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Radical rudeness: Ugandan social critiques in the 1940s.

In a scathing letter of eighteen single-spaced typed pages, Semakula Mulumba declined the Bishop of Uganda's 1948 invitation to dinner. Dinners and other forms of entertainments and hospitality were, Mulumba asserted, pernicious forms of corruption. Dinners and friendly associations among missionaries and protectorate officials, and between Baganda and Britons, had allowed the British to plot among themselves, seize Ugandans' resources, seduce Buganda's leaders and block Ganda efforts toward individual and corporate progress. (1) Mulumba's response to a dinner invitation with a critique of the colonial order--as a closely interlocked system of cooperation among officials and missions, the Kingdom of Buganda and protectorate officials--was rude, deliberately rude, an attack on the forms of manners and politeness that had shaped both British and Ganda deployments of power and influence in Buganda since at least the beginning of the Uganda Protectorate in 1900. Mulumba, and other Baganda rebels of the late 1940s were disorderly, intemperate and obnoxious within the polite sociopolitical world of colonial Buganda as they drew on their extensive experiences with Britons--officials, missionaries, and others--to reject the polite accommodations around them. What made their rudeness more than just adolescent immaturity, though, was that it was rooted in an understanding of the significance of social rituals, constituted a strategy to disrupt them, and was tied to an effort to build new sorts of public sociability to replace the older elite private networks.

Teleologies of political development, whether imagining progress toward a liberal democracy, or toward popular socialism, have guided much of the historiography to date on nationalisms. In the 1960s and 1970s, scholars published celebratory works on the rise of African nations, and since the 1980s have followed these works with studies that implicitly or explicitly ask what went wrong. Nations and nation-states were central to historians' definitions of progress, development and social change. As imperial archives open secret intelligence files, anthropologists of the 1940s and 1950s archive their field notes, and senior African activists retire from active politics to more dissociated reminiscences, it is possible to move away from straightforward discussions of state-based nationalism to ask more complex questions about struggles over democracy, political participation, legitimacy, and decolonization. (2) We can revisit specific events or crises never subject to much serious analysis, such as the Ugandan general strike of 1945 or the insurrection of 1949. But we can also do more, asking how the people of the post-war period understood themselves as not just subjects, but political beings--citizens--capable of hoping for a new politics and organizing to pursue change. To do this, and break from the prison of nationalist teleology, we need to ask different questions from those of the social scientists of the late 20th century, and we need to ask them differently. Instead of understanding all politics as Nationalism--as a break with pre-colonial ideals and as opposition to the colonial system--we must understand the connections that activists built as they developed hybrid movements that may appear incoherent or contradictory from the perspective of conventional political analysis. And we should look at how activists mobilized, deploying not simply imperial or statist forms of opposition, but tactics rooted in a far-from-impoverished culture elaborated and re-made during the colonial episode.

This paper is part of a larger project on the development of mass politics in Buganda from 1939 to the mid 1950s, where I explore activists' use of scandal, rudeness, and loyalty as they imagined and worked for political change. In exploring the cultural complexities of Ganda politics, I am not arguing that everyone everywhere needs to explore civility, manners, and the associations of power they can encode and enforce, though I suspect that might be a good idea. Instead, I am advocating that historians approach big, global concepts like Nationalism with humility, listening constantly for all the other things that real people, in real places, dreamed of, agitated for, and protested against. Instead of simply imposing a vision of progress and inevitability and measuring deviations from the straight path, historians have an obligation to look at specific locations, listen for dissent, and appreciate creativity.

During the 1940s, Baganda, especially younger men not fully incorporated into Protectorate or kingdom jobs and mission structures, challenged colonialism by questioning the fact of British rule rather than simply complaining of specific administrators or problems. These young radicals struggled to define themselves and their struggle in a context of social connections rather than one of alienation: their elders had cooperated and continued to cooperate in alliance with the British to govern both Buganda and the other regions of the protectorate. "Tradition" offered little help either, as young activists lacked the political training of the old style Buganda court and bureaucracy. And they themselves were not exactly independent. These men had generally been raised and trained in mission schools, some had served as British forces in the Second World War, and they often lacked independent economic resources. They collected funds from people closely associated with colonialism such as cotton growers and Baganda government employees, and their money-raising efforts, though compulsively documented with account books, regularly led to fraud prosecutions and bankruptcies. (3)

In this context, with complex connections to British officials, missionaries and senior Baganda, young Baganda struggled to imagine a new radicalism, a politics that would truly challenge the ordinary ways of doing politics in Buganda. One of Mulumba's rival activists, E.M.K. Mulira, explained how difficult this was, remembering: "We thought of standing for economic development but the Governor is doing that ... We thought of standing for local government and improved facilities for local government, but there again the Governor has thought of that too. It is difficult to think of something the Governor has not already thought of." (4) Baganda politicians standing for specific policies and programs--particularly for development ideals like schools or veterinary services--risked being overtaken by a protectorate administration intent on the reform and expansion of government services sometimes called the second colonial occupation, brought in by the Colonial Development and Welfare Act of 1940, and actually implemented to some extent in the late 1940s and into the 1950s. (5) Local government reforms--extending even to the point of limited democratic reforms--were also part of administrative initiatives designed to enhance rather than undermine protectorate and imperial control. (6) Worse yet, from the perspective of would-be activists, the government had far more resources than any self-help or local political initiative could command. A politics about things--schools, clinics, or even council meetings--therefore risked allowing British resources and effectiveness to buy controlling interests in Ugandan initiatives with resources that might have originally come from Ugandan cotton or coffee, but be coded thoroughly British as they were distributed through protectorate budgeting procedures.

Instead of an integrated program of action, therefore, Baganda radicals attacked colonial processes and relationships and struggled to disrupt and re-make them to acknowledge and explore real conflicts of interest. This meant rebelling against the routines, budgets and rituals of a variety of targets: the Protectorate government headed by the Governor; the kingdom of Buganda's administration with its inadequate chiefs and anglophilic playboy king; the Church of Uganda and CMS; the Catholic Church and White Fathers; Indians and other businessmen; and, generally, anyone who sought peaceful accommodations among races, classes, ethnicities, age groups, or political factions. (7) Buganda's radicals saw Buganda as a place where not all people could benefit simultaneously. They therefore sought to move clashes from private, mannerly negotiations among the powerful, to public struggles within a wider range of the population. In a protectorate characterized by elaborate social rituals of affiliation, association, and patronage, radicals chose rudeness as a tactic to destabilize the ruling alliances, draw conflicts of interest into the public view, and shape essential preconditions for real change.

The radical Baganda activists of the 1940s included individuals of diverse associations and backgrounds. There were Protestants, Catholics and religious innovators. Elderly Bataka (clan) leaders and chiefly government retirees participated alongside young frustrated teachers and ex-teachers as well as private-sector businessmen, entrepreneurs and artisans. Ideologically, these activists were not coherent as socialists, Ugandan nationalists, or even anti-British mobilizers. Observers noted that some were so far outside the normal political mainstream that they seemed irrational--dominated by hatreds, or unstable to the point of madness. (8) These activists did, however, work toward a rude, public politics characterized by newspapers, mass meetings, mass fundraising, and popular participation in the decisions that affected the people, from immigrant Banyarwanda porters to the Kabaka (King) himself.

Social Rituals

British Sociability

Codified in the Uganda Agreement of 1900, by the early 1940s British domination of Buganda looked less like a forceful occupation than like an elaborate form of ritual association. While manners and politeness were certainly not the only source of elite power in Buganda, they were significant sources of cohesion, status, and meaning for both British and Baganda elites. Among themselves, Britons in Uganda were enmeshed in a flurry of social events. Even in the midst of the Second World War, the Uganda Herald, one of many local newspapers, provided society page reports on sports contests, local concerts and fundraising, the opening of a local nightclub and calendars of who had been invited to dine officially with the Governor. (9) And the memoirs of government officials often emphasized full schedules of social engagements, including scouting events, soccer matches and hunting trips, as opposed to major questions of governance and economic management. (10) One anthropologist argued that this sort of sociality renewed British cohesion in a potentially threatening context, and that "Ritual was far more efficient than words" (11) in promoting the unity that was essential to British domination. On Audrey Richards' war-time visit as a development expert, she found the socializing so intense that one of her major preoccupations became the state of her dresses, and whether she had enough for all the dinners, teas, and events she was expected to attend. (12) This intensive sociability was not merely an artifact of a Victorian past. Instead, British officials explicitly accepted that political work happened through social rituals, not simply through orders, administrative rules, or law. Most saw little wrong with this, and indeed mocked the stuffiness of educated Africans who clung to the letter of a law or regulation, rather than the casual arrangement made over tea (or something stronger) among people who socialized together. Colonial officers--and to some extent even missionaries--were supposed to be gentlemen, know people, and draw on old boy networks from public schools, Oxford and Cambridge, rather than being professionals or technical experts who knew things for exams. (13)

Mulumba, though, critiqued even purely British dinners, teas and social events in Uganda. He argued that they allowed Britons to plot among themselves, facilitating their conspiracies to defraud Baganda and Buganda of critical resources. The Native Anglican Church's quiet handover of mineral rights to the protectorate, after private negotiations by Bishop Stuart, provided him the perfect illustration of how British sociability undercut Ugandans' ability to participate in negotiations even over their own institutions and property. "My Lord," he asked, "were you and Archdeacon Williams often invited to 'teas' and 'dinners' by the Governor to discuss secretly the possibility of ceding to the British Government 'all rights to minerals ... [of] the lands' which in the Uganda Agreement of 1900 were given to the Church in trust for African Churches?" (14) Bishop Stuart had relinquished church resources to the Protectorate, giving away in a private deal things that belonged to the Native Anglican Church of which, as a missionary, he was not even a member. Those resources were part of what the Church held as part of the Uganda Agreement of 1900, the founding document and constitution of the protectorate. No new land--or monetary compensation--could be as solidly protected for the future. The Bishop, his critics alleged, had wasted the people's capital. "Instead of being zealous for the spiritual interests of his flock," they accused, "he works diligently in cooperation with the British Government in their secret schemes for the acquisition of the Africans' land." (15) Consulting and negotiating with protectorate officials, rather than openly with the synod, he made his critics deeply suspicious, and left them calling him "a ripe apple rotten at the heart." (16) Mulumba was blunt: "My Lord ... you are crooked." (17)

