came. Are they still here? Yes they are. Are they still doing evil things to us? Yes they are. How? Because they owe us money and things yet they took our things.

They were thieves and they are still thieves. If you go to their museums, you find the artefacts which have no value.  They were told they were beyond being measured in money. The sentimental, historical and spiritual value of the nine-legged stool is still incalculable in any currency.

But they keep them. They still want to control us. They owe us a lot of money which they can never pay.

Even if they pay us something it will only be a token and we will only accept it because in the larger scheme of things we are all human beings. But we want them to a torn for their sins and to come out as the French President recently came out and named each kingdom and country and came and say I look forward to the day when the British Prime Minister will stand on the floor of the House of Commons and make the following speech: “We the British, animated by greed and selfishness, left our little islands and went into different parts of the world. We went to Africa, we went to Asia, we went to the Americas and we found civilised and welcoming people. They welcomed us but we abused and insulted them. We killed them in their millions, took the property, over the years we have refused to do what is good and right. But God has now visited our minds and hearts and we now want to appologise to all of them name by name.

We appologise to the Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom for the atrocities that we committed unto them. We appologise for taking their king-Kabalega and exiling him to Kisimayo in the Seychelles Islands. We appologise for taking their artefacts. We know that the damage we occasioned to them cannot be compensated but offering merely as a token of our appreciation and attornment for our sins which are otherwise unforgivable and in trillion of United States dollars. We want them to say that (applause….). We want them to move out of Bunyoro and go to Buganda and say we confused you a little but ultimately we also punished you and go to Tooro and ask for forgiveness.

Come to Kenya and tell the sons and descendants of Mau Mau. Go to South Africa, Zambia and Benin Empire and to the Yoruba and Igbo and Hausa and Fulani and Wolof-the French to do that and they appologise.

It is not going to be easy because they have pride and arrogance and cannot do that. But even the ghost of arrogance can be exorcised if we pray hard enough and we will help them to exorcise by being wise.

It is you Banyoro who will remind us that Lake Albert was Mwitanzige which means that the locusts cannot cross; they die there.

This time round the British will not cross and I’m also happy that God in his majestic wisdom has given Bunyoro oil. Not to be discovered, it was always there. But for oil to be available at this time in history and that oil if we used it well is going to change lives and I hope it will! Of the people of this area of Bunyoro. I look forward to the day when after that oil has been extracted that every home and hamlet in Bunyoro has gas and shall nolonger use wood.

I look forward to the day when that oil has been refined, the proceeds will be so well utilised that your schools and roads will be so good, roads will be so good, retirement schemes, retirement will be so good and infant and maternal mortality will reduce.

Not only Bunyoro but also in the whole of Uganda and East Africa. And that oil will find its way to South Sudan, Kenya, DR Congo and Burundi and will be consumed there and Bunyoro are its good custodians.

I look forward to a heart so generous to the government of the Republic of Uganda that they shall work with Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom so very intimately that my good friend Omukama and President Yoweri Museveni shall be a good midwife.

And the role of a midwife is very simple; to ensure that the mother and child are well and everybody is happy at the end of the day

And if that is the truth it is not proper that I invite my friend, Dr. Wallace Williams to say something about how that oil has been utilized in different parts of the world and created goodness and joy.

Wallace Williams;

From today, consider me a son of the soil of the kingdom. My role today on the benefits of oil and gas in Uganda and the kingdom is how to utilise it for the benefit of the people.

I will just give an example of what we did in Trinidad and Tobago. Our founding father Dr. Eric Eustace Williams (first Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago), said, I quote “we will not with the hydrocarbons that we have become citizens of the door” which means to wait for handouts. When you wait for handouts, you become lazy and what happens is that you do nothing and wait until they say this is what you will get.

We decided that we will not be on the door and we will be part of the value chain-all aspects of oil and gas in the country of Trinidad and Tobago.

I must tell you that your President Yoweri Museveni recognises that and he came to our country years ago and our President (Anthony Carmona) said: We will help you. Send your people, we will train them. We will also come and send experts here to assist and that needs to carry on as we move forward.

I’m a Professor of gas and Gaspreneurship at the federal university of Petroleum and I would like to talk to the legacy holder of the University and those who are setting up the university on how we will be able to collaborate but that will be something to talk about interms of MOU.

Yes you have the oil and associated gas which is the future of any oil producing country and gas is the future to drive industrialisation, electricity and benefits that will accrue to as a kingdom and those in your surroundings including the lands that are shared.

Our brothers are not our enemies as Professor Lumumba has said, they are our brothers and first and foremost let us negotiate and share the benefits that accrue to us here in Uganda.

Some lessons from our experience that enabled us to transform our country from a net importer of oil and energy to a major exporter of natural gas and its dividends.

Uganda has recently discovered significant natural gas reserves in the Albertine Graben region which is a great opportunity for Uganda to diversify its energy mix, create jobs, generate revenue and foster industrial development.

There is no reason why you can’t be a net exporter of methanol, urea, fertilizer driven by oil and gas. 

It also comes with many challenges such as how to develop the gas infrastructure, attract investments, manage the environment and social and ensure that benefits are shared equally, equitably on all the shareholders.

