Explanatory Memorandum Issued By The Namirembe Conference

1. The Agreed Recommendations of the Namirembe Conference are a short document, but they embody three months of intense thought and discussion. The work fell into two stages:

(1) from 24th June to 28th July, during which time the Buganda Constitutional Committee met alone under the chairmanship of Professor Hancock and with Mr. S. A. de Smith. The Buganda Constitutional Committee consisted of:

Mr. M. MupVanya, Omulamuzi.
Bishop J. Kiwanuka.
Mr. A. K. Kironde.
Dr. E. Kalibala.
Mr. E. M. K. Mulira.
Mgr. J. Kasule.
Mr. T. A. K. Makumbi.
Fr. J. K. Masagazi.
Mr. Y. K. Lule.
Mr. J. G. Sengendo-Zake.
Mr. Y. Kyaze.
Mr. J. P. Musoke, Saza Chief, Kyambalango.
Mr. E. Z. Kibuka-Secretary.

The Committee also held meetings at Mengo under the chairmanship of Mr. M. Mugwanya, Omulamuzi.

(2) from 30th July to 17th September, during which time the Committee held discussions with the Governor and two members of his Executive Council, Mr. J. P. Birch, the Resident, and Mr. S. W. Kulubya.

These meetings, which were also under the chairmanship of Professor Hancock, were called the Namirembe Conference. Forty-nine, meetings in all were held under the chairmanship of Professor Hancock.

2. The forty-nine Articles which make up the recommendations are not the report of an aloof expert or body of experts. They are the agreed proposals of men closely concerned with the public life of Buganda and the Protectorate. By signing the Articles the Governor has undertaken to recommend them to Her Majesty's Government and the Buganda Constitutional Committee has undertaken to recommend them to the body from which it derives its authority, namely the Great Lukiko.

3. The Articles are divided into the following chapters: -

Chapter I- Constitutional Arrangements in Buganda.

Chapter II- Relationship of Buganda with the Protectorate.

Chapter III-Citizenship.

Chapter IV- Administration of Justice and Local Administration in Buganda.

Chapter V- Review.

Chapter VI- Uganda Agreement. 1900.

Chapters III, V and VI each consist of one Article only; Chapters I and II contain the greatest number of articles.


4. Article 1 declares that the Kingdom of Buganda under the Kabaka's Government shall continue as heretofore to be an integral part of the Protectorate of Uganda. Article 2 declares that the term "Buganda Government", wherever it is used shall bear the same meaning as "Kabaka's Government". The Articles immediately following emphasise the monarchical constitution of Buganda and the traditional status of the Kabaka.

5. In recent years political development has been going forward in Buganda and the Great Lukiko now has a majority of elected members. The Conference has had to consider how to safeguard the dignity of the Kabaka's office in these circumstances. The Buganda Constitutional Committee decided to recommend that this should be done by placing responsibility for the conduct of public affairs in the hands of the Kabaka's Ministers so that if mistakes are made, the Ministers and not the Kabaka himself will bear the responsibility for them. Articles 8 to 11 lay down the methods and procedures by which this purpose is achieved. Each Minister will be individually responsible for the conduct of policy in his own department and the Ministry will together be responsible for the acts of the Kabaka's Government.

6. The Kabaka will formally appoint the Ministry by handing the Ddamula to the Katikiro, in accordance with custom, and by handing to each Minister the seal of his office. Before formal appointment takes place, however, certain things must be done to ensure that the Ministers will be men who possess the confidence of the country. Article 13 establishes a procedure which may appear at first sight to be rather, complicated but in practice the procedure will prove easy to understand and to work.. The Lukiko elects the Governor approves, the Kabaka appoints the Ministry.

7. The arrangements recommended in Article 13 for the formation of a Ministry suit the conditions of the present time, in which political parties are still unformed or in a very early stage of formation. But the arrangements will also remain workable when political parties have been firmly established. However, if and when that time comes, it will be open to the Protectorate and Buganda Governments to consider together whether a different system should be established of finding a Ministry which possesses the confidence of the Lukiko.