Stuart privately acknowledged that something might have gone wrong in his attempts to trade church mineral rights for new church lands through a private arrangement with officials. (18) For Mulumba, Stuart's problem was not simply personal corruption, but the fact of private deals among Britons, deals that circumvented the institutions (such as church committees and synods) that Baganda sought to use to protect themselves and shape their own futures. Timosewo Lule, and other Ugandan Anglicans, complained to the Archbishop of Canterbury less about mostly meaningless mineral rights than about the violation of procedures they had hoped to use to shape their Church. Stuart, they complained, had threatened to walk out of a diocesan meeting when they had tried to raise questions. Stuart's unwillingness to listen violated their understanding of how things should work, and they complained to the Archbishop of Canterbury that "We would like to point out that church meetings are held for discussion and mutual agreement" rather than for the dictation of decisions taken in private. (19) Stuart's subsequent efforts to sort things out with local Christians only made matters worse, as they undermined his relations with the Protectorate government, and, thus, his ability to lobby privately for the political goals that his Ganda flock was pursuing. Protectorate officials by the mid 1940s were finding it increasingly difficult to do deals with missionaries, but far from assuaging Ganda critics, this increase in distance left some Baganda wondering what they were missing as Britons plotted among themselves. (20) When deals were done--and known to be done--by Britons, in private exchanges, radicals who distrusted British intentions feared the consequences both of British informal collaboration, and of its failure. Bishop Stuart's clashes with the protectorate government, and failures to eat dinner and sort out solutions with British officials in the late 1940s highlighted how thoroughly everyone--in the mission, the colonial administration, and the Ganda elite--relied on the Bishop for private negotiations.

Colonial Sociability

Britons acknowledged that some of their rituals of sociability came from their own history and customs, such as formal dinners and elaborate hunting parties. Effective administrators, however, used these customary rituals to reach out and accommodate local Ganda ideas of power and authority, rather than simply to maintain the boundaries of a white ruling community. Uganda lacked the official social segregation of its neighbor, Kenya. Instead, European officers accompanied the young king (Kabaka) on hunting and drinking trips, missionaries attended Baganda Christians' wedding parties, and the first Catholic African bishop joined the White Fathers' order as a full member of the society. Indeed, one of the most important institutions of the Baganda elite was King's College, Budo, a "public school" in the English style, where boys learned sports, hobbies, and British manners alongside academics, and acquired the personal contacts with British missionaries and officials that shaped their futures. (21) Interracial sociability defined gentility for the British. And it made sense at least in part because patterns of socialization of elites, in Britain and Buganda had distinct parallels, emphasizing an individual's ability to work with a variety of people--not just family or kin--in stoical, effective ways, deploying strong instincts of class and hierarchy. (22) Those Baganda fluent in English, conscious of British manners and willing to act out British social rules were deemed by British observers to be "gentlemen" not with the sarcasm applied to lazy chiefs, but with respect for their canniness and power, dignified officially with honorary titles. (23) To the chagrin of young radicals, elite Baganda regularly accepted the accolades--whether patronizing or sincere--of Britons, and participated actively in Uganda's elaborate colonial sociability, sometimes even selling land for the cash necessary to build such connections. (24)

Buganda, radicals believed, was endangered not only by Bishop Stuart's private negotiations and dinners with protectorate officials, but by the way powerful Britons listened to those they dined with, and administered the kingdom by offering ever more authority to their regular guests. Serwano Kulubya, a Muganda gentleman educated at Budo, exemplified for many activists how British sociability offered dangerous power to the wrong people. Kulubya, argued his critics, worked on the "old school tie" principle, and only respected or associated with Britons or those who had been to school at Budo or Mengo Central High School--rejecting those who sought progress or economic success. (25) Kulubya made enemies by betraying his own people, according to his critics. "Kulubya did his work [as omwanika, or treasurer] very well" one Budo teacher testified, "but the people did not like him for other purposes ... for his social side. It seems that he helps Europeans and then he does not help his Africans." (26) In attacking Kulubya and other powerful, elite Baganda known to socialize closely with Europeans, activists tried to draw attention to the lines of sociability and connection, and how they translated into practical benefits of jobs, favors, and offices. For activists, the importance of sociability was only underlined in the wake of the strikes, deportations, and riots of the 1940s. Britons interpreted Ganda political action less by asking activists themselves, or watching events on the streets than by relying on the explanations of those they socialized with. (27)

British sociability produced a cohesive British ruling class, promoted private deals and negotiations that crippled Baganda's efforts toward control over their own resources and institutions, and seduced and appointed elites who offered patronage and support not to their Baganda associates, but to Britons. This was possible not simply through British planning or cunning, but because Buganda had a history that had facilitated and initially legitimized Britons' use of hospitality and sociability as political tactics.

Ganda Manners

British forms of sociability intersected with classic Ganda ideas of chiefship, hospitality, and performance of authority, though not always in predictable ways. E.M.K Mulira, an activist rival of Mulumba's, explained thoughtfully that in Buganda, sociability and manners were the foundation of the social order. "Good conduct was a great demand of the community upon the individual. Throughout the country it was the highest asset; it was required from childhood to death. Parents demanded it from children, elders from their younger kinsmen, chiefs from their subjects, and, needless to say, the Kabaka from all. If a person's conduct was normal, he received consideration from everybody. In ordinary consideration each person must be courteous, and everyone was considerate of everyone else." (28) Manners--Mulira's "good conduct"--were not personal decisions or options. Since successful manners were a pre-requisite to acknowledgement and respect within a hierarchical system, children had to learn manners quickly and practice them throughout their lives as an individual "tended to become a social outcast if his actions always ran counter to the community's idea of right conduct." (29) James Miti, an elderly ally of Mulumba and leader of the Bataka movement, was more nostalgic for the past than Mulira was, but even so, he emphasized that the strength of Ganda society had rested on manners and appropriate behavior, enforced with dire punishments. Good conduct, he argued, was necessary or an individual risked everything. For a man to refuse to eat his wife's food out of anger, for example, might lead her to flee for home. (30) Neither Mulira nor Miti saw any moral implications to individuals' thoughts. Good behavior, following manners in all things from food to gifts and hospitality, was their central concern. Good manners were basic to Ganda interactions. The sole exception to this absolute priority on good behavior was the king and his siblings. When polite, the kabaka was understood to be acting with extreme graciousness, because he had the power to do otherwise. And the notorious behavior of his siblings, especially his sisters, underscored an independence of royalty from the reciprocal obligations, connections, and politeness that bound together other levels of the political and social hierarchy. (31)

During the 1950s, the first major research project of the East African Institute for Social Research was a series of enquiries into how Baganda classically constructed both the image and reality of authority. By the 1950s, in the midst of the Kabaka Crisis, it had become obvious to even the most oblivious British officials that they needed a more thorough understanding of ideas such as kingship, chiefship, and even paternal power. So anthropologists set out to collect life histories of chiefs and prominent men, interview senior men about their world, and assemble a new analysis of how Baganda understood leadership, building a new ideal from precolonial and modern concepts. (32) The interviews, life histories and data the researchers collected pointed to a long-standing, but very contentious, connection in Ganda politics between hospitality, food, sociability, and power. These materials make clear that the connection was not some sort of simple social contract--the kind of explicit expectation that a chief or king should feed his people that was voiced at the coronation of kings in Shambaa, for example (33)--but a sort of performance that defined the powerful and their connections to their associates not once and for all, but with every cut of meat or gift of beer.

Older men vividly remembered how their early successes in learning the hospitality and food rituals of the powerful had marked them out as youths of promise, with good manners and future prospects. One man recalled vividly how, living for 6 years with Prince Suna, he had learned to carve and distribute meat in large quantities in front of important people. (34) Another remembered that inferior chiefs had once been expected to pay beer, goats, first fruits (and beautiful girls) to senior chiefs, under threat of pillage, and that even commoners were expected to share food with their chiefs, or be forced to do more work to support chiefs who spent much of their time drinking beer and eating meat. (35) One interviewee turned this critique of older models of power into a critique of the present, arguing that "The present chiefs are richer than the old but they don't give their food away. In the past chiefs got rich through their people since then chiefs and people were friendly and people would offer presents to chiefs eg. bunches of plantains, hens, goats; and in return the chiefs would give them food and meat more than they could eat." (36) Regardless of whether they critiqued the past or the present, though, Baganda noted that men with power were those with manners, who had learned the customs of the Lubiri [king's court], and who had followers tied to them by bonds of hospitality, obligation, and clientage. They noted that men of authority could be discerned even at a distance: an important person never traveled alone, and he walked like a chief. (37)

Several things come through clearly from these old men's anecdotes: the first is that from very early ages, ambitious Baganda children (or the children of Baganda ambitious for their children) learned manners and proper behavior in ways that were acutely status-conscious. An essential part of those manners was the skill of distribution--cutting the meat so that the important got the finest pieces, managing the beer pot, maintaining the prestige of the food's donor. Failing to do this damaged both the child's reputation, and that of his patron. As an adult, a powerful man had a new set of challenges that he had prepared for by learning such arts of distribution and management: he had to collect--by pillage or forced labor if necessary--from his clients, and distribute goods upwards to his patron, accepting the resources and gifts in return that he needed to make a fine show to his own clients. Hospitality, dinners, gifts of meat and beer, these were markers of loyalty, affiliation and solidarity in the kingdom of Buganda, and a man's effectiveness and power relied on how well he could put these resources and displays together, and sustain them. A man who gave too profligately would go broke. A miser risked unhappy clients. Simple wastefulness might draw the contempt of a patron and competition from a rival.

