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Post by sol_drethedon on Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:36 pm


Land Distribution and the 'Free' Peasant

Before we leave the question of agriculture it is important to consider one issue that dominated the politics of the colonial state n in this early period, namely the question of land. A lot of controversy were raised in the colonial literature on this question, and the equally important one of the supply of labor. We have  noted  that in the 1900 Buganda Agreement, half the land in Buganda was parceled out and given to the Kabaka and over four thousand chiefs as part of the booty for services rendered to imperialism. This  step in effect abolished all the traditional rights which the peasantry (bakopi) enjoyed over their lands under the clan system, which was still largely in operation. Under the traditional system the  heads of kindred groups exercised authority over land on behalf of the clans, side by side with chiefs, who in the later period were appointed by the Kabaka at will, so that for all practical purposes, and although in theory, the Kabaka was regarded as owner of the land, the peasants had through the clans full control and use over their lands.

It is no secret that one of the main purposes of imperialism, as we have shown with Marx and Lenin, was to access the land and its products in the colonies. For this reason all imperialist powers, whether in India, China, Algeria, America etc., in their quest to dispossess the peasant owners of land first attributed its ownership to to the local sovereign. Thus, by assuming political control, the imperialists also assumed control over the land. This came out clearly in the Uganda Agreement of 1900. Under articles 15-17 of the Agreement, apart from under half of the estimated 9,600 square miles for government stations. It also reserved to itself  'the right to carry through or construct roads, railways, telegraphs, or other useful public works, or to build military forts or works of defense on any property, public or private.'

The effect of parceling this land to the Kabaka and his chiefs and the British Crown, initially confirmed by the Land Law of 1908, was the dispossession of the peasantry. In Buganda it was  seized upon by the former ruling oligarchy to enrich themselves, utilizing the pre-existing customary tribute of envujjo, and the free labor kasanvu service  to the chief one month in the year, as the basis of extracting surplus value from the peasantry. Under envujjo, the chiefs, as we have seen, gave out cotton seed to the peasantry on their newly acquired mailo lands and extracted a surplus product much above what was due to them for their consumption under feudal Buganda. Ehrlich estimates that in 1924 the 'biggest county chief' was receiving  an annual income of 'more than 3,500British Pounds from various services'. In other feudal districts similar appropriations took place. In Toro, where no similar agreement on the line of Buganda Agreement was signed, efforts were made  in 1923 and  1927 by the British colonial administration to convert the  personal tribute hitherto paid by the ruling oligarchy by the  peasants into a local tax to be paid to the district administration for meeting the salaries of the chiefs. This was tried for the next 10 years in other districts, in the non-stratified areas by a direct levy  on a hut, or other tax for the same purpose.

But the chiefs in Toro and Busoga strongly opposed  the replacement of feudal personal tribute by a direct tax, which was then paid to them as a fixed salary, since it not only reduced their income but also their authority over the peasantry. The British colonial administration would not however give way, and some chiefs resigned, preferring a personal tribute to a fixed salary. This was the case in Busoga in particular, where the 1,700 mitala and kisoko chiefs rejected the new arrangement en masse. But others ultimately accepted the new terms. Despite the fact that no land  system similar to the Bugandan one was conceded in Toro, Ankole and Bunyoro district commissioners, acting no doubt on authority, allowed some sort of tribute-paying system on similar lines to that existing in Buganda on the mailo estates. As far as Toro was concerned, the 1900 Toro Agreement had assigned 376 square miles to the mukama, the chiefs and leading personages of the tribe, for official and  private use. Thos allocation was meant for waste or uncultivated lands in areas of defense population, where they could obtain tribute. The mukama also, without colonial authority, distributed  the remainder of the  occupied land as official estates and as fief holdings to the retired chiefs, members of the ruling oligarchy, retainers and  court favorites. This entrenched their position more than ever before, but only temporarily.

In Bunyoro, where the colonial government had initially permitted tribute to be paid only to official chiefs, not to retired ones and traditional authorities, the colonialists gradually gave way to a system whereby the mukama, by assuming the right to grant estates, tried to restore the position of the old by assuming the right to grant estates, tried to restore the position of the old hierarchy. These and not the official chiefs alone recieved the tribute  and services traditionally given to them by the peasants. By 1931, 6,000 of the 22,000 tax-payers in Bunyoro lived on such private kibanjas, and the peasants were forced to pay tribute at the rate of 7shs per annum in addition to administrative taxes. This worked as long as the financial oligarchy was not fully consolidated through the colonial state.

