The latest push by the Buganda Kingdom through its Buganda Land Board to give lease titles to hitherto customary land owners (bibanja holders) on Kabaka’s land that is code named “Kyapa Mungalo” (land title deed at hand) has sharpened a quagmire that is in-built within the nation-state Uganda on matters land. For all intent and purposes the nation-state Uganda came into being through a major land grab by and for the benefit of the English who colonised the territory now known as Uganda; and that is the genesis of the quagmire.
The naming of Uganda and the geographic boundaries of Uganda was determined by the English and for the economic benefit of the English. By a stroke of a pen and in lands faraway, in Berlin in Germany, the English acquired territorial control and ownership of the territory without consent from the prior owners of the territory – the Africans who owned and occupied it. At the Berlin Conference, the English simultaneously disowned Africans of their lands.
The English asserted territorial claim and ownership of the territory by ‘benefiting’ a few Africans who prior occupied the territory pre-English-colonisation and they ‘donated’ to them large tracts of land of the territory prior owned by other Africans. By a stroke of a pen – through the so-called 1900 agreement – in the Central Region especially a class of landlords and a class of tenants were created in the territory; the latter being the majority.
It is ironic that it has been over 50 years since the nation-state Uganda attained political ‘independence’ from the English and yet the manner in which the territory’s land tenure is discussed and managed remains couched in terminology that is not for the benefit of the descendants of the majority of Africans who were disowned of their lands in the first place. It is perhaps to be expected, since the English did not hand back the territory to those from whom they grabbed it, but instead retained control over it through a smoke-screen of giving the territory political ‘independence.’
Those who ‘took over’ governing of the territory from the English where specifically chosen by the English; and they were not the rightful representatives of the African peoples from whom the English grabbed land. The English selected from among Africans a few, mostly men, whom they took to England in order to ‘educate’ and ‘civilize’; similar in the manner of how they created “Recaptives” – Africans who were ‘freed’ from slavery, but whose minds were colonised by imposing on them the English culture rather than allowing them to re-connect with their African culture.
It is those global ‘westernised-recaptives’ – the select few who were ‘educated’ and ‘civilised’ by the English – that ‘took over’ from the English the running of the nation-state Uganda. They did so and their descendants continue to do so within the ethos of English culture; and logically in a manner that benefits the English – neo-colonialism. Yes, the political ‘independence’ of the nation-state Uganda was ‘negotiated’ by a few ‘westernised-recaptives’ in faraway lands, in Lancaster in England, at the Uganda Constitutional Conference, 1961, without genuine representation of the Africans from who the English grabbed land. Continue reading …