The idea that the powerful ate meat, publicly, served to them by clients, while the poor gained protection by providing for an effective, hospitable official, was both powerful and persistent. If an official failed to meet local standards of hospitality, his public image usually suffered. When an official, whom interviewers assessed as well dressed, with good English and intelligence, complained bitterly about how chiefs had lost respect and accrued hatred compared to previous days, his critic explained the situation bluntly: the official was proud and he didn't entertain, so of course he was unpopular. (38) On a grander scale, some of the most powerful men in Buganda during the 1940s, such as Martin Luther Nsibirwa and Serwano Kulubya, were unpopular among Baganda who considered them poor hosts and patrons. (39) A teacher at Budo argued that the students' most admired virtue was the ability to entertain. (40) Sharing food and entertaining were essential not just to recruit followers, but because there was another reason a person might eat alone--if he was a dangerous sorcerer. (41) And at a microlevel, one routine way for a parent to punish an unruly or wasteful child was through "starvation". (42) Interviewees made clear that the high value placed on hospitality meant obligations for wives as well as servants: men explained that a good wife was one who managed the rituals of getting his meals ready promptly, and providing for his guests. (43)

Hospitality, dinners, beer parties and consumption, though, were not just about a re-distribution of goods. They were about expressions of affiliation. This emphasis on status and authority based in the wise and public management of consumption gave poignancy to discussions in the 1920s and 1930s about local government reform, changing roles for chiefs, and the retirement of aging chiefs. While older rituals of consumption (or pillage) could be highly abusive and wasteful, they made specific community linkages clear--tying a chief to his people, and the people to their patrons independently of specific administrative acts. One elderly man renowned for his alcoholism and stupidity, nevertheless argued his legitimacy as a chief, since "The great majority of the kiika love me, as can be seen from the fact that they built a house for me, nursed me when I was sick ... provided me with food, and bought me a bicycle." (44) Unelected, he nevertheless found in his people's provisioning a clear indication of their support for him, and his connection to them. The new, reformed chiefs, though, were increasingly responsible for doing a job, rather than holding a status. This shifted the center of their activities from a local sociability that maintained the connections that facilitated tax collection, legal judgments, and land distribution, to a more exclusive British-oriented sociability with peers and superiors, aiming at access to new jobs, better opportunities, and classier goods. Watching chiefs move away from local relationships, and more thoroughly into orbit around British patrons, activists increasingly called for chiefs to be elected, using a new mechanism to reinforce an older bond. (45) And Mulumba's rejection of dinner with the Bishop became a rejection of the rank and authority the Bishop--and his British associates--held within Buganda.

By the 1940s, elite Baganda had taken the lessons of politeness, manners, hospitality, and the critical political and economic significance of sociability, and deployed them in ways that were both traditional and new. They held new sorts of parties where different classes of guests received different forms of refreshments--from bread and butter through cakes--underlining status, but with only indirect reliance on goods provided by clients. (46) In doing so--and attending tea parties with the bishop, official dinners with Protectorate appointees, and even sporting events with businessmen--they made new relationships outside the conventional networks of Ganda associations, relationships that reinforced colonial power and connections in ways their critics considered forms of betrayal.

The central lesson of traditional Ganda socialization was the importance of making and maintaining ties with others. Birth was not enough to determine status, office, or future. Not even the king inherited automatically by virtue of his parentage. (47) British observers generally considered the Baganda excruciatingly polite and intent on charming British missionaries, officials, observers, or anthropologists with their deft tact. (48) And the rituals of affiliation were ongoing, encoded in each dinner, beer party, kneeling wife, or gossiping servant. Intentionally or not, in disrupting and transforming those rituals, British missionaries, officials, and the Baganda they ate with, had re-made the Ganda political world.

Critics and Complaints

When British rituals of sociability intersected with Baganda politeness and mannered forms of authority, Mulumba and his colleagues found plenty to critique. One of the most powerful--and banned--pamphlets of the 1940s, Buganda Nyaffe [Buganda our mother], bluntly explained that British hospitality was not a good thing. Instead, its author asserted "The European employs an African in the way as a master treats his dog; you should appreciate the fact that the dog is an animal but as it resides in a man's house, it treats itself differently while under the impression that the rest of its kind against whom it barks, are the animals, while it thinks itself to be half of what a man is ... It is all easy to feel so much for a dog and try to show much for it while playing with same alone but when your fellowmen arrive at the scene, you neglect it all together and only have in consideration your fellowmen." (49) The pamphlet's cutting simile did more than imply to Baganda that the British considered them as dogs or--worse--pets. It opened up a critique of those self-deceiving elites who, allowed into European homes, came to identify with Europeans rather than with their own kind. Becoming European was not in itself horrific, but the self-deceit, and opening of oneself to betrayal by one's new associates, hinted at monstrous perversities. Within the house, dogs were proud to be "half what a man is", losing any identity they might once have had, and becoming able tools against their own. Meanwhile, those pets who played with the masters faced betrayal or abandonment as the European masters realized they had "felt too much" for their half man/half dog housepets and turned back to their own kind. In this pamphlet, the problem was not just that Buganda's leadership sat down to dinner with the foreign rulers, but that they constructed fantastic new affiliations with those rulers, betraying their clients in the process, and constructing a sort of power that led from a loss of self, to loss of people, land, and freedom. Ultimately, the pamphlet asserted, the "Slave trade was abolished in one way while slave trade was again established in another form ... Our necks are placed in the bondage of European laws even though we may have the impression that we are still in our birth-place homes." (50)

Buganda Nyaffe's author made it clear that European hospitality did damage because it encouraged self-deception among the Baganda elite. But the pamphlet also hinted at later critiques of hospitality and sociability as re-making the realities in twisted ways. For Semakula Mulumba, one of the best examples of this was what constant association with Britons had done to corrupt the young Kabaka. Instead of functioning as a strong leader for his people, Mutesa II had lived with Europeans, staying as a child with the families of missionaries, then with a tutor rumored to have purchased sexual services from Mutesa II's fellow schoolboys. With this upbringing, no doubt complicated by the well-known hedonism of the Balangira (princes and princesses) that he associated with, Mutesa II became entangled in a series of disputes over marriages--his mother's, his own, and those of his lovers--rather than attending to the kingdom's needs. (51) In 1942, he failed to provide any leadership during the Budo controversies on the eve of his coronation, despite his office as a prefect of the school. During 1945, more seriously, he failed to listen to his people's petitions. And during 1949, he acted solely as a British mouthpiece, failing to mediate, and leaving British troops to shoot Baganda. (52)

Nor did critics believe the Kabaka was alone in being twisted and made ineffectual by too much British attention. During the 1945 strike, rioters targeted not the British, but Baganda who had built British style homes, lived British-identified lives, and advocated order, rather than change. "The chiefs who are now ruling," radicals later alleged, "were not chosen by the people as it should be, they have been picked up here and there and they ... work for those who give them bribes." (53) Gifts, hospitality and material support no longer constituted a sign of affiliation and legitimacy. Instead, when offered to chiefs "picked up here and there" they constituted bribes, and the activists who observed them considered them delegitimating. Chiefs who were either reinforced by traditional loyalties, or their polar opposites the progressives, mostly escaped strike-associated arson and looting, and suffered only from British reprisals and reorganization. But activists in 1949 burned a Social Welfare building attached to Makerere University, and houses owned (or rumoured to be owned) by chiefs considered close to British administration--especially Kulubya. (54)

While British officials and missionaries continued to be charmed by the Baganda gentlemen who worked for them in chiefships and other positions of authority, the clashes of the 1940s left Baganda looking for more than manners, grace, and effective hospitality in their leaders. Increasingly, they experimented, looking to effective apparatchniks who lacked the social graces of the senior leadership, to disruptive radicals advocating economic transformation, and to entrepreneurial activists who built organizations, newspapers, and schools outside the conventional structures. (55) The rude jostling of mass meetings of thousands, culminating in strikes or insurrection, supplanted rituals of distribution, consumption, and deference. Despite official attempts to paint the upheavals as minor political blips, associated with alien communists and rabble-rousers, John Sibley, a British historian at Makerere, argued that "Every Muganda, except a few in European employ, gave open support to the disturbances and there was no lack of enthusiasts to join in whenever a mob began to form. For a year past the Bataka of Uganda movement has gone from strength to strength and Bataka speakers have commanded large audiences and a shower of coins in the hat whenever they passed it round. Anyone knowing anything of the Baganda knows the support for the movement was universal. The riots, organised by the Bataka leaders, commanded universal support too. What are the motive forces behind the Bataka? They are, really, fear and suspicion of imperialism and distrust of British motives." (56)


In 1948, Bishop Stuart invited Semakula Mulumba to dinner as a paternalistic political initiative. His invitation exemplified colonial practices of political sociability (even with one's opponents) in Uganda. Stuart was an embattled Anglican bishop in 1948, with diocesan synods no longer fully under control, parents protesting school expulsions, and born again evangelicals questioning the staid formalism of the main-line church. Stuart, though, offered Mulumba--formerly a Catholic religious--dinner at the Royal Empire Society, suggesting "There is no reason why we should not be on friendly terms even if you dislike me officially," signing his brief letter unconvincingly but very conventionally with "Yours very sincerely, C.E. Stuart". (57) This invitation to Mulumba, a radical activist in exile in London, was an effort to reach out to a man who had worked hard to amplify criticism of Stuart from an internal clash, within the Native Anglican Church and Uganda, into an international matter. Mulumba had written to the Lambeth Conference Bishops, the Colonial Office and the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations. Stuart's response to Mulumba's radical activism with a dinner invitation was a routine expression of both a paternalistic colonial ideal of benevolent leadership, and the liberal ideal that social rituals and personal friendships could ameliorate and reform harsh economic and social realities of imperial power.

For Mulumba, the idea of being on "friendly terms" with someone he "officially disliked" was ridiculous. Mulumba rejected Stuart's outreach, doubting Stuart's good will toward Buganda, and launching an unrestrained, vivid attack on Stuart's malfeasance. According to Mulumba, Stuart's paternalism, politeness, civility or kindness were forms of scheming and betrayal; they might weaken his critics' opposition, mitigate their anger, and keep them from the radicalism that Mulumba considered essential. The problem with Stuart was not actually land or any other specific policies, it was the idea that everything could be worked out to the benefit of all. Stuart's kindnesses were not signs of his humanity, but of his dangerous cunning. Mulumba's screed was intemperate, sarcastically questioning the specifics of mission cooperation with the Protectorate government and use of Uganda's resources, asking "My Lord, are you surprised that some of the filth of the foul activities of the Missionaries and the British Government has leaked?... Had the CMS missionaries any mandate from the Archbishop of Canterbury to appropriate African property while dazzling the converts with religion?" (58) Mulumba's rhetoric--begun in the private venue of a letter, but clearly written for and brought to a wider public audience in meetings and pamphlets in Kampala--worked hard to make enemies and mark out real conflicts of interest.