8. Great care has been taken to ensure stability of Government. Under the recommendations, a Ministry, like the Lukiko itself, will be appointed for five years. During this period an individual Minister can be dismissed by the Kabaka or the Katikiro only in exceptional cases. Only in exceptional cases (Articles 15 and 16) can a Ministry be obliged to tender its resignation to the Kabaka or be dismissible by the Governor in Council. The former contingency would arise if the Ministry were defeated on a motion of no confidence in an important matter by a two-thirds majority of the whole Lukiko. The latter contingency would arise if a Ministry failed to accept or to act upon formal advice tendered to it by the Governor in Council, thereby endangering peace, order or good government. The Articles in Chapter II establish a new system of consultation between the Protectorate and Buganda Governments, which will in practice enable them to iron out any difficulties and differences, thus making it unlikely that a situation could arise in which the Governor in Council would have to consider tendering formal advice.

9. The Ministers, in assuming responsibility for the conduct of policy of the Buganda Government, will require the support of a strong civil service; and each of the Ministers will be assisted by a Permanent Secretary (Article 19). Permanent Secretaries and all other civil servants must have both security of tenure and the freedom to carry out their administrative duties without political interference, subject of course to the control of Ministers in matters of policy. It is most important that the appointment, transfer, dismissal and. disciplinary control of civil servants should be free from all danger or suspicion of political pressure or influence. For this reason these matters are put into the hands of an Appointments Board, to be appointed by the Kabaka on the advice of the Katikiro and with the approval of the Governor (Articles 21 to 23). The Appointments Board will act in accordance with Regulations drawn up by agreement between the Protectorate and Buganda Governments and will have the power to make decisions on appointments and the other matters concerned. The appointments Board will be under the chairmanship of the Permanent Secretary to the Katikiro, who will be the Head of the Buganda Civil Service. It will have four other members experienced in public affairs, but not actively engaged in politics. Appointments of Chiefs and Permanent Secretaries to departments will be made by the Kabaka in accordance with the decisions of the Appointments Board, the Governor's approval being required only in the case of Permanent Secretaries, although such approval will not be withheld save in exceptional circumstances.

10. These arrangements for public administration in Buganda will ensure continuity with the past. The Saza, Gombolola and Miruka Chiefs will remain the backbone of public administration and will be given the support of the Protectorate Police which they require for the fulfillment of their responsibilities (Article 24). At the same time the departments of the Kabaka's Government at Mengo (including the three new ones that will be set up in fulfilment of the policy agreed upon in March, 1953) will have the reliable staff which they need for the performance of their responsibilities in the future. In Article 42 in Chapter II the Protectorate Government recognises the need for adequate remuneration of. Buganda Government servants in order that officers of the right calibre may be attracted.

11. The Kabaka's Government needs to be efficient. It needs also to keep in close touch with the Lukiko which has elected it and whose confidence it must strive to retain. Members of the Lukiko themselves have a contribution to make in the formation of policy on such important subjects as finance, education, health, local government, etc. For this reason, Article 27 makes provision for committees of the Lukiko which will meet under the chairmanship of the appropriate Minister and have attached to them the administrative and technical officers who are required for their efficient working. These committees will be advisory. They will in no way detract from the individual responsibility of Ministers for the conduct of policy in their departments or from the general responsibility of the Ministry as a whole. At the same time they will be an effective means both of keeping Ministers in touch with the needs and wishes of the people and of giving elected members of the Lukiko practical knowledge of the business of government.

12. The Buganda Constitutional Committee thought that, while the position of civil servants in the Lukiko would have to be reviewed at the appropriate time, it would be premature at present to make any change in the composition and method of election of the Lukiko. The Conference did however, recommend (Article 25) that certain points (the number of members representing each saza and the question whether persons not resident in a saza might be elected) should be examined before the next general election. The appointment of a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker, to be elected by the Lukiko is recommended in Article 26.

13. No alteration at all is made in the traditional dignities and ceremonies of the Kingdom of Buganda. The effect of the Articles in Chapter I is to reconcile the high status of the Kabaka with the conduct of a Ministry answerable to a mainly elected Lukiko. Article 4 recognises the Kabaka as the symbol of unity of the people of Buganda and of continuity between their past, present and future. The other Articles which have been explained above raise the Kabaka above the turmoil and danger of political conflict. New conditions are established which bring the principles of monarchy and democracy into harmony.