In Busoga there had been no commitment in the agreement to extend  the mailo system there. But, like their counterparts in Ankole, Toro and Bunyoro, the saza chiefs divided their areas into personal estates (bwesengenze) of the office-holding chiefs and other areas to be ruled by the officially appointed subordinate  chiefs. At this early stage, before colonial administration was consolidated, the colonial officials did not have much control over the appointments by the saza chiefs to these subordinate offices, and hence over the tributes and levies paid by the peasants to these chiefs. The Basoga saza chiefs hoped that these arrangements would eventually be confirmed on the lines of the Buganda system. The Land Settlement Committee which had been appointed in 1911 under the chairmanship of Morris - Carter, in its first and subsequent reports  on economic policy and  particularly on land, had recommended that 84% of Ankole, 89% of Bunyoro, 73% of Busoga and  85% of Toro be made available  for alienation to non-Africans, and the remainder on the basis of four acres each to Africans, regardless of population increases! This was in conformity with the earlier colonial policy that the African's main productive role was to be that of wage-laborer on plantation estates. But, significantly, the committee also recommended  that large  private and official estates be given to chiefs and leaders in these areas, since they had been promised to them and  were necessary for securing their loyalty to the colonial and  imperialist  policy.

By the  1920s the situation had changed radically. European settlement was  becoming increasingly untenable, due to economic conditions, and the main interest of monopoly capital was to rely increasingly on direct peasant labor in the production of cotton and coffee. Moreover, with the increasing authority of the colonial administration and the need for its  consolidation in order  to ensure  proper administration and order, the role of the traditional chief in the colonial state machine was being re-examined in the light of the changes over the twenty years. The  increasing wealth of these  'country gentry', obtained from tribute collection and  free labor service, particularly with the failure of the European plantation economy, was also drawing the attention of the  colonial regime. It appeared to imperialists that, instead of becoming efficient administrators of the colonial state machine, these  chiefs were growing rich on cheap enserfed peasant labor. Capitalism could not be used to enrich a feudal class on this basis if the financial oligarchy was to obtain the full benefit of peasant labor. This was in line with the general laws of capitalist production, for capitalism best operated where labor was free from encumbrances. The needs of financial capital were beginning to dictate policy in a new direction. This general concern in official circles was well brought out Ehrlich:

"During the early years of cotton growing the chiefs had played a dominant role and enjoyed a liberal share of the new  wealth. The government had  regarded them not merely as indispensable agents for the imposition of British rule, but as  potential leaders in the process of social and economic change which stemmed from that rule. But whatever their success in the former role, the chiefs proved to be  sadly deficient in qualities of economic leadership. With a few  exceptions they were content to enjoy the  carefree life  of country gentry, financed by ill-defined but lucrative rents, taxes and  tributes."

The new policy was to try to 'free' the peasants from the 'primitive' exploitation by the chiefs and to release their productive capacity directly for a more 'civilized' exploitation
for the benefit of the financial oligarchy, without semi-feudal encumbrances. This became  the  crusade of the colonial administration, for had they not 'fought against slavery'. The real reason was to put the peasant at the  direct command of financial capital. As Wrigley put it: 'Peasants would work harder and produce more if they were allowed to retain a greater proportion of the proceeds of their labors.' Enquiry after enquiry was held to investigate the 'excessive zeal' of chiefs in fining and punishing peasants for not planting cotton and not paying tribute. The governor of Tanganyika echoed this  crusade of finance  capital over the border in Tanganyika, where similar problems arose, when he stated:

"The position that native tradition and custom gives a chief  a claim to a share of the exportable produce which is now being grown owing to our success in establishing peace and security and providing means of transport to the coast, is, of course, preposterous and  cannot be counternanced for a moment."

The new 'revolutionary policy' proposed was the transference of limited land rights from the new landowners to 'the masses of the people'. Was after all not the peasant that worked, and was it not becoming clear that he would not do it 'under  duress'. The merchants, who were regarded as the 'best judges in this manner', also agreed that a free earning peasant 'assured of a larger share of of the fruits of his toil' would lead to 'larger sales of British goods', like Manchester fabrics, Birmingham hardware, Coventry cycles etc., 'whereas wealthy chiefs spent their money on American cars'.

This was the economic rationale behind the 'new revolutionary policy' of the 1920s, which we shall soon examine. Suffice it again to refer to Marx on the issue of the importance  of low-cost raw materials to capitalist production. He pointed out that in the colonies this was cheaper because of the use of 'slaves and coolies etc' In Uganda, the use of peasants on a semi-feudal basis by the landed interests was against the interest of monopoly capital, and had to be done away with. Marx had also pointed out this tendency when in Volume 2 of his Capital he stated:

"As capitalist production develops, it has a disintegrating, resolvent effect on all older modes of production . . .capitalist production makes the sale of products the main interest  . . .[It] first makes the production of commodities general, then by degrees transforms all commodity production into capitalist commodity production."

