• Colonial Legacy, the British applied the divide and rule policy in Uganda which led to delayed nationalism. The policy was calculated at keeping the tribes of Uganda far a part from each other. The districts they created were curved along ethnic lines. The Baganda were made to think that they were the only people fit for office jobs; Northerners were holding the gun and Westerners for casual labor. This later created suspicions, fears and abuses between the tribes hence hindered genuine Nationalism.

  • The British favoritism on Buganda hindered mass nationalism in Uganda till the 1950s. In pursuit of their indirect rule the British sent a number of Baganda agents to rule other tribes for example Semei Kakugulu was sent to Eastern Uganda, James Miti to Bunyoro. This created Anti-Baganda sentiments in Uganda and to make matters worse the British rewarded their Baganda collaborators with social, economic developments such as good schools, hospitals and roads. This made them proud and brewed jealous of other tribes towards Buganda therefore mass nationalism had to delay.
  • Religious divisions in Uganda also led to delayed nationalism. In their divide and rule policy the British aimed at keeping the Christians apart from the Moslems; they also favored the Protestants more than the Catholics thereby creating further divisions, suspicions and fears. Earlier political parties were formed along religious lines for example UNC for the Protestants, DP for the Catholics this hindered mass nationalism and concerted efforts in Uganda.

  • The absence of common grievances against the British colonialists led to delayed nationalism in Uganda. Uganda did not suffer so much from the colonial, oppressive and exploitative policies as compared to Kenya, Angola, South Africa, Mozambique, Algeria and Belgium Congo where African land was grabbed by white settlers, where Africans were forced to work on White man’s plantations, discriminated. The relationship between whites and Africans in Uganda was fairly peaceful and hence delayed nationalism.
  • Colonial developments such as roads, urban centers, schools, hospitals and factories made Ugandans generally friendly and loyal to the British colonialists. The British colonial economy made most Ugandans busy cultivating cash crops like coffee, cotton and tea. They were pre occupied with the desire to become rich and had no time for politics hence delayed nationalism.
  • There was massive illiteracy in Uganda, the few educated Ugandans before 1950 were mainly in Buganda like Ignatuis Musaazi, J. Mukasa, J. Kakonge, Abubaker Kakyama Mayanja. These left the rest of Ugandans in ignorance. The majority of Ugandans looked at the British as gods or masters. The few educated Baganda did not help the situation since they fought for Buganda’s interests

  • Most elites were colonial puppets; the British provided employment opportunities to the elites in the colonial service and such Africans were prevented from joining politics and any who did was retrenched, this made most elites shy away from politics hence a delay in the development of nationalism in Uganda.
  • Absence of a common language hindered the quick growth of nationalism in Uganda. Each ethnic group had its own language which it valued above other languages. Between 1937 and 1950 most Kingdoms discussed serious issues in the local languages which suited the British divide and rule policy.
  • Absence of trade unions. The British discouraged the formation trade unions and those that existed were in Buganda and were religiously divided.
  • Absence of a serious press unit. The earliest Newspapers like Munno, Uganda Eyogera only appealed to the Baganda monarchial sentiments.
  • The delayed formation of political parties. The British did not favor the formation of political parties and those that emerged later promoted religious divisions, this prevented unity.

  • Lack of contacts with the Western World also delayed nationalism. By 1950s few Africans from Uganda had visited Europe or USA; this meant that most Ugandans were ignorant about political party activities and the idea of self rule. Just a few like Musaazi and J. Mukasa had gone abroad.
  • The absence of Asian and European politics in Uganda. Unlike South Africa and Zimbabwe where whites had formed political parties, there were no such exposures for Ugandans. Even the Asians were pre occupied with businesses and not politics so Ugandans took long to gain the concept of political parties.
  • Differences in ideologies even UNC and UPC became socialist oriented because of strong socialist members like Kyango Macho, Bidandi Ssali, Kirunda Kivenjinja, DP was capitalist while Uganda National Movement was on positive actions, and such differences delayed nationalism.
  • The slow rate of urbanization, a number of Ugandans were poverty stricken and based in the rural areas these could not finance serious political party activities.
  • The existence of Kingdoms, the Kings decampaigned political parties for they would reduce their traditional powers even some educated Bagandas like Kulubya opposed political parties.
  • The need for federo by the Baganda, Buganda was opposed to unitalism and favored federalism, this provoked jealous from other tribes thus unity for a common cause could not be achieved.

  • Absence of charismatic leaders; a number of early politicians were weak and hardly met and at time they only meet once in a while on weekends in suburbs like Katwe to discuss politics. This delayed nationalism.


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