14. It is essential that these conditions shall be clearly understood and accepted by all the parties concerned. To make certain of this, Article 29 provides for a Solemn Engagement which every Kabaka will henceforward enter into with the Great Lukiko and the people of Buganda and with Her Majesty's Government. Article 30 follows in logic and provides that so long as the Kabaka shall observe his Solemn Engagement, Her Majesty's Government agrees to recognise the Kabaka as the ruler of the Kingdom of Buganda.


15. The Agreement of 1900 recognised a sphere of operation belonging to, the Buganda Government; but this sphere was largely determined by customs of the past. Most of the big changes that have taken place since then in education, medical services, commercial organisation and economic development have belonged to the sphere of Protectorate policy. The Buganda Government and the Lukiko have remained in general concerned with the old order of things, while the Protectorate Government and the Legislative Council have been concerned with the new order of things. Yet this new order of things is of immense importance to every Muganda in his day-to-day tasks of earning a living, bringing up his children and equipping them to make the best of their opportunities in a rapidly changing world.

16. The Conference has considered this state of affairs and recognised that there are three needs. In the first place the Buganda Government and the Lukiko must have a substantial place in the new order as well as in the old order. In the second place there must be intimate contact and consultation between the Buganda Government and the Protectorate Government. In the third place the Protectorate Government and the Legislative Council must become increasingly representative of the people of the country both in Buganda and throughout the Protectorate. This last process cannot be completed immediately; time must be left for growth and change. Nevertheless it is possible to do something immediate and practical to carry the process forward and to make people confident that, when it is completed, the process will have the results which they desire.

17. The Articles in Chapter I, which have been described already, are a guarantee that the Kingdom of Buganda, while remaining deeply rooted in its own customs and culture, will be in a position to play an increasing part in the new order of things in the Protectorate. Chapter II describes how it will play that part. Article 30 reaffirms the arrangement made with the Protectorate Government in March, 1953, whereby important new functions will be taken over by the Buganda Government. It also makes provision whereby the division of functions may be varied from time to time by agreement between the two Governments.

18. Article 31 provides that the Buganda Government shall administer the services for which it is responsible in accordance with the general policy of the Protectorate Government; subject to this proviso, it will initiate policy within its sphere of operation. At the same time, it will be given new opportunities for bringing its influence to bear upon the policies of the Protectorate.

19. Articles 32 and 33 establish important new procedures through which this influence will be exercised. From henceforward Ministers and permanent officials of the two Governments will be in close touch with each other through Consultative Committees for education, local government and community development, medical and health questions and natural resources. On the Buganda side the Lukiko itself will have a part to play in this process of consultation because each committee will include two or three elected members of the Lukiko. (the committees will discuss all matters of common interest and will enable the Buganda Government to express its views on Protectorate policy. Normally they will prevent conflicts of policy arising between the two Governments. If nevertheless any serious difference should arise between them beyond the competence of a single Consultative Committee to solve, it will be referred to a joint meeting of the members of the Proteatorate Executive Council and the Buganda Government under the chairmanship of the Governor (Article 37). Only if all these processes of consultation fail to (produce agreement -which appears a very unlikely contingency- will it be open to the Governor in Council to give formal advice to the Buganda Government (Article 38).

20. The Protectorate Government will help the Buganda Government and the people of Buganda in their progress forward, through the advice given by Protectorate officers (Article 36), through the inspection of the services transferred to the Buganda Government (Article 34) and through the secondment of Protectorate officers to the Buganda Government (Article 35). The Resident (Article 39) will continue to be the Governor's representative with the Kabaka's Government. Senior Assistant Residents and Assistant Residents (Article 40) will have a specially important part to play in advising and assisting the Chiefs, and through them the Councils, in the development under the Buganda Government of local government bodies in the sazas, along the lines envisaged by the Memorandum of March, 1953, and in accordance. with a programme to be drawn up by the two Governments in consultation. When these local government bodies have been firmly established and the powers of running local services have been handed to them by the Buganda Government, it is the aim of policy that the function of guiding and inspecting them should be assumed by the Buganda Government itself, with whatever secondment of Protectorate Government officers may at that time be necessary. The progress achieved in local government will be reviewed (as well as all the other subjects dealt with in these Articles) six years from the time when the Articles come into force, to determine whether the Buganda Government should then assume this responsibility. Meanwhile steps will be taken as soon as is practicable to appoint suitably qualified Baganda as Assistant Residents so that these officers may be among those to be seconded or transferred to the Buganda Government when this responsibility is assumed by the Buganda Government.

21. The financial needs of Buganda will be reviewed by the two Governments periodically (Article 42) so that protectorate grants to Buganda may be on a firm basis for periods of at least three years. This Article also proposes that the poll tax payable to the Protectorate Government should be reduced to 6s. per year and that revenue from Crown land and minerals under Crown land should be payable to the Buganda Government on the same basis as in other parts of the Protectorate. The Protectorate Government will re-examine the status of Crown land in Buganda.

22. While these changes are taking place in the structure of the Buganda Government and in its relations with the Protectorate Government, equally important changes will be under way in the Protectorate Government itself and in the Legislative Council. These changes are announced in the statement made by the Governor which is issued as a separate document and also printed with the Agreed Recommendations as Appendix B. This statement deals not simply with Buganda, but with the whole Protectorate.

23. In his Statement the Governor first refers to the declaration by the Secretary of State for the Colonies in the House of Commons on the 23rd February, 1954, that "the long-term aim of H.M. Government is to build the Protectorate into a self-governing state" and that "when self-government is achieved the government of the country will be mainly in the hands of Africans." The Governor then describes the ultimate aim of constitutional development in Uganda as a responsible Government answerable to an elected Legislature of the whole Protectorate, with proper safeguards in the constitution for the rights of the minority communities resident in Uganda.

24. The Governor goes on to describe the recommendations which he proposes to make to the Secretary of State as an immediate step towards this eventual aim. These are designed first to associate representatives of the public more closely with the Executive Government of the country, and secondly to increase the African membership on the Legislative Council.

25. With regard to the Executive the Governor proposes that a Ministerial system should be introduced; and that seven members of the public, of whom five would be Africans, should be invited to join the Government and to sit on the Government side of the Legislative Council; these seven persons would be selected by the Governor. Out of the seven, five, of whom three would be Africans, would become members of the Executive Council with the status of Ministers. Of these five Ministers, two -one African and one other- would have full executive responsibility under the Governor for groups of departments and one, an African, while he would be a full member of Executive Council, would be an Assistant Minister dealing under the Minister concerned with the large portfolio of Social Services covering Education, Health, African Housing and Labour. In addition there would be two African Parliamentary Under-Secretaries. There would be nine official members of the Executive Council as against ten at present of whom six or seven would have Ministerial status. The membership of the Council, including the Governor, would thus be fifteen, with nine official members other than the Governor, and three Africans and two others drawn from the general public, as against one African and four others at present. The Executive Council would be the principal instrument of policy and the members would be required publicly to support any policy decided upon by it.

26. The Legislative Council was enlarged early in 1954 and now has fifty-six instead of thirty-two members in addition to the Governor as President. There are twenty African members on the Council as against eight in the previous Council: The Governor now proposes to increase the membership of the Legislative Council to sixty, of whom half would be Africans.

27. On the representative side of the Council the Governor proposes that instead of fourteen Africans, seven Asians and seven Europeans, there should be eighteen Africans, six Asians and six Europeans. Of the four new African seats two should go to Buganda, provided that the Great Lukiko agrees that Buganda should participate fully in the Legislative Council through elected members. This would increase the number of representative members from Buganda from three to five; in order to make this possible the present European and Asian representative members have stated their willingness each to give up one of their seven seats, the two members concerned transferring to the Government side of the Council on what is at present the cross-bench. One of the other new African seats will go to Busoga, the district with the largest African population outside Buganda; this will be on the assumption that the Busoga District Council will agree to elect members for the Legislative Council. The further new African seat will go to one of the most heavily populated districts outside Buganda.