Which also includes your neighbours and your brothers. Let me start by giving you some interactions between Uganda and Trinidad and Tobago in the oil and gas field. Some of those interactions were a visit by President Museveni to Trinidad and Tobago, and his understanding that Trinidad and Tobago has 120 plus years of experience and expertise in oil.

Over 60 years plus in gas and accepting that we as brothers can share that experience and expertise and we did and we began and we will continue to do.

Our expertise we can help you to develop and produce the benefits from this resource. Uganda’s oil and gas sector is poised for significant growth in the coming years as the country prepares to start commercial production at an estimated 6.5 billion barrels of oil reserves.

According to the international trade administration, only 1.4 billion barrels are considered economically recoverable and is located on the western border of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The main players in the sector are TotalEnergies and CNOOC Uganda Limited which have licenses to develop resources in partnership with Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC).

The sector’s involvement will require substantial infrastructure development and investment such as a refinery and I’m happy to hear that the President of Uganda is sticking to a model refining the oil.

This is absolutely the way to go and there is no way you can’t set up model refineries here, train local residents in all those regions and they get the benefits of being able to learn along the value chain how to run a refinery.

And instead of having a big monolithic-large refinery you are sharing the experience and expertise among model refineries where if something happens to a major refinery, you are done with maintenance and you cannot produce and your production slows down.

The idea of a model refinery is that even if you have three or four refineries within an area you can still continue to produce even if you are maintaining one or two.

So, if we don’t act on your refinery and two central processing facilities that you have planned and a 1,445 kilometre heated pipeline that will transport crude oil from Uganda to Tanzania.

What I also want to say to you is, let us also look at how we can imbibe cooperatives in the environment to transport gas between the countries and within the country.

We have a faculty in Nigeria where I’m the professor of Gaspreneurship where we talk about virtual pipeline transportation and this is an area where the economies and the benefits from gas can be to the advantage of all those in the areas that produce oil and gas.

You can have them trained as cooperatives and they will be inter-carrying gas across borders within the country and they are cooperating-they are trained to transport gas.

If you are thinking of building a gas pipeline which will come eventually and for 5 to ten 10 you can benefit from that resource.

The financial of the final investment decision (FID) signed in February 2022 which gave the way for construction to begin. The FID for the refinery is expected in mid this year and will cost $10b.

There are benefits to come from looking at monopolising and monitising your gas resource because it is that the oil is the only scarce because it has a finite time, 20 years maybe but think of what the Arabs have done-they have diversified.

Yesterday, we were suggesting to the Kingdom Prime Minister that what we think can be done here is that you can send people back to the land.

Don’t allow foreigners to come and take your land and again we talked about land being the issue.

Let the government give the land to our youths. Let them concentrate on a specific product whether tomatoes or pumpkins and then they aggregate that in a cooperative society, you pay them, they have a house with two bedrooms and they can extend and when they grow their families and they are back on the land and making use of the land.

So, diversify, make use of the land to monitise and to grow your population. Grow your youths. Take them away from bodabodas and streets.

Let them go back on the land because the time is now. The Indians or anyone else is coming here and taking over arable land across Africa because they realise the benefits of agricultural potential on the continent.

The oil and gas sector is expected to generate significant revenues for Uganda and create employment and business opportunities for local companies and communities.

The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) requires all firms to seek and participate in the sector and to register on the national supplier database which is important.

Get trained, and get to understand where the gaps are. What we did in Trinidad and Tobago we discovered that Europeans said they will bring a welder, bag carrier-they are sulking the money out.

We decided to fix the gaps, train with the energy skill centre and have a university so that it is focused on filling all the gaps in the oil and gas sector, its human capital development and that is what we need to do.

Service companies should learn rigging gas, underwater welding and all aspects of the value chain of the oil and gas industry.

This is rocket science. You look at the gaps and break their expertise chain by training your own.

The sectors have several challenges and risks such as environmental gaps, social conflicts, governance issues and global market dynamics but if you aggregate together as East Africa for all your resources.

You can create your own markets within Africa.  The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is what we should look at inwardly.

We can generate our own resources within Africa. Let global markets have their dynamics while we train among ourselves.

The sector will also have implications for Uganda’s biodiversity and climate change commitments but we can make good of it.

Involves clearing large sizes of land and emitting of gasses, oil spills and leads but let us look at how we can take care of those impacts on our own environment because we don’t want the cases like in Ogoni land in Nigeria where oil companies to affect people’s living due to oil spills.

Put down environmental laws to make sure that if they are doing partnerships with the government they will respect all laws and our environment.

We have to contend with the volatility of oil prices and the growing pressure to shift to renewable energy sources in line with the global green agenda.

But when you see it is to their advantage like there is war and they are not getting gas and they are not getting energy and what did they do, they switched back to oil that they said was emitting carbon emissions and you must stop because they want to control the energy source that you have and monitise it themselves.

Let us also monitise the oil and gas. It is therefore important for Uganda to adopt its strategic and sustainable approach to developing its oil and gas sector.

Harnessing the economic benefits, social and environmental costs they are crucial Uganda to diversify its sector such as agriculture which is a big sector and more successful.

Avoid overdependence on oil resources. It’s a finite and unpredictable resource.

I thank you.


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