Opinion
Objectively Assess Sir Samuel Baker
Publish Date: Mar 06, 2014
newvision
  • mail
  • img

By Kintu Nyago

Omukama Chwa Kabalega certainly turned in his grave, when amidst pomp, it was announced that Sir Samuel Baker’s “good work” was to annually be celebrated in Uganda through festivities organised by his descendants and Britain’s Royal Geographical Society.

Baker is reputed to have amongst others discovered Lake Mwitanzige, which he christened Albert after Queen Victoria’s husband, and stopped the Arab slave trade, in parts of South Sudan and northern Uganda.

Uganda happens to be a country without an officially sanctioned body of political historiography that objectively captures our past to enable the present generation and posterity to learn from it and build a better future.

Consequently an “everything goes” scenario depicts our history interpretations. And we have nearly as many interpretations as interpreters of our history! Which in turn is likely to lead us into a Bourbon-like situation of learning and forgetting nothing, from our traumatic history.

Baker’s Ugandan mission was not aimed at furthering philanthropy. Rather he had been dispatched by the Egyptian Khedive to colonise Uganda with literal powers of life and death.

He was a controversial figure, a racist who thought Africans were sub human. And according to Gulu University scholar, Charles Amone, Baker made a fortune through cheating Africans.

This by engaging in unequal trade whereby he exchanged with them beads and tricklets for ivory and other valuable treasures! 

Regarding Baker’s colonising Uganda project, in 1872, as Governor General of Equatorial Province in South Sudan, he attacked Bunyoro-Kitara and declared it  part of Egypt.

Characteristically, Kabalega resisted this arrogance, organised his less equipped forces and defeated Baker’s Egyptians at Masindi, however, but not after they had committed enormous atrocities and mayhem.  This leading to Kabalega’s reputed reference to Baker as a blood sucking vampire!

The humiliated Baker was a prolific writer who avenged himself on Kabalega by portraying him, in the influential British media, as a treacherous barbarian. This image was to influence British policy on Bunyoro, in the aftermath of the Scramble for Africa. 

Rather than propagating a revisionist version of our history, those planning the above mentioned Baker festivities, should attempt to provide an objective assessment of this personality. Pointing out his strengths and indeed the enormous damage he caused to the peoples of this region.

The writer is an Ambassador and Uganda’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Mission, New York.

RELATED ARTICLES

Sir Samuel Baker trail a Godsend  Publish Date: Jan 14 2014 10:57AM
Sir Samuel Baker: keeping us in the world’s mind Publish Date: Dec 09, 2013
UWA to mark 150 years since Sir Samuel Baker visitPublish Date: Feb 10, 2013
Uganda in the eyes of Sir Samuel Baker’s offspringPublish Date: Jan 30, 2013

 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Uganda’s hero doctors without monetary and tribal borders
I shuddered to imagine how my 90 year-old mother and her grandchildren would care for an incontinent patient at home....
Transitional/interim government:  A far-fetched call by Besigye
One daily on May 31, 2015, published an article headlined, “Col. Besigye calls for interim government in 2016”....
Can sh23.9 trillion budget deliver the expected development in Uganda?
The theme for the financial Year 2015/16 budget is ‘maintaining infrastructure investment and promoting excellence in public service delivery of Uganda’s economy’....
We must resist camp politics
From the time rumours started circulating about former prime minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi’s presidential ambitions, a lot has changed in the NRM party, with various factions emerging to show solidarity and campaign for Mbabazi, who recently went public about his bid....
President Museveni emerged triumphant as opposition camp further disintegrates before 2016
President Yoweri Museveni has emerged triumphant after a week of dramatic political events in northern Uganda....
Prof. Baryamureeba’s ‘12-Issues Programme’ for 2016-2021
The 2016 Presidential election offers us all an opportunity to choose progress. As a new face in the politics of the presidency, I breathe new life into our beloved country....
Do you think Ugandan graduates are the worst in the region?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter