Before 1893, there was not such a country in the world known as Uganda. It was in 1893 when Britain offered a charter to a commercial company by the name “Imperial British East Africa Company”
By Kajabago- Ka –Rusoke
This is to assist the young generation and cadres who have not been exposed to a correct political order of their own country.
Before 1893, there was not such a country in the world known as Uganda. It was in 1893 when Britain offered a charter to a commercial company by the name “Imperial British East Africa Company” owned by an ex-British soldier called Captain Lugard, to come in East Africa and acquire a territory, which he could use for trade and other money- making purposes. That territory came to be known as Uganda.
This man organised an armed force to conquer a number of nationalities so that he could turn them into a united territory for his economic aims. Some of these territories had kings while some were just under clan heads or chiefs.
Among those with kings were Bunyoro, Buganda, Nkore and Busoga who also possessed stand-by armed forces. His prior preparation for a personal armed force was the suspect that as he could try to conquer, there could be a kind of military resistance on the part of the natives.
These kings had economic relations with Arab traders from the East African Coast, who advised king Kaabaleega of Bunyoro to be careful with the in-coming Europeans as Europeans are not just interested in trade but in annexing land. Kaabaleega became mentally armed to resist the in-coming of the European. Buganda had been contacted earlier by religious British elements in a struggle to turn the natives into followers of Christianity religion. Buganda, therefore, was not resistant to the in-coming white foreigner.
Captain Lugard reinforced his military units with people from southern Sudan to fight Kaabaleega. Kaabaleega was finally captured and exiled to Seychelles, an island group in the western Indian Ocean comprising of a British colony of 156 square miles.
Because of commercial contacts with people from the East African Coast, who spoke a language referred to a Kiswahili and whose reference to any country begins with the letter “U” all nationalities in this area would be referred to as, for example, Bu-ganda, “U-ganda”, Bu-nyoro as “u-nyoro” etc.
Because Buganda had succumbed to colonialism, British colonialists decided to refer to all amalgamated tribes they had conquered under the name “Uganda” which means Buganda in order to please the kabaka of Buganda who accepted them.
It was strictly in 1900 when the British colonial government took over from the company by establishing contexts of rules referred to as Agreements between itself and the kings it had conquered and referring to the entire territory they had conquered as a “protectorate”, meaning that they had not conquered those people, but that they had come to protect them. (Agreement with Bunyoro was in 1933.)
Questions here arise: protect them from what? From Arab traders who were commercially cheating them or put a stop to wars between kings themselves?
Nevertheless the territory changed hands from being a property of a company to a property of a colonising political authority in the hands of the British capitalist class with aims based on economic domination, to be administered through a state apparatus and guarded by military power. Thus became a colony.
Colonialism means a system whereby either a country or, a group of countries, is bound together by military and political ties for economic purposes of a capitalist class of a foreign country. The use of the term protectorate for Uganda is economic – political psychology playing on the minds of those kings they had conquered that they need not fear any external force that may attempt to conquer them while actually they are the very British colonialists themselves who are there and then conquering them.
Funny enough, the colonialists offer those kings chunks of their own native land referring to as mile land in order to make those kings feel that they are special and above their own ordinary citizens more than they were before the arrival of colonialists. So these kings now look at the colonialists as special beings from Heaven. Giving them mile land.
However, is like somebody entering another’s home and offering the owner of that very home the property of that home to its very owner where the very owner kneels and thanks the one offering him that property. Imagine the nature and type of fooling where the kings become a political and economic circus before the colonialists because of the economic and military powers of the colonialists. The kings then were turned into political and economic prefects and tools to conduct their own people to fulfil the economic demands by the colonialists. Mile land was a bribe and the conquered kings began obtaining rent from the native occupants of that land.
This was the beginning of feudalism in Uganda introduced by colonialism. Uganda’s economic system then became both feudal and colonial. Feud is land given as pay to those who support and aid a Nobleman against others. Because kings in Uganda supported colonialism, they were given Mile land and, finally, titles like “Sir” for the same.