But peasant production cheap. This was because a self-employed peasant producing for the market was paid a price, which included a wage, necessary for his subsistence and reproduction. His subsistence needs were minimal, since they were in large measure  met by use of his own hand and that of the family on his plot. His other needs which required to be met were his tax, some commodities like cloth, soap, salt and medicine, school fees for his children and tithes for the church. But in many cases the wage paid was inadequate and below value. Moreover, the peasant was increasingly, by this process, being pushed into the hands of the usurer in the country-side - a process that further moved him into increased commodity production. The whole history of capitalist agriculture pointed to the irrationality of agricultural development under capitalism, confirming the tendency by capitalism to rely on the small peasant producer. Said Marx:

"The moral of history,  also to be deduced from other observations concerning agriculture, is that the capitalist system works against a rational agriculture, or that a rational agriculture is incompatible with the capitalist system( although the latter promotes technical improvements in agriculture) and needs either the hand of the small farmer living by his own labor or the control of associated producers. [emphasis added)

Thus the peasant is increasingly drawn into capitalist commodity production, and capitalism - particularly under monopoly - turns him into a semi-proletarian hand. That is why the peasant, as Engels pointed out, increasingly became ' a toiler who differs from the modern proletariat in that he still possesses his instruments of labor.' Marx himself stated: 'What separates the peasant from the proletariat is, therefore, no longer his real interest, but his delusive prejudice.' And again:

The smallholding of the peasant is now only the pretext that allows the capitalist to draw profits, interest and rent from the soil, while leaving it to the tiller of the soil himself to see how he can extract his wages."

Wrigley says more or less the same thing when he observes:

In its inception, indeed, cotton production was regarded as very much a Uganda Company enterprise. The chiefs acted as the company's managers, the peasants were its  employees so to speak at one remove.

Thus as we noted, it was estimated that a peasant working on his own plot could continue production of coffee when the production was as low as 16 cents per pound, whereas a capitalist farmer employing labor could not do so even in the when the price went as high as 19 cents per pound, in this period. This provided the basis for the new policy on land. All this was reflected in monopoly capitalist circles in London, which increasingly looked upon the peasant as the point of departure for the cotton growing. Brett has observed:

"This attitude in Uganda was complemented in London by the influence of the textile industry and the campaign for Empire-grown cotton. Ugandan peasant producers were no doubt effectively spoken for at the Colonial Office by Humphrey Legget, backed by the British East Africa Corporation and the British Chamber of Commerce. The Empire Cotton Growing Corporation took on Uganda as a major sphere of activity and devoted a considerable percentage of its resources to promoting the crop thereafter 1923."

This policy did not, however, come on its own. The dispossession of clan lands by a few members of the intermediary oligarchy attracted opposition from the peasantry. This position, as will become clear later, formed one of the pillars of the nationalist movement against colonialism. In 1921, the peasant agitation against the new land system broke out in Buganda. This 'Bataka Movement' was spearheaded by the bakopi (the peasants) and the bataka (clan leaders). The movement complained of the 'irresponsibility of the chiefs' and the monopoly they exercised through Apolo Kaggwa, the katikkiro, over their lands and other matters. In a petition to the governor in 1913 the Movement complained that:

"Sir Apollo is doing us very bad indeed because he does not hear us when we take our cases in the Lukiiko and he talks in a big voice  so as to make us stop so that his friends win the cases. He  does not listen to us but only tries cases as he wants for those he wants to win them. We tell you sir because we fear very much that Apollo will make our Kabaka a bad man also."

In May 1922 two bataka factions were identifiable. One was the original faction representing the clan leaders and bakopi led by Mugema,  and the second was formed by Apolo Kaggwa the katikkiro himself, called 'The Association of the Bataka, which protects the Agreement of 1900 regarding the land of the Bataka'. This was later changed , but it was a counterpoise to the Mugema Bataka Movement. Apolo Kaggwa's faction defended the new rights and privileges acquired by himself and those controlling the lukiiko. Later Mugema was joined by James Miti, himself formerly a chief in Bunyoro but now in retirement, who also took up the Bataka cause. These two submitted a joint complaint to the Kabaka, appealing to him:

"1. To start the redistribution of Butaka estates to the original proprietors in accordance with our native customs;

2. To preserve and see that each one gets his original Butaka estate and the British Government ratifies and preserves the same;

3.To recognize all clan institutions that existing the country and their relative duties to our Kabaka and for each clan to have a representative who airs his interests in the central legislature as we used to do i n the olden days"

It can be seen from the above that the peasants and clan leaders were fighting lost battles. Like the peasants of the Attic countryside in 6th Century Greece who demanded the 'redistribution of the land' in Solon's agrarian reforms, their demand was doomed! Thomson in his treatment of the prehistoric Aegean has correctly observed:

"The demand of the Attic peasants was not, as usually interpreted, a revolutionary one - a subversive challenge to the sacred rights of private property. It was counter revolutionary - a protest against the appropriation of the land, which was violating the sanctity of the old communal rights. It was an appeal to the past, not to the future."

In Uganda too, colonialism implied the negation of the very rights the peasants demanded to be restored. Imperialism could not restore the proprietorship of Butaka estates 'in accordance with our native customs', nor could it 'preserve the same'; indeed it could not resurrect the gentile constitution of the 'olden days'. All that imperialism could do was to tailor its interests according to the existing traditional structures and among these interests was alliance with a section of the victorious ingleza chiefs. The peasants at this stage found an ally in the Kabaka. He had been divested of his traditional feudal powers, which were increasingly concentrated in the colonial state, now more directly enforced by the chiefs. He saw a chance to try and cut the chiefs' property rights, hoping by so doing to strengthen  the peasants against them, and through the mythical traditional overlordship be thus able to reintroduce his power. This too was doomed, for he also sought to reintroduce the past. Having consolidated their power through the chiefs, the British colonialists, who had interest in the future, saw  value in siding, atleast for the moment, with the chiefs.

Thus though young Kabaka Daudi Chwa ruled that the lukiiko should allocate land to any mutaka who could prove that he had lost his estate, which he would then use in exchange for the Butaka estates already held by the landowners, this clearly was inescapable to the new landed interests. Apollo Kaggwa argued on behalf of his landed faction that the butaka lands as well as the whole country  'were always in the absolute power of the Kabaka', and the  lukiiko unanimously rejected the Kabaka's ruling, deciding instead that whenever butaka land was offered for sale by its owners, the bataka would be given first option to purchase.

The bataka reiterated by demanding a new lukiiko, since the existing one was wholly composed of the new  landowners. This also was an impossible demand, as  Apter has remarked:

"The issue was important enough for the protectorate government to get involved. The Bataka Association brought their charges to the Governor. They were not successful. The alliance between Sir Apolo Kaggwa and the Protectorate government was weakened but still held. Agreeing only partially with Sir Apolo's interpretation of the Agreement, and fearful that if the question of allocation were raised the whole matter of land would grow to monstous proportions, the government indicated that the Lukiiko had done its work."

But this agitation was seized by the governor as an opportunity to appoint a commission of inquiry into the matter, composed of the chief justice and the provincial commissioner. This was necessary to give legal cover to their emerging new policy on the peasant labor question. The commission recommended the outright abolition of envujjo on the ground that it was 'extraction [which] is departure in principle from the ancient envujjo which was paid to the overlord to meet his personal needs and not as a means of enrichment'. On rent, it recommended that there should be laid down a maximum rent per acre on an economic basis, varying according to the local value of the land liable to amendment from time to time and subject to colonial government approval. The committee also held that eviction of the peasant at the will of the landlord  was a violation of custom, which recognized the the right of the tenant and his descendants to undisturbed possession of family holding as long as they fulfilled their obligation to the overlord. Eviction should be only for public purpose by the order of court or 'other sufficient cause'. These measures were intended to reduce the income of landlords and to provide the peasants security of tenure as 'free peasants'. The report stated:

"The abolition of Nvujjo and the strict limitation of rents and other obligations now proposed will reduce the income of the landlord class by at least 50% with a corresponding relief and benefit to the rest of the population."

In the event, these measures were 'too radical' to be accepted in full but 'too radical' on the basis of arguments by imperialism based on 'native custom'! A compromise was worked out into the Busulu and Envujjo Law of 1927. Although this law implied a partial victory for the peasant, it contained financial capital's solution to hit at the chiefs and reduce their power and wealth so that both could be of effective service to it. Envujjo survived but was severely restricted. From about one-quarter of the total product previously paid in kind, it was to be restricted to 4Shs per annum for each acre or part thereof of coffee or cotton plantation fixed. Busulu or tribute was also restricted to 10Shs per each holding (of which 8.50Shs was to go to the land owner and 1.50Shs to the government), as opposed to 30-40 pounds of cotton in kind, which was  formerly levied on all residents regardless of extent or quality of holdings or money value of their crops.

