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
Key gaps in the national environment regulations
Uganda since 2005 has discovered huge oil reserves in the Albertine graben amounting to more than 3.5 billion barrels of oil....
Commend Bigirimana for his fight against corruption
I wish to start my article with a quote about corruption from Frank Serpio: The fight for justice against corruption is never easy and never will be. It exacts a toll on ourselves, our families, our friends and especially our children. In the end, I believe as is in my case, the price we pay is we...
Act cautiously on UPDF allegations in Somalia
On the November 6, 2014, one daily newspaper carried a story of UPDF officers who have been suspended for suspected ‘sexual’ offences while on tour of duty in Somalia....
Importance of agriculture
Promoting Agricultural entrepreneurship among the youth” was/is this year’s theme for the 2014 /2015 Miss Uganda pageants....
Utilize sms technology to enhance service delivery in Uganda
The short message service (sms) is a text messaging service component of phone, web or mobile communication systems. It uses standardized communications protocols to allow fixed line or mobile phone devices to exchange short text messages....
Every child in Uganda deserves a quality education
Highly skilled human capital, or put otherwise, “skills per capita” of a country, is one of the surest preconditions for achieving development goals. It is needless to emphasise that high quality human capital is positively correlated with a country’s productivity....
Should Govt lease parts of Lake Victoria to private developers?
Its Ok
No Way
Not Sure
follow us
subscribe to our news letter