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
Namugongo Museum: Uganda’s architecture too needs Martyrs
For their refusal to renounce Christianity, thirty-two young men of the Catholic and Anglican faiths were – on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II of Buganda – burned to death on June 3, 1886 at Namugongo ....
Rank stupidity?
Blaise Cronin is Professor Emeritus of Information Science at Indiana University Bloomington, and Honorary Professor at City University London....
Uganda’s traffic woes
When you want to know that Uganda’s traffic system is dead, try walking through the ZEBRA Crossing....
The years of living tactically
We have been living in an illusion. For years, the world has believed that the transition from a unipolar to a multipolar order would be peaceful, orderly, and steady, with new players like China, Brazil, and Turkey adapting to the existing multilateral framework in a natural, harmonious way. How w...
Mineral certification: The genesis and steps Uganda ought to remember
On December 15, 2010, Uganda endorsed the ICGLR Lusaka Declaration adopting six tools to fight Illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Great Lakes Region....
The resistible return of Nicolas Sarkozy
Former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson once said that a week is a very long time in politics. If that is true, France’s 2017 presidential election is an eternity away, and any speculation at this point is premature, even imprudent....
Should the absence of bride price prevent couples from wedding?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter