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Trace The Causes And Development Of Ethinicity In Uganda. By Walubo Jude Tadeo, Makere University, Kampala Uganda

9669 words - 39 pages

The genesis of the ethnic crisis in Uganda, as in most parts of Africa, is mainly linked to the colonial intervention process and the particular organisation of power in society. The post-colonial practices simply enhanced it. Therefore, the formation of ethnic identities is a social construction defined by the historical conditions in which they emerge. Ethnicity is not a constant. Over Uganda's history, ethnicity has been continually redefined as the context has changed. The objective of this section is to present a historical examination of the colonial and post-colonial practices which created and sustain the ethnic phenomenon in Uganda's socio-political set up. Mamdani contends that to understand the phenomenon of what is referred to as 'tribalism' it is necessary to look at it within a social context. This is why, rather than conceiving of an ethnic identity as simply invented by statecraft, as in Ranger , or as 'imagined' by intellectuals, as in Anderson , it would make sense to speak of the making of an ethnicity. Ethnicity is made through political, economic and social processes. It is these processes that we examine here.The problem of ethnicity and political power in Uganda has been superficially explained in a one-sided manner as mainly an outcome of the first 25 years of independence and the pre-industrial nature of Ugandan society. Mazrui advances another view, which attributes ethnic mobilisation to tribalism in Uganda. Perhaps a more negative trend is one that attributes continued ethnicity in the country to the personalities of those who governed after independence . It is historically partial, both theoretically and empirically narrow, to conceptualise the problem of ethnicity and political power in Uganda in this manner. It is important to trace the social history of ethnicity and power, particularly from the colonial practices, in order to interpret the current situation intelligently.The historical conditions under which ethnicity was constructed in Uganda were buttressed by the establishment of British colonial administration towards the end of the 19th Century. In the 68 years of colonial rule, Britain systematically cultivated and firmly established an intricate system of domination in all spheres of Ugandan society. Politically, the origins of ethnicity and the obstacles it poses to the democratisation process can be located in colonial politics. At the same time ethnicity was a form of anti-colonialism. The cultivation of ethnic intricacies by colonialism can be analysed at several levels: the drawing of colonial boundaries, the organisation of power within the colony, the political and economic dominance of Buganda, the underdevelopment of civil society and finally, ethnicity and the anti-colonial movement.First, the single-most important element that entrenched ethnicity in the body politic of Uganda was the arbitrary colonial act of boundaries. Driven by an overwhelming economic logic, British colonialism brought...

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