“Sir” titles were also offered to British cousins, Francis Drake and John Hawkins, of the 16th Century as successful robbers on seas against the Spanish sailors. They brought wealth to Britain and were knighted “Sirs” by Queen Elizabeth I. These conquered kings in Uganda now ranked with the British robbers on seas over the Spanish in the interest of the British rulers.
The state apparatus of Uganda as a colony was made up of a Governor representing the British monarch. Under him were provincial and district commissioners as well as civil servants. There were also local native authorities headed by the conquered kings and chiefs with councils. Eventually, the Governor established a legislative council composed of members from all districts where each district council would elect one representative to become a member of the central colonial legislature.
Schools and colleges were introduced with the aim of producing a type of a better informed layer out of the population that would match with the gradual growing nature of the colonial socio-economic formation.
It was this layer that eventually outgrew the intended narrow academic boundary by the colonialists and independently transcended the wishes of the colonialists then began looking at the colony politically. Hence the emergence of anti- colonial political organisations, namely parties. The first one was the Uganda National Congress led by the late Ignatius Musazi, Joseph Kiwanuka, Dr.Kunuuka, Milton Obote, and others. This eventually split between Ignatius Musazi and Milton Obote wings.
Finally, Milton Obote branch united with another new one, which had been formed by the late W.W. Rwetsiba naming it Uganda People’s Union now giving rise to Uganda People’s Congress. In the meantime, the Democratic Party was also formed. Eventually one of colony’s provinces, Buganda, under a conquered monarch referred to as Kabaka, formed another party referred to as “Kabaka yekka”, meaning: “Only kabaka”. The term “only” was a reflection of a long standing latent concept for secession, but where secession was really very difficult.
An election was held in 1961 where the Democratic Party taken individually in relation to the Uganda People’s Congress and Kabaka yekka, was a head, Its head, the late Benedict Kiwanuka, was made Chief Minister, but while the entire state apparatus is under the colonial governor.
In 1962, another election took place where again the Democratic Party was above each, UPC and KY taken separately, but where a decision was taken by the UPC and KY to make an alliance and form a government together above the DP. This resulted in Milton Obote being head of government allowed to appoint a cabinet of ministers, but all these under the colonial governor representing the British monarch.
In the same year, a conference was held at Lancaster in London, to work out a scheme of how this colony would be independent. Thus it was agreed that on October 9, 1962, Uganda would become a country headed by the Queen of Britain, with an executive prime minister and cabinet of ministers, have its own Emblem, Coat of Arms, Flag and National Anthem.
All these put together, made Uganda become a country which is politically a British Dominion like Australia, New Zealand and Canada whose head of state up to now is the same head of state of Britain, their former colonial master or mistress. As the British Queen remained in Britain, she appointed a governor general to represent her in Uganda.
It was in 1963 that the Uganda parliament elected the head of Kabaka Yekka Party which was in an alliance with UPC, to become Uganda’s head of state replacing the Queen of Britain and referred to as President. Uganda then, on October 9, 1963, became a republic.
The head of state was a descendant of one of the formerly conquered kings in the colony and belonged to the province of Buganda, which continued as part of Uganda with hereditary heads of that very province, under Uganda.
Uganda ceased being a colony and became an independent country although not a nation. For a nation has four main characteristics namely: common territory, common economic relations, common culture and common language. Uganda is a nation-in-the-making, but not a nation.
Its would-be complete and wholesome sovereignity is undermined by belonging to a neo-colonial organisation referred to as the British Commonwealth headed by the British monarchy which again was the colonial head of Uganda before national independence.
This is a reflection of a slave-mentality. Yes there are mutual economic advantages between members of the organisation, but they should be based on political mutual respect whereby heads of the organisation should rotate, but not to be constantly headed by the same former coloniser. No way.
What is required now is a pro-people economic system, void of feudalism and capitalism and within which either patriotism or matrotism can really be felt and realised. For preaching patriotism-matriotism within the contexts of feudalism and capitalism is trying to put a square peg in a round hole.
The writer is a senior Presidential adviser on ideology