28. On the Government side of the Council the number of official members would be reduced from seventeen to ten or eleven. The Government side would also include the seven members of the public, five Ministers and two Parliamentary Under-Secretaries, who would join the Government as explained above. In all the Governor proposes that there should be twelve Africans on the Government side of the Council. With the introduction of a substantial element drawn from the general public on to what has hitherto been the official part of the Council the Governor sees no reason for the retention of the cross-bench in its present form and proposes that it should be converted into a Government back-bench, the members still being free as at present to speak and vote as they like except on a motion of confidence.

29. On East African federation the Governor quotes the solemn assurance given by H.M. Government in November, 1953, the last sentence of which reads as follows:

"But Her Majesty's Government can and does say that, unless there is a substantial change in public opinion in the Protectorate, including that of the Baganda, the inclusion of the Protectorate in an East African federation will remain outside the realm of practical politics even in the more distant future."

The Governor proposes to recommend to the Secretary of' State that it should be laid down now that, should the occasion ever arise in the future to ascertain public opinion in terms of this pledge, the Protectorate Government would at that time consult fully with the Buganda Government and the other Authorities throughout the country as to the best method of ascertaining public opinion.

30. The Buganda Constitutional Committee has studied the Governor's Statement carefully and, in the light of the Governor's recommendations to Her Majesty's Government and of the pledge on East African federation referred to in the statement, has recommended in Article 43 that the Great Lukiko should agree to the representation of Buganda on the Legislative Council of the Protectorate. The Committee has also recommended that the representatives of Buganda should. be elected by the Lukiko by secret ballot.


31. Chapter III contains only one Article. It deals with the question of citizenship, a complicated matter which concerns all the countries of the British Commonwealth. Article 44 recommends that Her Majesty's Government shall be requested to consider creating a common citizenship for Uganda. Examination of this recommendation must be in the first place a matter for the Colonial Office, but if and when the work proceeds the principle underlying it will be discussed in Uganda also.

32. Articles 45 and 46 recommend that the work of separating the Judiciary from the Executive in Buganda should be proceeded with immediately and that a committee including legal experts should be appointed to examine means by which the court system in Buganda can be gradually developed into a system of courts in which no distinction will be made between persons of different races or between the inhabitants of urban and rural areas.

33. Article 47 the Conference propose that a representative committee should be set up to consider as a question of urgency the establishment of a new local authority, under the Buganda Government, for the administration of the Kibuga. This authority should it is suggested include representatives of, and have jurisdiction for local government purposes over all sections of the community resident in the Kibuga. The Article goes on to recommend that the committee should later report on the establishment of local authorities representing all sections of the community in townships and trading centres in Buganda other than Kampala, Entebbe, Masaka and possibly Mubende, and should advise on the means of bringing such local authorities under the Buganda Government.

34. In Article 48 the Conference recommends that, in order to secure a period of stability for the country, no major changes in the constitutional arrangements proposed in the Articles should be introduced for a period of six years, after which there should be a review. The Article makes it clear that the review would be in 1961, assuming that the proposals of the Conference are brought into force in 1955. This six-year period of stability, to be followed by a review, is also provided for in the Governor's Statement about the Executive and Legislative Councils of the Protectorate.

35. The Conference expressed the hope during its meetings that the Agreed Recommendations may be accepted without undue delay by the Great Lukiko and Her Majesty's Government and that the Articles may come into effect as soon as the necessary legal instruments have been agreed and in any case not later than, the 1st July, 1955. It was the understanding of the Conference that as soon as the Articles come into effect a new Ministry should be appointed in accordance with the procedure proposed in Article 13, for the remainder of the life of the present Lukiko. Article 14 recommends that the life of the present Lukiko should be extended from four to five years.

36. Finally Article 49 proposes that the Uganda Agreement, 1900, should be amended to the extent necessary to give effect to the recommendations of the Conference, but should otherwise continue in its present form.

37. The Agreed Recommendations of the Namirembe Conference are closely interrelated with one another. It was the understanding of the Buganda Constitutional Committee, of the Governor and of Professor Hancock that these Agreed Recommendations would be considered and decided upon as a whole by the Great Lukiko and Her Majesty's Government.

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