Mulumba replied to Stuart's private note--and to other initiatives from the missionaries and colonial office--with a public critique, supported by evidence and documentation. Very little, if anything, in Mulumba's work was entirely new. His choice of genre, though, the "open letter" or "telegraph," had some real advantages over other activists who had produced essays and pamphlets. Earlier writers of essays had found it remarkably difficult to get attention and make a difference. From the 1920s onward, for example, Yusufu Bamuta, one time secretary to the Lukiiko (Ganda Council) wrote essays that like Mulumba's drew on official documents, critiqued British colonialism, and pursued redress. Bamuta's campaign, though, kept bogging down in lost papers and debates over money. (59) EMK Mulira, another activist, wrote letters to the Uganda Herald, essays of his own, pamphlets (including one for the Fabian Society) and eventually produced his own newspaper. (60) Mulira was a strikingly thoughtful social analyst, writing effectively in English, but he never seemed entirely sure he had a Ganda audience.

In focusing his attention on letters, Mulumba drew on two of the more successful precedents in Buganda's colonial history: the genre of the petition, and the model of didactic warning offered by the famous 1944 pamphlet Buganda Nyaffe [Buganda our mother], written in the form of a letter addressed to the grandchildren, printed and passed from hand to hand receiving wide circulation despite a banning order. (61) Mulumba lobbied with letters that became public and worked as a mass motivator through a hybrid, multi-media approach. Each letter started out with a specific target, such as governor, bishop, or member of parliament, resembling a private letter or petition. But each letter explicitly included a "cc" designating a wide range of people to receive copies. These generally included other members of the hierarchy Mulumba critiqued, as well as significant officials in Britain, Buganda, and Uganda. Beyond these explicit targets, Mulumba's letters were smuggled into Uganda, printed in pamphlets and read aloud at public meetings before thousands of activists. Selling pamphlets and collecting donations at public meetings offered essential monetary support for Mulumba's lobbying initiative. But in some ways the public reading of his letters--through loudspeakers to crowds of thousands--was an equally important action, as it mobilized ordinary Ugandans, emphasized that they were a part of his new politics and privy to the criticisms and negotiations that might once have occurred behind closed doors. It was this effort to bring private negotiations and relationships into the public arena of mass meetings and vernacular newspapers, and thereby promote mass conflict, as opposed to simply personal or factional feuding, that was at the core of Mulumba's radicalism. (62)

When F. Kibuka Musoke, one of Mulumba's colleagues, brought duplicated copies of Mulumba's letter into Uganda, the British prosecuted him for importing a document they considered seditious, slanderous and (duplicated and published) libelous. What really agitated the British, though, according to Mulumba, was that the letter "spilt the Government's beans," (63) making public the usually covert accommodations of missionaries and the colonial state. For Mulumba, Kibuka Musoke's arrest only encouraged his belief that publicizing negotiations, relationships, and accommodations could lead to change. When Bishop Stuart protested Mulumba's rude letter, Mulumba wrote back again, beginning this second letter "By the most disdainful filth of your secret actions in Uganda you sacrificed the prestige of the British people on the altar of ill-regulated self-interest in the so-called 'loyal' service of a godless state ..." and continued on with a vitriol far removed from coherent critique. Mulumba's images, however awkward with mixed metaphors, resonated as he portrayed Britain as brought down by its individuals' greed, a greed which as an "altar" of self-interest had become a form of debased--and ostentatious--paganism. This second highly abusive letter carried a clear explanation of Mulumba's tactics, stating "I know, the letter was spicy, because I took time and care to season it well for you and the Lambeth Conference ..." For Mulumba, the letter's spice was clearly not just its insults, but its evidence, documents, and questions, all aimed for wider publicity and public review. And he concluded "I would not throw the bread of children to Sir John Hall's dogs who wag their tails when the master sets them after the black skins in Uganda." (64) However awkward in adopting English (and Biblical) cliches, Mulumba explicitly reserved food, and with it affiliation and politeness, for Baganda, and not the governor (Sir John Hall), or those missionaries who he portrayed as dogs, cooperating in packs like animals to hunt down "the black skins in Uganda". In a context where hunting parties were an elite form of hospitality and pleasure, and trophies taken and regularly displayed, Mulumba identified with the desperation of the prey. And he implied that Britons acted as they did in Uganda not for the sake of civilization, protection, or development, but from sport, a sport which had to be challenged by disrupting the game's rules, categories, and assumptions.

While insulting the Protestant bishop, Mulumba also made a point of attacking the local governor, Sir John Hall, both to Baganda and British audiences, and internationally, to the United Nations and the Soviet bloc. He used explicitly inflammatory codewords, arguing that new security and labor provisions in Uganda constituted a "mortal wound to British Democracy," violated the UN charter, and constituted "colonial enslavement" and the "Nazification" of Uganda. (65)

Mulumba, the Bataka party, and other 1940s radicals, though, did more than simply publicly reject and mock British developmentalist politics. They also turned away from the appeals to tradition and common interest that characterized both Bataka leaders' activism in the 1920s and 1930s, and agitation for the Kabaka's return in the 1950s. The leaders of the 1940s--men like Mulumba, J. Kivu, F. Musoke, Rev. Spartas, James Miti, and others--did not get along with the leadership of the kingdom of Buganda. In the Budo struggle of 1942, and repeatedly during the 1945 and 1949 turmoil, the young Kabaka, Mutesa II proved ineffectual and evasive (albeit charming), rather than effective as a progressive leader of young men. (66) Worse yet, Bataka party activists lacked working connections with the ministers who ran the kingdom. J.Kivu, for example, fought a personal feud with the kingdom's treasurer. (67) Others activists were connected to S. Wamala's faction in Ganda politics, and had been sidelined and marginalized when the Protectorate forced Wamala's retirement and subsequently put forward M.L. Nsibirwa, succeeded after his assassination by another British-identified politician, Michael Kawalya Kagwa. (68)

As ministers, Nsibirwa, Kulubya and Kawalya Kaggwa showed little interest in modifying their rule to make room for young men's demands for public participation, democracy and change. They saw such innovations as disorderly, disruptive, and fundamentally inappropriate. As prime minister, Kawalya Kaggwa dismissed the radicals by calling them lazy, and saying "What have they done ... so far? Have they improved their country in any way? Have they cultivated and kept good farms? No!!". (69) Kawalya Kagwa lacked understanding of young men's discontent, to the point that the former missionary HM Grace chided him for his rigor, arguing in the aftermath of the 1945 strike, "impatient young men ... are tempted to turn to revolt because no notice is taken of their questions. And a few become revolutionaries such as those you have in prison now.... Now you can't repress this movement--it will grow even more as your soldiers return, and the more who are educated the more this movement will grow. This urge for some voice in government comes from reading the history book, the overseas press, protestant theology, and even the Bible. This young Africa is an explosive force and though the numbers may be small, it will have growing power and it all depends how it is treated now whether it becomes a curse or a blessing. I beg you and the other chiefs will deal wisely with it...." (70) Kawalya Kagwa rejected such recommendations, perhaps provoked by the regular abusive telegrams he received from Mulumba and other Bataka party members. The radicals had more success with British officials and missionaries than they did with the leaders of the kingdom's government.

In a Buganda built on alliances, arrangements, patronage, clienthood, affiliation, and family, none of which was satisfying their desire for change, Mulumba and his colleagues publicly asked questions that antagonized Kawalya Kagwa, and attacked the way things got done. Mulumba, the Bataka Association, and the radicals of the late 1940s were indeed interested in jobs, wages, cotton, history, church governance, mineral rights, schools, and votes. But they had difficulty grappling in practical, administratively savvy ways with any of these concerns. Instead, what they understood, and wanted to change as an essential first step was, in simple terms, hospitality, friendship, civility, and the rituals of accommodation.

Reform, or British good-will, radicals knew, could deliver things to people, but in doing so, such benign British actions produced dependency, not strength. In staffing terms, this was almost certainly accurate--even schools expanded rapidly not by hiring more Baganda masters, but by recruiting young English teachers during the late 1940s and into the 1950s. (71) Regardless of Britons' motives, Mulumba and his colleagues believed that their hospitality, friendship, civility, and dinner rituals doomed Uganda. Only public critiques, mass mobilization, and a newly democratic politics could open the system and allow Ugandans to build their own stronger organizations. In Luganda newspapers and in petitions for elected chiefs, consultations with democratic synods and recognition for party organizations, activists experimented with new ways to organize people and structure opportunities and power. Instead of proper dinner parties of important people, or even "traditional" feasts of beer and meat, these activists wrote for vernacular newspapers, called mass meetings and built cross-class alliances using publicity stunts and public demonstrations, challenging conventional ideas of who might participate in politics, and what that participation might look like.

Revolutionary Rudeness?

Though banned, Buganda Nyaffe was one of the most widely read documents in Buganda during the mid 1940s. And it resonated with the frustrations and fears of a variety of young or disenfranchised Baganda who--though educated, experienced in interactions with Britons, and ambitious about their personal roles in shaping the world--were finding it difficult to accomplish much. The pamphlet's critique of both the British and their cozy relations with hospitable Baganda explained to youth that the country's crisis was not their fault, and that they could be the country's salvation. Social conservatives--both in Buganda during the 1940s, and in the scholarly literature subsequently written--tended to dismiss the activists of the 1940s as frustrated youth, inadequate businessmen, and living embodiments of the limits of education as a way of transforming Uganda. The activists of the 1940s were rude. Sometimes they were even proud of being rude, J. Kivu, for example, made a point in his autobiography of describing how he had thrown an unsatisfactory reference back literally in the face of an official who had condemned him as lazy. (72) And teachers' rebellion against a Budo administration, and subsequent rioting and mass resignations and expulsions, had launched the careers of activists including EMK Mulira and Henry Kanyike. (73)

