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Post by sol_drethedon on Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:05 pm

2. The Uganda Protectorate -- First Phase

A bourgeois historian, Hemphill has remarked that earlier British unwillingness to take on East Africa within its rule was taken care of by other forces which were its agency in protecting the interests of its financial capital. We have earlier referred to the IBEAC. Indeed its task was the colonization of Uganda for British imperialism. Hemphill points out:

"The use of the chartered company was an expedient. The declaration of the sphere of influence was an invasion. The sphere of influence was a peculiar sort of possession, a good deal more than unclaimed territory, a good deal less than a colony or a protectorate. The chartered company, though perhaps better than nothing, was never more than the poorest substitute to a colonial government. The early administrators in East Africa for all their good will, were themselves victims of a remote situation created by the complexities of International politics and British finance.

This indeed was so. The IBEAC had the full mandate to establish a colony over East Africa. What was to follow was merely procedural. The substantive step had been taken, as events that followed the company's entry into Buganda proved. This began with Lugard's entry in December 1890. From that moment, the steps of introducing a British colony took on a new momentum, a sustained effort to legalize what had gone on already. Lugard in the true spirit of his imperial masters, started by dividing and then ruling the various factions within Buganda's former ruling class -- a split very much backed by the various monopoly groups. The Ingleza faction which backed the British imperialists and the Fransa fraction which backed the German, French and Belgian imperialists were  pawns in the conflict were pawns in the conflict of these imperial powers in their intra-imperialist rivalries.

The first steps were the signing of a treaty by Mwanga and the chiefs on 6th December 1890, after what were described as 'stormy negotiations' giving the company 'suzerainty' over Buganda. A similar treaty was signed with Wakoli of Busoga in December 1895. Lugard then moved to mediate between the Ingleza and Fransa faction by distributing land to individuals, thus dealing a blow to the traditional system of clan land tenure. We will say more of this later. In the meantime consolidation of  'suzerainty' over Uganda proceeded. Lugard now turned to Bunyoro. Here he saw in Kabarega a threat to the consolidation of British rule. Firstly, Kabarega was fighting to consolidate the kingdom against the rebellious princes in Toro and hostility from Ankole; furthermore he had problems with Buganda, which carried out raids against Bunyoro and had to be resisted. Secondly, there was a danger that Kabarega might link with Muslims in Buganda to threaten the accord there. Thirdly, Kabarega's intransigence was enabling trafficking in arms and ammunition from the German spheres to the Muslims in Uganda. Lugard now found opportunity to make new allies in the conflict. First he backed anti-Bunyoro Ntare of Ankole, and signed a treaty with him. Here he killed two birds with one stone -- he strengthened Ntare against Bunyoro and also restricted the trafficking in arms from from Karagwe in Tanganyika to the Muslims in Uganda. Then he proceeded to Toro wiith Kasagama under his armpit and supported Toro's rebellion against Bunyoro for a separate kingdom. With Sudanese troops, a military campaign against Bunypro sealed a treaty with the new 'king' Kasagama, thus placing Toro under the company's 'protection' This campaign also dealt a blow at Buntoro's resistance; with Mwanga's troops supporting the Sudanese garrison, Bunyoro could no longer effectively assert its independence. It was now rapidly being brought under control, but not as yet.

Returning to Uganda at the end of December 1891, Lugard had enough treaties to show for his campaign. He now faced an intransigent ally in Mwanga, who was beginning to show uneasiness to external control. So when Mwanga aquitted a Fransa faction member who had murdered an Ingleza party supporter in self-defense, Lugard took it to be a challenge to the company's authority, and insisted that Mwanga reverse his judgment .When Mwanga refused, Lugard handed out weapons to the ingleza faction. The struggle that ensued sent Mwanga and the Fransa faction out of the capital to the island of Bulingugwe. The earlier land settlement which favoured the Ingleza faction was reinstated, thus reaffirming the principle of territorial partition and and ownership, restricting the Fransa faction to Buddu county and the Muslims to the three small counties of Gomba, Busujju and Butambala as a buffer zone between the two principal factions. Mwanga was faced with a fait accompli; he accepted the terms and returned, only to be required to ratify a new treaty, on 11th April 1892, under which the company's flag was to be flown by both parties.

Thus British power under the company was established over Buganda, enabling steady formalization of British rule in the second phase.But problems over the land settlement remained, and also the positions of Toro and Bunyoro were unclear. When Lugard left Buganda at the end of 1892, he nevertheless had reason to be proud of his 'dual mandate', in this case the successful overseeing of the British sphere and the establishment of the first phase of suzerainty over Buganda, Toro and Ankole. For all practical purposes the IBEAC had fulfilled its function, a few years later, after making a few losses, the company was wound up, its services no longer required.

The first British commissioner, Gerald Portal, arrived in Uganda on 17th March 1893. On 1st April 1893 the Union Jack replaced the company's flag on the Kampala Fort, and May a new treaty of protection in the name of the British state was signed by Mwanga and the chiefs. A formal declaration of a protectorate over Uganda was to come the following year. In the intervening period, the problems left behind by Lugard came to the fore, The Muslim faction rebelled and joined Kabarega in Bunyoro. Another military campaign was launched by Colville and Macdonald of the IBEAC and, with the Buganda army fighting on bthe side of the British, Bunyoro was defeated and became a conquered territory. Kasagama who also fought alongside the British, was installed over an enlarged 'confederation' of Toro, and as a result of the victory, Buganda's borders were vastly extended to the north, thus initiating the 'lost counties' issue in which the British imperialists carved out forty percent of Bunyoro's territory to be 'given' to Buganda and Toro in the new confederacy. The land settlement in Buganda was confirmed in 1894, and the principle of freedom of religion and security for land partition assured. But the old traditional Buganda was now a new entity, and with it a new major contradiction between the people and imperialism was initiated.

Having settled the problem of Buganda, the British imperialists, using the new Ingleza agents, began to extend outwards. In Busoga, a treaty which had been signed with Wakoli led to the establishment of an administrative station there in 1893. In Ankole, a new treaty of protection with Britain was signed in 1894. Most of Uganda was not as yet reached by British agents. This was a task for the second phase -- a phase that led to the formal incorporation of  Uganda into the British empire. More importantly, in this phase a state structure of a new type, fitted to the requirements of British and other imperialist finance capitals, was established.


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