For the past week, young East Africans have been sharing an article from a very old unidentified newspaper indicating how a large chunk of land was removed from part of Uganda and awarded to Kenya.
The excitement about this colonial article has proved to many Kenyans especially those in Kisumu and Naivasha regions that they are originally Ugandans.
Although Ugandans and Kenyans have less interaction save for only cross border trading, the article has shed more light that indeed there is more biological connection between the two neighbouring countries.
Published under the byline of one Faustin Mugabe, the article is titled; ‘Kisumu Naivasha Transferred From Uganda to Kenya’. The article has been going around in circles in thousands of whatsapp groups and triggering a range of nationalistic arguments.
The Uganda order-in-council 1902 was signed at the court of Buckingham Palace in England. The document, also known as the Uganda Protectorate Order-in-Council, 1902, officially transferred from Uganda the Kisumu and Naivasha territory to the East African Protectorate, now Kenya.
However, the discussion had been made earlier in May by Lord Lansdowne, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs by Order of Secretary of State No. 15 of 1902.
“In part the proclamations: “And whereas His Majesty has been pleased to direct that the territories hitherto known as eastern Province of the Uganda Protectorate shall form part of the East African Protectorate, I do hereby order that from April 1, 1902 inclusive, the said territories shall be deemed to be within the limits of the East Africa Order-in-Council, 1897 and shall be known as the Kisumu and Naivasha Provinces,” reads part of the article.
For many Ugandans, the article has completely changed their view of President Idi Amin Dada who during his tenure had officially informed Kenya that he was going to expand Uganda to its 1900 boundaries that would return back Kisumu and Naivasha.
Among his titles bestowed upon himself personally was the title of Conqueror of the British Empire- presumably strengthening his intentions to reclaim Uganda’s lost territories.
Kenya sent a stern warning against President Amin saying should he dare with his adventures, would be met with fire and fury. President Jomo Kenyatta had officially entered in war with President Amin.
The two countries began engaging in cutthroat espionage as each assessed the strength of the other in preparation for any possible war.
An opportunity came on July 3rd, 1976 when President Amin facilitated by granting safe landing at Entebbe airport for a plane hijacked by two Palestinians. The plane was carrying 106 hostages including many Israelis.
Israel quickly planned a deadly rescue mission of the hostages but there was a big challenge that Amin had a very strong air force. The only option was to use Kenya, Tanzania to carefully execute the rescue mission.
A Kenyan Agriculture Minister Bruce Roy McKenzie believed to have been an agent for British, South African or Israeli intelligence presented an urgent proposal to President Jomo Kenyatta.
Bruce persuaded Kenyatta to permit Mossad to collect intelligence prior to the rescue operation, and to allow the Israeli Air Force access to the Nairobi airport.
Kenyatta was helpful and nodded to the proposal because at that time Amin was giving him sleepless nights because of the plans to grab back Kisumu and Naivasha.
Before the operation, Bruce assisted a Mossad agent to fly a small spy plane to Entebbe and took aerial photographs of the airport installations and parked fighter jets which were later bombed to ashes by the Israeli troops in the raid.
After the raid, Amin was so furious that almost a quarter of his airforce had been decimated by the Israeli para commandos and rescued 102 hostages.
Later Amin collected intelligence that Kenya had been tactically involved in the Entebbe raid mission. Life continued after the fracas but Amin had a plan to retaliate.
President Amin’s State Research Bureau external wing gathered that Kenya’s Agriculture Minister Bruce Roy McKenzie was the point man for the Israeli commandos.
A bitter President Amin ordered Ugandan agents to assassinate McKenzie.
He was killed on 24 May 1978 when a bomb attached to his aircraft exploded. The bomb was reportedly concealed inside either a mounted antelope head or a carved wooden statue in the form of a lion’s head McKenzie had been presented as a gift from Idi Amin just prior to the flight.
Later, Mossad Chief Director Meir Amit had a forest planted in Israel in McKenzie’s name.