Mulumba and the Bataka party's unrelenting letters, telegrams, petitions, and slanders did more than just remonstrate against specific British, mission, or elite Baganda practices. They fomented division among the rulers, using unsavory metaphors to characterize processes of cooperation. Instead of collegiality, cooperation was, for both Musoke and Mulumba, the action of dogs--Musoke's dogs allowed in the houses of the Britons, and Mulumba's missionary dogs coralling the Baganda for their British government overlords. Mulumba also went further, calling those who made profits from colonialism thieves, but even more pointedly characterizing Britons as "white swine" and arguing that "the dung in which you wallow is our wealth which you stole." (74) Such a metaphor insulted the colonial leadership. But it also went further, attacking wealth, the economic basis of patronage and hospitality, as "dung"--useful in women's work in banana gardens, but messy in men's coordination of politics. The effectiveness of the Bataka's initiatives was not limited to metaphors, though: it rested on careful readings of possible divisions among their rulers, as Bataka activists petitioned the Archbishop of Canterbury against Bishop Stuart, the Colonial Office against the Governor, radical parliamentarians like Fenner Brockway against the Labour Government, and former missionaries like H.M. Grace against local Baganda politicians. At the base of this attack on the ruling coalition was an attack on the ideal of consensus and paternal leadership. In a clear manifesto sent to the British prime minister, the colonial office, the governor of Uganda, the kabaka of Uganda, the United Nations, and others, Mulumba as the representative of his party announced "There is no more beating about the bush. The British Government must be told point blank what the Africans in Uganda want, and what they do not." His letter went on to list ten things they wanted, and ten they did not. Most of the demands revolved around saying "We do not want the British to keep on telling us we are not able to govern ourselves while they continue to misrule us, rolling in stacks of our money and deliberately hindering and retarding the normal development of the political, economic and social life of our country ... We do not want Britain to organize anything for us any more in Uganda; we will do so ourselves." (75)

Britons, in this analysis, were dictators, enslavers, "a gang of professional thieves that hide their colonial booty in the British law," and even when their policies looked progressive, Mulumba found it important to ask "Has Governor Sir John Hathorn Hall ever taken a refresher course in the Labour Party Policy at all?" (76) and went on to condemn how policies were actually implemented. In this context, where Bataka rhetoric announced "Our fathers have cheated us," (77) the only reasonable solution was democracy, with leadership by the young, untainted, and unconstrained.

Mulumba offered some of the most striking metaphors and aggressive petitions, but in his public campaign against politeness, business as usual, and dinners, he built on the patterns of petitions, public meetings, and agitation for "democracy" that characterized Ganda politics throughout the 1940s. This politics had roots in an older political tradition of dissent via secret disruption, rumor-mongering and arson. But while whispering campaigns, arson, and plots continued in Ganda politics, the Bataka Association's willingness to call together meetings of thousands in public displays, publicize everything in newspapers, and to put forward plans for elections of chiefs and a representative Lukiiko, rested on a new analysis of Ganda life which acknowledged real differences of opinion and interests among Baganda. Instead of assuming that everyone agreed on the rules of politics and order, and that the hierarchies that characterized Ganda life were natural and unchallengeable but open meritocratically to those adept in good manners and polite conduct, the new activists acknowledged real differences of interest, opinion, and desires, and a breakdown of any faith in a coherent social fabric.

Mulumba's writings, read out in mass meetings of the Bataka, included blunt statements that "The country of Uganda is our country ... and not yours, our Kabaka" and went on to attack not just Britons' rule and the Kabaka's alienation from his people, but "our native governments of Uganda that you bribe with agreements that they may keep the secret of how you robbed them ..." (78) For Mulumba, consensus on Buganda--or Uganda as a whole--could only be rooted in deceit, ignorance, or fantasy. In response to British images of themselves as providing maternal guidance and protection to an immature child-Buganda, Mulumba attacked the metaphor head on, stating "Your mother is taking up a gun to kill you. Your mother directs that a rope be put round your neck and you be hung from a tree. She strangles you. Britain, that you once called your mother ... threatens you with a gun and makes you suffer." And his diatribe went on to connect metaphor with current events, asking rhetorically "I hear that guns threaten the Bataka are they for their protection?... did that Saza chief come to the assistance of those Bataka?... Did our Katikiro who calls himself head of the Bataka come to the assistance of the Bataka when the guns were evident? Is the Kabaka in Buganda did he go to rescue his people when the British guns were about to smoke[?]" (79) The reality for Mulumba was one of exploitation, theft, and conflicts of interest. In his argument, he went even further than Musoke had in Buganda Nyaffe, which had argued that Baganda must beware alienating land. Mulumba argued that the fundamental structure of Buganda must be re-shaped, as the country's people were ill served by not just their metaphorical mother, but their kabaka, his prime minister, and chiefs at least down to the level of the ssaza. Mulumba and his colleagues propounded a radical activism antithetical to notions of civil disobedience, and rooted instead in a desire to disrupt that anticipated Franz Fanon. (80)

Nervous about disorder, the British administration--and its local allies in the government of Buganda--provided the radicals with perfect examples of conflicts of interest, and a failure of association. The British administration deported a variety of activists after the general strike of 1945, sending them to unhealthy areas of the country where these elite men could not get the comforts, food, and care they were accustomed to. Prince Suna--the king's uncle, and a senior radical--died in detention, along with Samwiri Wamala, a deposed prime minister. After his British-sponsored replacement, Nsibirwa, was assassinated, the administration responded with yet more detentions and imprisonments. Friends of the detainees explicitly accused the British of biological warfare: Kibuka Musoke, for example, detained for importing a hundred copies of Mulumba's indictment of Bishop Stuart, was held in a cell full of mosquitos, and prison warders rejected his pleas for a mosquito net, leaving his wife to complain "My husband had not seen a mosquito bite for ten years before he came to this prison and intentionally was exposed to malaria." And she noted that within 30 days of his arrest, he had lost 30 pounds in weight and was seriously ill from malaria. (81)

As the Bataka activists saw Britain's actions less as parental protection, and more as abusive forms of discipline, they increasingly found the politics of petition, deference, and appeal to be ineffectual. Where Luule and others had petitioned Bishop Stuart in the Native Anglican Church Synod, for example, Stuart counterattacked, complaining that they were not Christians, but only politicians, rebels wanting to deny the church the funds it got from various arrangements between the government and mission. (82) Holly Hanson, exploring changing relations among Ganda men, women, and land, has argued that one of the most important resources for an underling dissatisfied with a superior's leadership and demands, was the ability to leave and kusenga to a new landlord. Mulumba, Musoke, Luule and others, though, faced a situation where all the landlords seemed allied, movement meant the abandonment of their homes to aliens, and acceptable forms of reaching consensus failed.

Their choices of rude disruption, mass meetings, public insults, and disrespectful behavior culminating in riots during 1949, therefore, may have been problematic tactics, but emerged from a context where activists wanted to make conflict, clash and differences more visible to all, rather than seeking solutions in consensus, paternal benevolence, or the guidance of superiors. "Let the People cease to hope that anything will any longer be done for them if they have not struggled and fought for it," Mulumba enjoined his supporters. (83) And British observers of even the violence of 1949 were struck by how limited and carefully targeted the attacks were as they made specific points, rather than championing simple anti-colonial warfare or violent revolt. (84)

The Bataka's public meetings, regularly attended by police spies who took notes, provide a glimpse of the uneven emergence of a new populism. The most notable thing about the meetings is that even conservative police reports regularly indicated crowd counts of thousands. And though these were public meetings, organizers and participants understood them as dangerous acts of defiance--attempts to seize rights of association and speech that did not actually exist in the legal practices of Buganda and Uganda. At one small meeting of two to three hundred, after a police notice, Rev. Spartas Mukasa announced that the meeting would not proceed, as there were too many police around--and rumor had it that the police had salted the meeting with plainclothes police ready to act as agents provocateurs, beginning a free fight and providing an opportunity for uniformed police to storm the crowd in force. (85)

Reports from the meetings, though, provide a very tame glimpse of Bataka politics. The one constant from meeting to meeting was the request for money, and a collection to support both Mulumba in England and other activists' initiatives and legal defense in local lawsuits over sedition, slander and libel. But the menu of speakers included not only radicals like Rev. Spartas Mukasa, but also moderates, such as Dr. Ernesiti Kalibala, who told 2500 people to beware rumor, distrust Mulumba's inflation of his own importance, use lawyers, avoid "speaking stupid and insulting words" to attack their oppression, and go through proper channels--chiefs, lukiiko, governor, and colonial office--to make their protests. (86) Even more peculiar, later meetings included not just discussion of ongoing cases against Spartas, Kibuuka Musoke, and others, but also Mr C. Lubega's talk "on Baganda customs, deploring the present heavy drinking and other bad habits of the Baganda"--a sort of speech more commonly given by much-denounced British Residents. Members were also clearly divided and frustrated over how to react to the Kabaka's presence as they collected funds for a gift on his return but debated whether to try to interfere with his controversial marriage to a woman of the monkey clan.

By April of 1949, the police observers thought the meetings were becoming more focused, and Bataka propaganda more effective. Meetings continued to include effective pleas for funds. But they also expanded to questions of economic justice, with discussions of cotton and the ownership of fishing boats on Lake Victoria, and the observers who sat through mass meetings punctuated with shouts of "BU, BU" and ended with choirs and the "Buganda National Anthem" gradually began to conclude that "the Bataka propaganda is becoming more and more effective and that they are ensuring the support of the people by disseminating their propaganda through private schools." By the end of July, these observers were reporting ordinary meetings with more than 2000, and occasional meetings with 6,000 to 7,000 in attendance by a conservative estimate, and possibly as many as 10,000. Rev. (Spartas) Mukasa read out to these a letter from Semakula Mulumba arguing that in the past, Baganda had had no lawyers, and hadn't needed them, as the system was based on reconciliation. But under Britain, "Where can you find those values among the white people?". And Mulumba's lengthy analysis--with supporting documentation from interactions with the missions, the protectorate's land office, and the historical archives of the 1900 Agreement, was evidently read aloud to all.

Activism's Limits

Musoke, Mulumba, Mukasa, and the other activists of the 1940s called for popular action, the election of leaders, and the rejection of old alliances and associations between the Baganda elite and the British. They worked to destabilize one of the most effective and progressive colonial administrations within the British Empire. In doing so, they experienced some major reverses. The strikes of 1945, for example, led to the detention and death in exile of Prince Suna and the former (anti-British) prime minister Wamala. Nsibirwa's assassination in 1945--and the British response in detaining activists and imposing a compliant prime minister--threatened to block activists' democratic initiatives before they had been effective, and slowed reforms that the Protectorate administration had already planned. And the insurrection of 1949 failed to trigger a national uprising and, instead, brought a British crackdown.

In the face of such failure, where even the reforms that did arrive came not from activists but from governors' initiatives toward liberalization, the lessons Mulumba and his colleagues worked so hard to teach proved mostly lessons about how to fail, and the Bataka party's emphases on individual rights, youth leadership, capitalist entrepreneurialism, education and democratic politics were remembered as counterproductive. By the 1950s, especially in the wake of the Kabaka's deportation, Buganda's politics was once more dominated by ideas of patronage, cohesion, and common interest, and the lively negotiation of conflicting interests through rude democratic jostling, which the Bataka had put forward, seemed obsolete and pointless. The populist initiative of the Bataka, indeed, failed so thoroughly that when he studied Buganda politics in the 1950s, David Apter characterized the movement as successful principally as local, conservative, politics, rather than national disruption and mobilization. (87)

By the 1950s, prominent Baganda were once again reconstructing order within Buganda, dining conspicuously with Britons, and attempting to use meetings to preserve or restore their positions of power, prestige or authority. One of the new chiefs, W.P. Tamukedde, became an acknowledged expert on administering difficult areas, and emphasized that he did so by playing a paternal role--even to those older than he was himself. He got quick promotions as a polite man capable of smoothing out in translation a Provincial Commissioner's ill-judged language, keeping law and order even during the 1949 uprisings, hosting dinners and re-distributing the gifts of goats and cattle that his people offered. (88) The country's elites--both royal princes and rich Christians--were also re-making their solidarities through rituals of sociability. The princes held riotous drinking parties as well as regular Sunday meetings that emphasized their corporate membership in an association of royals. Elite Christians re-converged around tea parties. By the 1950s--despite political turmoil as the Kabaka was deported, debated, and reinstated--Baganda were again dining politically with Britons. Radicals like A.K. Sempa used their dinner opportunities to try to convince their hosts of essential Ganda unities, as he and his wife simultaneously argued that the 1949 uprising was not against the Kabaka, and that all Baganda rejected Kabaka Mutesa II's deportation. (89)

In 1953, though, Joseph Musanje Walugembe's nervous correspondence with Aidan Southall showed again how Buganda's elite had become sensitive to the political damage that poorly managed dining could do. Musanje, a prince who had spent time in England, dined with several anthropologists, drank alcohol, and explained to the anthropologists his understanding of Buganda's political mess, pointing to the dubious procedure by which Mutesa II had been chosen Kabaka, hinting that Irene Namaganda, Mutesa's mother, had been the then prime minister's (Nsibirwa's) mistress, and complaining about the social pretensions of the Kabaka's Christian wife. (90) The anthropologists, intrigued by this explicit discussion of scandalous goings on, checked out his gossip with their favorite research aide, W.P. Tamukedde, a man with extensive experience as a progressive administrator and well-connected Muganda. Tamukedde expanded on the gossip and Musanje's hints, confirming the messiness of Daudi Chwa's marriage to Irene Namuganda (she'd been a Gayaza student, said she was pregnant, missionaries pushed him to marry her, turned out she wasn't pregnant, and he considered himself tricked). Tamukedde even went further, noting that in Daudi Chwa's will, which he had himself translated into English for the Resident, Chwa denied paternity of Mutesa II, claiming Irene's son had been begotten by Y.K. Demoki, and that the next Kabaka should be George Mawanda. (91)

By the next day, Musanje had realized that his convivial dinner gossip could lead to trouble. It pointed to real divisions among Baganda. He sent the meal's host, Aidan Southall, a formal note thanking him for dinner, "but in case there may be any misunderstanding ... I would like to make it perfectly clear that the points were not at all of a political nature but a mere conversation of events. The questions put forward regarding riots murder of katikiro my mind should not have come into the picture as they are of a political nature. My answers to questions or in other words suggestions were merely ideas of what people might have had in there minds and not personal convictions of events and so the whole conversation may not be taken as Bona fide of facts." (92) Hearing of the conversation, another Institute researcher, Christopher Seminde came by the Institute to urge the anthropologists not to believe what was said, as everyone "KNEW" he Kabaka was legitimate. Musanje's son, who had apparently been drunk, came by to apologize. (93) The anthropologists were not so easily sidetracked--this was one of many conversations that apparently provoked their interest in slander, gossip and backbiting as Ganda political tactics. (94)

For Musanje--as for the more radical Sempa--it was no longer possible in the political climate of the 1950s to dine with Europeans, answering their political questions and gossiping about divisions within Buganda, without risking condemnation. Increasingly, political lines were drawn not between elite and commoner, but between Britons and Baganda. Asking questions over dinner, as anthropologists had done and continued to do, might seem innocuous compared to making deals over land ownership. But even elite Baganda, unsettled by a decade of activism and unnerved that a Kabaka who had prided himself on friendship with Governor Hall (95) could be deported, no longer trusted themselves or Britons with the potential of reconciliation through hospitality.

The Bataka activists successfully disrupted dinner parties, private negotiations, and social rituals. But instead of making a revolution, they brought in a decade of conservative reaction as Baganda confounded by the disruption of social rituals complained, criticized, and reached for the image of Ganda unity that the activists had so successfully disrupted. Decades of attacks on ideas and institutions of chiefship, patronage, and paternal authority weakened Ganda social rituals and institutions as Baganda sought strength. Improbably, Baganda therefore seized on the Kabaka, exiled by the British as he made his first move toward political engagement, as a person and institution embodying national unity and making the very democratic clashes and debates of the Bataka movement moot. Instead, radicals re-wrote history claiming they had backed the Kabaka all along, women suggested that maybe his infidelities weren't really all that bad after all, and senior chiefs stopped characterizing him as an erring child, instead merely noted that he was just like his grandfather Mwanga. (96)

Mutesa II, condemned by one of his senior chiefs as lacking any real relationships, and unable to love anyone--even wife, lover, child, or sister--and not known for behaving with affection, thus became the symbol of the new Buganda, a Buganda built not on relationships and the appearance of hospitality and affection, but on a politicized unity that demanded loyalty from those below without asking reciprocal responsibility of the leadership. (97) In his absence, the clans cancelled their soccer tournament as pointless, and women wore barkcloth instead of fashionable dresses. Activists who wanted fair cotton prices, entrepreneurial opportunities, Africanised bureaucatic positions for educated young men, elected chiefs, and popular debate, became peripheral to the new politics of loyalty and Ganda patriotism. Their efforts to make differences of opinion and interests overt and public faltered amidst mandatory displays of public unity. Dissent and disgruntlement became personally insulting, snide, and covert. And dinner parties reemerged as dangerous opportunities.

For Buganda's activists, the effectiveness and power of civility, manners, and polite institutions meant that disrupting them was an essential pre-requisite for true change or popular politics. Disruption, rudeness and confrontation, however, produced equivocal results that pushed even political activists back from radical ideas of democracy, elected chiefs, and free markets. Loyalty to the kabaka and a reassertion of the people's affiliations with the powerful re-emerged, bound in common interest and nurtured through rituals of deference and hospitality; activists sought a genre of politics with victories not simply of style or dignity, but countable results.

Department of History

Richmond, VA 23173


1. Uganda was a British protectorate that brought together people of many languages and cultures into a new political entity. Buganda was a precolonial kingdom, whose people were Baganda, spoke Luganda, and negotiated an arrangement with British agents in 1900 that preserved the kingdom within the new protectorate, and expanded possibilities for Ganda leadership beyond the kingdom, throughout the protectorate of Uganda. As Buganda was the center of British administration, and Ganda administrators key to the protectorate's ability to function, the kingdom was important beyond its geographical domain or fraction of the protectorate's population. Mulumba's letter is available at Semakula Mulumba to Bishop C.E. Stuart, 26 July, 1948, copied in the secret appendix to the report on the 1949 insurrection [hereafter Secret Appendix], 203. Boyd Papers, Rhodes House Historical Manuscript MSS Afr s.951.

2. A pioneering example of the new research is Jean Marie Allman, The Quills of the Porcupine: Asante Nationalism in an Emergent Ghana (Madison, 1993).

3. For descriptions of fundraising at meetings, see police reports, in Secret Appendix, 385-391, 399-401. For fraud and bankruptcy, see I. Musazi's experiences.

4. E.M.K. Mulira, quoted by Audrey Richards, fieldnotes 1/11/55, London School of Economics Archive, Audrey I Richards' Papers [hereafter Richards' Papers], 7/7. Mulira rather wished they had a worse governor, as that would make attacking his policies and asserting their own much easier.

5. For Kenya, see Joanna Lewis, Empire State-Building (Oxford, 2000).

6. Some suggest that these initiatives increasingly transformed chiefship from a locally based institution to something that was top down from the center, with councils to be put up for development and political participation.

7. Kakembo agreed with British assessments of Ugandan politics of the 1940s, asserting that the men involved were often failed businessmen, would-be civil servants or people aspiring to, but lacking, jobs in the Buganda bureaucracy. Patrick Ntambi Kakembo, "Colonial Office Policy and the Origins of Decolonization in Uganda, 1940-56" (Ph.D. Dalhousie University, 1990) eg. 24, 30, 37, 50-9, etc.

8. Some of Semakula Mulumba's writing sounds extreme. And intelligence reports on Festo Kibuka Musoke suggested that by the time he came out of detention after the 1945 strike, he seemed "mentally unbalanced". Detainees, 1949, Public Records Office, Kew Gardens, London, Colonial Office files (hereafter CO) CO 537/4677.

9. I base this general overview on the Uganda Herald from August through December, 1942.

10. This is true even of those that complain about the social scene, as Postelthwaite did in JRP Postlethwaite, I Look Back (London, 1947). He disliked the intense sociality of Buganda, preferring "the bush." This can be also seen vividly in the collection of papers of officials housed at Rhodes House, especially RA Snoxall, MSS Afr s 1755 (165). Douglas and Marcelle V Brown, ed.s, Looking Back at the Uganda Protectorate: Recollections of District Officers (Dalkeith, Western Australia, 1996) also includes a variety of vivid social reminiscences. Beverly Gartrell, "The Ruling Ideas of a Ruling Class: British Colonial Officials in Uganda, 1944-52" (Ph.D. City University of New York, 1979) 71, concurs, noting the socialization of new officials through elaborate social rituals involving everything from visiting cards and signing the book at government house, to sports and social events.

11. Gartrell, "Ruling Ideas ..." 134. Sample rituals included toasts to the Queen at formal dinners, and respect for the flag. Gartrell implicitly endorses Mulumba's critique--implying that these rituals reinforced a unity and identity that was at the base of officers' effectiveness.

12. Richards to "Dearie" 6/8/44, Richards Papers 18/4.

13. For a discussion of recruitment procedures for officers, see Gartrell, "Ruling Ideas" 50-55. Only after 1925 did technical competency even begin to become an issue, and gentlemanly status remained critical to recruitment nevertheless. Gartrell also emphasized that the mid 1940s were characterized by very heavy turnover, as men who had outstayed their terms during the war left, and new men were hired. 61. Gartrell also points to over 80% of officers who served before the war having Oxford or Cambridge degrees. 66.

14. Mulumba to Stuart, Secret Appendix, p. 204.

15. 218 Ugandan Christians to the Lambeth Conference [Bishops of Anglican World] 25-3-48, Secret Appendix, p. 197-9.

16. Ibid. Note: Stuart argued in his own defense that he had indeed had synod approval. The synod, though, was not in on what were basically private negotiations. The process--more than the result--was the source of the critics' suspicion.

17. Mulumba to Stuart, Secret Appendix p.204.

18. "I always get a bit muddled over land matters. I do not really understand them ... I am, however, rather under the impression that the Land Officer at the time did promise us things that perhaps he had no power to promise ..." Bishop Stuart to Sir John, 2-7-48 Lambeth Palace Archives, Fisher papers 49:376-7.

19. Timosewo Lule et al to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, 4-10-47, and T Luule et al to Archbishop of Canterbury, 8-9-47, CO 537/3592. Other signatories to Lule's letters included: EH Mutyaba, DKM Kyeyune, NL Mukasa, BM Kigougo; ANK Sekamanya; Z Ndaula; D Kilabebingi; SM Kisomose; JB Nalalya; B Kirigwajo; GA Lukonge.

20. By the mid 1940s, Stuart was nearly in a feud with protectorate officials, who increasingly put his wife Mary Stuart on critical education committees, instead of the Bishop, who they declared impossible to work with. His autobiography is quite pained as he describes how, by the 1940s, people expected more political sway from him than he could achieve. The Rt. Rev C.E. Stuart "28 years of happiness in africa" Lambeth Palace Archives MS 3983 (Miscellaneous manuscripts).

21. See G.P. McGregor, King's College Budo: The First Sixty Years (London, 1967) for an official history.

22. Gartrell's depiction of the socialization of British officers to stiff upper lips, self control and acceptance of imperial hierarchies parallels what Richards was told in interviews by elite Baganda. Both emphasize childrearing by people other than parents, pressure for effective peer relations from young ages, and an absolute demand for self-control and stoicism, regardless of the circumstances. See Gartrell, "Ruling Ideals" 99-114 and interviews on child discipline Richards' Papers 7/17.

23. Sir Apolo Kaggwa, for example. And the Kabaka was, by treaty, officially referred to as "His Highness". Even the Catholic Chief Justice received a title, at the prompting of the White Fathers, as Chevalier Stanislaus Mugwanya.

24. DSK Musoke, Buganda Nyafe (1944) translated from Luganda, in The Mind of Buganda D.A. Low, ed., (Berkeley, 1971) 119-124. Musoke's pamphlet was one of the most important pieces of rhetoric in Buganda during the mid 1940s, banned and selling wildly in the run-up to the 1945 general strike. Musoke anonymously accused the leadership of Buganda of selling their people into slavery by handing over their land to their British "friends". For a discussion of the larger dynamics, see Gartrell, "Ruling Ideas", 244, 260.

25. Fenekasi Musoke, detainee, petition, [1945] PRO CO 536/211. Both protectorate officials and the commissioner investigating the 1945 strike argued that Kulubya was simply unpopular because he did his job as treasurer, rather than dispensing patronage widely. "Report of Commission of Enquiry into the Disturbances which occurred in Uganda during January 1945" (Entebbe, 1945) In the Secret Report, "A private farmer outside Kampala" testified that Kulubya was disliked even by his schoolmates who complained that even they did not get jobs or help from him. PRO CO536/215.

26. "A Budo Teacher" Confidential Testimony to the Investigation into the 1945 Disturbances, Secret Report, PRO CO536/215.

27. For examples of this, see the investigations after the 1945 strikes (ibid.) and 1949 (especially Secret Appendix).

28. EMK Mulira, Thoughts of a Young African (London, 1945) 48-9. Note that Mulira's analysis emphasized that manners, and not morals or compassion, were the basis of Ugandans' ability to work together in communities.

29. ibid. 48-9.

30. James Miti, "History of Buganda" (bound typescript translated from Luganda to English by G.K. Rock), Makerere University Library, Kampala, Uganda Files 1-3 AR MI 8/3.

31. See Holly Hanson, Landed Obligation (Portsmouth, NH, 2004) and Nakanyike Musisi, "Transformations of Baganda Women: From the Earliest Times to the Demise of the Kingdom in 1966" (Ph.D. Thesis, University of Toronto, 1991).

32. The major publication of this project was L.A. Fallers, ed., The King's Men: Leadership and Status in Buganda on the Eve of Independence (London, 1964), dedicated to the memories of Sir Apolo Kagwa and Chevalier Stanislas Mugwanya--making explicit the researchers' debt to the establishment. Audrey Richards' other Ugandan publications also intersect in interesting ways with this project.

33. See Steven Feierman, Peasant Intellectuals (Madison, 1990) 46, where he describes people fearing lest the newly crowned king eat his people, but enthroning him with the injunction "give us food, give us bananas" to remind him that he has a reciprocal responsibility.

34. [Tamukedde?] Richards Papers, undated manuscript notes, 14/4.

35. [Walusimbi?] "Discussion with Mutuba gumu" 4/6/54, Richards' Papers, fieldnotes 7/2.

36. Interview with Noah Mubiazalwa [said to be 90 years old, born in reign of Suna], 19-6-54, Richards' papers 7/2.

37. Interview with Lutaya, his house, 9/11/56, Richards' papers, 7/2. Another interviewee re-stated this as "A chief never walked alone". I. Yalyakumanya, 15/2/56, Richards' Papers 7/2. Also, when the Kabaka was in exile in London, the Kago explained his Kabaka's expenses by asserting that the Kabaka wanted to feed everybody. Serewaniko, 2/12/55 Richards Fieldnotes, 7/2. This was a partisan assertion that the Kabaka was doing his best to build a power base, rather than a complaint that the man was wasting his people's money in extravagant consumption.

38. Musoke, Kaima, 2/5/51. Richards Papers, fieldnotes, 7/2.

39. ML Nsibirwa (the Katikkiro/prime minister of Buganda) was assassinated in 1945, and Serwano Kulubya (the treasurer) was the target of aggressive propaganda during the 1945 general strike, and forced to resign.

40. Survey response [1956], from female teacher with 10 years as missionary in Buganda, Richards' Papers 6/26.

41. J. Kivu, for example, remembered that his grandfather Luwaga Sengojje had eaten alone, as a famous medium and sorcerer. Kivu Autobiography, Richards Papers, 6/16. The Kabaka, too, ate alone, thus confirming his status as dangerous, and the head of the complex hierarchy of chiefs.

42. Children claimed "starvation" but the punishments were generally missing a few meals--inducing hunger but not threatening well-being. Richards' Papers, surveys, 6/27.

43. For example, Paulo Lukongwa, interview, Busiro, 20-1-51, Richards Papers, 7/18. Lukongwa asserted that a wife who failed to have food ready would need to be beaten.

44. At Bukerekere 7/10/55. Richards Papers, 6/4.

45. The election of chiefs was an often repeated demand of the Bataka movement of the 1940s. See, for example, Clovis Musoke, "If Buganda attained to self-government, why are her chiefs not elected" Gambuze 30-1-48 (translated) in Secret Appendix, 92.

46. Richards, "Authority Patterns in Traditional Buganda" in The King's Men 292-3.

47. Indeed, one of the reasons for complaints about Mutesa II was that his succession had been pushed through by Nsibirwa, with whom Irene Namaganga was staying, rather than gradually decided on by a debate within the Lukiiko. One of the most vivid examples of children's intense interest in meritocratic office holding is J. Kivu's description of his youth as a goatherd, where the boys organized themselves into an elaborate hierarchy of officeholders with specific prestige associated with each task. J. Kivu, "Autobiography" Richards Papers 6/16.

48. Richards, "Authority Patterns" in The King's Men 297. She emphasizes that after growing up aware that survival and success depended on docility and judgement of a superior's character and moods, Baganda gentlemen were "never rude except intentionally".

49. [DSK Musoke], Buganda Nyafe [Buganda our mother], translated and excerpted in D.A. Low, ed., The Mind of Buganda (Berkeley, CA, 1971), 123. The Whitely Commission all but blamed the 1945 general strike on this pamphlet.

50. Ibid, 124. Mulira, too, evoked slavery, arguing that "civilization" produced separations of individuals from community networks meaning that "Separation from one's people, which once meant enslavement, to-day is a voluntary affair." Mulira, Thoughts, 54.

51. Mutesa's mother remarried, pregnant, a man younger than herself who had attended school with her son. Mutesa insisted on marrying a girl of the Nkima clan, the one and only clan a king was not allowed to marry. He then "fell in love" with her sister so publicly that he pursued a divorce (unsuccessfully) and ended up being counseled on marriage by the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was also entangled with a variety of lovers, most notably Enoch Mulira's wife, who bore him at least two children, leading Mulira to name the Kabaka as a co-respondent in his divorce case. Even more scandalously, Mutesa was rumored to be responsible for his half-sister's pregnancy, and perhaps even the botched abortion that according to rumor killed her, and to sleep with men.

52. Mutesa II acknowledged this in his autobiography, noting that the governor, Sir John Hall, had become a lifelong friend, and that "the Baganda, with some reason, thought that I was greatly influenced by the Governor and therefore unable to champion their cause. So they had no one to approach with their grievances, and there was first a strike and then riots ... The riots were serious." "The Kabaka of Buganda" Desecration of my Kingdom (London, 1967) 88-9; 110-1.

53. Mulumba to Director Trusteeship Council United Nations, 12-4-49, Secret Appendix 306.

54. For a scathing diary of the 1949 upheaval, along with a discussion of its targets and implications, see John Sibley, "Diary of the Riots in Uganda, April 26 to May 1st 1949", Rhodes House Manuscripts, MSS Afr s 1825 Box 61. Sibley thought social welfare had been targeted because they'd refused to let a neighbor, an African lawyer active in the Bataka movement, use their latrine. He also reported the burning of Kulubya's house, and another associated with Mulyanti. These houses were rented out to European tenants, who were warned to get out. The violence thus did not target the Europeans, but the relationship between them and their Baganda landlords or, more generally, the relations between Baganda and Britons. The 1949 risings had nothing to do with communism, he asserted, but "The riots have been produced not by Joe Stalin, but by John Hathorn Hall, Governor of Uganda."

55. Paulo Kavuma and W.P. Tamukedde, both of whom received their principal preparation for chiefships as they worked in Protectorate clerkships, are examples of the new bureaucrats. I. Musazi, with his cotton schemes, and J. Kivu, leading the motor drivers, exemplify economic activists. And Shem Spire, founder of the African Orthodox church, EMK Mulira and the other newspaper editors, and E. Kalibala, A. Kironde and the other men from Aggrey School all qualify as imaginative entrepreneurs.

56. John Sibley, "Diary ... 1949". Sibley also noted that the main casualty of the events was the relationship between Baganda and Britons, and he considered the damaged relationship tragic.

57. I quote from the version Semakula Mulumba quoted above. Stuart even began his letter with "My dear Omwami". Stuart to Mulumba, 6-7-48. Incidently, this constitutes real attempt at informality on Stuart's part, as he regularly signed official correspondence as "Cyril Uganda".

58. Mulumba to Stuart, copy in 1949 secret appendix p.207. Incidently, there is another--much more obscene--letter from Mulumba that goes even further to provoke a response.

59. See Yusufu Bamuta Papers, boxes A and B, Makerere University Library.

60. For sample Mulira Letters to the Editor, see Uganda Herald 1945, Mulira, Thoughts, and EMK Mulira, Troubled Uganda (London, 1949).

61. "Report of Commission of Enquiry into the Disturbances which occurred in Uganda during January 1945" (Entebbe, 1945) [also known as the Whiteley Commission].

62. Ironically, Mulumba's most enthusiastic duplicators may have been the colonial security and intelligence services. The secret appendix of the commission of enquiry into the 1949 events produced a re-printed collection of Mulumba's most striking work, both in English, and translated from the Luganda. I have used this collection of documents for many of my references here.

63. Kibuka Musoke was arrested at the airport with the material in his bags. Mr. Sebbanja Mukasa was apparently also arrested after reading out Mulumba's materials and talking to large gatherings of (by Mulumba's assertion) 8000 to 9000 people. Secret appendix, 231.

64. Semakula Mulumba to Bishop Stuart, 29-8-48. Incidentally, "altars" (as opposed to communion tables) would in and of themselves offer a negative connotation to low church Ugandan Protestants who fought vigorously against high church (and Catholic) furniture that they considered idolatrous.

65. Telegram, Bataka to colonial secretary, Governor Hall, etc. 7-9-49. Secret Appendix 239.

66. Some of these men, indeed, knew Mutesa II from Budo, where they had been members of the faction calling for the restraint of the princes, and new discipline for the school. Mutesa's friends were princes, princesses and Britons. The Kabaka's willingness to seduce the Christian wives of elite Baganda men probably took a toll on their willingness to work effectively for his power and leadership. See, for example, the Mulira divorce case naming the Kabaka as a co-respondent. Even "old married women" proved potential recruits to the Kabaka's charms, and while the Kabaka offered offices and resources to husbands in compensation, the process made it difficult for Christian-educated, progressive Baganda to take traditional leadership seriously as a base for negotiating with the British. For the Mulira divorce case (its political significance and what the Kabaka offered as compensation) see discussion in Richards Papers, 7/6.

67. In his autobiography, Kivu claims that he personally began a whispering campaign against Kulubya that culminated in the 1945 general strike and Kulubya's resignation. J. Kivu, Autobiography, Richards Papers, 6/16.

68. Wamala's forced resignation, when the government pushed his retirement by arguing that he was mentally unbalanced as a result of tertiary cerebral syphilis, was one of Mulumba's grievances against the Protectorate.

69. ME Kawalya Kagwa to Rev. Canon HM Grace, 5-12-45 Council of British Missionary Societies' Archives, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London [CBMS] A/T. 3/2 Box 281 Africa Committee, Uganda.

70. Grace to Kawalya Kagwa, 17-1-46 CBMS A/T. 3/2 Box 281 Africa Committee, Uganda.

71. In missions, and among government officials, the common wisdom was that it was easier to hire a white recruit than to find a competent local for the increasingly skilled and technical work of development. Governors of Uganda fought this attitude, using the development of Makerere University as a way of expanding the supply of educated Africans, but expanding Makerere, too, meant more dependency on Britian for faculty and staff.

72. J. Kivu, "Autobiography" Richards Papers, 6/16. A Superintendent wrote a reference saying, "He is different from others. He is quite obedient. He can work but he is lazy." And Kivu remembered making a copy of it, and then throwing it in the official's face and marching away. Kivu remembered--proudly--plenty of other moments of rudeness, contradiction, and rejection of British acts.

73. Mulira was relatively moderate--almost repenting of his resignation from Budo. Others were less conciliatory. Many went on to teach at Aggrey, an independent school founded by E. Kalibala, a hotbed of conservative education and radical politics.

74. Translation (from police intercept) of Luganda Telegram by Mulumba, 18-8-48. Secret Appendix 249. Mulumba's telegram goes on to tell British officials "we scorn you like the droppings in a privy" and uses a phrase "Mpotelee Mbali" which the translator initially translates as "go and be hanged you animal" and then corrects himself, saying it is actually closer to "fuck off".

75. Mulumba to UNO, British PM, CO, Governor of Uganda, Bakabaka Uganda, Bataka Uganda, 8-8-48, Secret Appendix 237-8.

76. Mulumba to all, 15-8-48, Secret Appendix 240-1.

77. Telegram, 16-8-48, Secret Appendix 243.

78. Mulumba, The British In Uganda" undated, Secret Appendix, 247-8.

79. Mulumba, "The Lion is Wounded" 20-8-48, Secret Appendix, 250.

80. Though contemporaneous with Gandhi's satyagraha efforts in India, Mulumba's vision of struggle differed radically, as he lacked confidence that British decency could be effectively appealed to. Mulumba's critique is similar to Fanon's in "Concerning Violence" and his rejection of polite accommodations parallels Fanon's prophetic discussion of the "Pitfalls of National Consciousness." Franz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth (1962).

81. Secret Appendix, 280.

82. Secret Appendix, 290-1. T. Luule to His Highness the Kabaka, 11-11-48 is a letter that shows clearly the breakdown of consensus as "the Christians wrote several letters to the Bishop imploring him to consult his Synod, but he refused ... it is quite apparent that the Bishop has little consideration for us, on top of which he has spoilt the good name of our church." Signed T. Luule, NL Mukasa, EW Wamala, EH Kutyaba, S Majanja, J Mponye, Musisi, Kasasa S, Busulwa, Bakalya, Kitaka, Sekamajya for and on behalf of the Christians in the church of Uganda.

83. Mulumba, Secret Appendix, 20 December 1948, 297.

84. See Sibley, for example. His strike diary makes clear that if rebels had wished to target Europeans, they had had plenty of opportunity for interracial violence. And they generally limited their attacks on whites to stone-throwing and heckling, even warning white tenants leave and thus avoid accidents when strikers planned to burn buildings belonging to elite Baganda.

85. Police report, 7 August, 1948, Secret Appendix, 393.

86. Police report, 3-9-48, Secret Appendix, 393-4. The report goes on to note "a number of people were not pleased with the speech of Dr. Kalibala. From one source comes a report that he may be assaulted and from others that Dr Kalibala had been told by the Europeans what to say."

87. David Apter, The Political Kingdom in Uganda (revised edition) (London, 1961, 1967, 1997) 248-50.

88. W.P. Tamukedde, "My Life as a Chief and a District Commissioner" Richards Papers 13/1.

89. Notes on dinner party with AK Sempa and his wife and Cranford Pratt, 28-12-55, Richards Papers, 7/3.

90. Fieldnotes, Joseph Musanje, 9/6/53, Richards Papers, 7/5.

91. Tamukedde 10-6-53, Richards Papers 7.5. This worked, he argued, because Irene was very well connected politically, and her family (Kayizze) produced a bogus will. Richards heard similar gossip on Mutesa's paternity from Zaki, who claimed he was one of 6 chiefs present when Chwa denied paternity and designated Mawanda as his choice for heir. Fieldnotes, Zaki, 1-3-54, Richards Papers, 7/5.

92. Joseph Musanje Walugembe to Aidan Southall, 10-6-53, Richards Papers 7/5.

93. Fieldnotes, 10/6/53, Richards Papers 7/5.

94. They proceeded to ask leading questions about slander in subsequent interviews with senior men throughout Buganda, and it even shaped surveys of schoolchildren that Richards undertook in elite secondary schools.

95. Mutesa II described Hall as "a lifelong friend" that he could drop in on at Government House, and who even offered marriage advice. Mutesa II Desecration, 88, 97.

96. See Sempa's comments, Notes on dinner party with AK Sempa and his wife and Cranford Pratt, 28-12-55, Richards papers 7/5 for radical revisionism. For defense of the Kabaka by EMK Mulira (who was trying to persuade his brother not to sue for adultery) Richards Files, 7/6. Also, see the comments of Sempa's wife (after her husband left) when she supported the Kabaka, and asserted that all Baganda women belonged to him. Her interviewer was startled--the Sempas had a Christian marriage. PCWG, Conversation with Amos Sempa 19 June 1954 Richards Papers, 7/6. For similarity to Mwanga see Joshua Kamulegeya, Mugema, 28-6-54, and others in the file. Richards Papers 7/5.

97. For comments on Kabaka's inability to love, see Joshua Kamulegeya, Mugema, 28-6-54, and others in the file. Richards Papers 7/5.

By Carol Summers

University of Richmond
COPYRIGHT 2006 Journal of Social History
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Date:Mar 22, 2006
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