These amounts, now a form of money rent, at first were quite substantial but with time lost value. The landowner was prohibited from evicting a peasant for any reason other than non-payment of the statutory dues.  This meant that henceforth the peasant in Buganda had security of an interminable, heritable tenancy, subject only to payment of quit-rent and tithe.

Thus the financial oligarchy denied the local landlords the monopoly benefits in the form of groundrent that would have accrued to them with the development of commodity production in the colony. The financial oligarchy in effect retained this monopoly over ground rent, which they were to claim in periods of high prices as 'price reserves' These were capitalized in the form of export taxes, which increased with the development in commodity production, as Table 1 shows.

Although these peasant holdings were not exactly demarcated, it was clearly understood that they should be of such size and extent as to be sufficient for the peasants' subsistence and reproduction and  'for the standard family cotton-field, normally with some reserve of waste'. As some of the land experts of the colonial regime has correctly pointed out:

"The intention of the law was to create and preserve a class of smallholders, the official ideal at the time, and this purpose was very largely successful . . .It also supplied the security of tenure necessary to encourage the smallholder to plant coffee which is a highly priced, slow maturing and long surviving crop. In turn, coffee growing has helped perpetuate the kibanja as the basic proprietary land unit in rural life and agricultural production."

Commodity Exports and  Imports and State Revenue 1911-61( BP means British Pounds)

             Exports            Imports            State Revenue            Cotton Exports     Coffee Exports
            (Million BP)      (Million BP)       (taxes in Million BP)   as % of exports    as % of exports

1911       0.3                   0.5                   0.2                              55                       1

1921      1.5                  N/A                   0.8                              85                       6

1931      1.9                  1.3                    1.4                              84                       8

1951    47.4                22.1                   15.8                              62                      29

1961    46.0                24.5                   22.3                              43                      36                        


This fulfilled the colonial monopoly policy that was to characterize Uganda's agriculture in Buganda, Bunyoro, Toro and Busoga. Moreover the law embraced bibanja on official mailo estates,  and private mailo regarded as Butaka under customary law. With this new policy the chief landowner was increasingly turned into a colonial official of the Kabaka's government, now His Majesty's Government of Great Britain and Ireland. Outside Buganda, in Busoga, apart from only 85square miles which were given as official estates, the bwensegenze was abolished in 1926, tribute was reduced from 4Shs to twelve days' labor, poll tax rebates were forbidden and the chiefs were paid a a fixed salary and pension. In 1936, all tributes were abolished and henceforth all chiefs became salaried officials. In Bunyoro, where the former ruling oligarchy had set up their own tribute system, a commission of enquiry brought it to a halt. In a report published in that year, it was recommended that the 7Shs busuulu should be converted into a native authority tax, from which salaries would be paid to chiefs with recognized posts. Compensation was paid to those who lost tribute, and the report concluded:
'If as an outcome there is evolved a nation of small farmers, we shall be content."

In Ankole and Toro, a system based on customary law assured the same conditions of a small peasant holding fitted to colonial agriculture, and there too the chiefs became salaried. In areas in the Eastern Province other than Busoga, and in northern Uganda, all lands were regarded as Crown lands(with the exception of Kakungulu's estate in Mbale), but customary law assured the peasant the same security as a smallholder engaged in cash crop and subsistence agriculture, so that by 1940 a colonial administrator was satisfied to comment , 'The peasant has quickly consolidated his position as an individual occupier.' Wrigley concludes:

"So during the inter-war period there took shape a new pattern of agrarian society. At the bottom was an undifferentiated massof free peasant cultivators, the defacto proprietors of smallholdings which yielded them both food and a modest money income. Above them there was an administrative hierarchy of salaried chiefs, who, apart from the residual busuulu and envujjo in Buganda, no longer derived any direct profits from the land of its  products. They were still expected to stimulate and in some degree supervise the cultivation of cotton, but this was now simply part of their function as government officials, and no longer a function of land ownership of feudal dominion."

But what was the modest income of the peasant under these circumstances? Wrigley estimates that in in the period 1928-9, 'a session of high yields and good prices', the cotton plant yielded 7British Pounds to every taxpayer and 6British Pounds in in Buganda and other parts of Eastern Province. Consequently, government revenue in 1929 amounted to 1,682,990 British Pounds, being 40% of export earnings. Wrigley himself concludes:

"The cultivator of Eastern Province was mulched of 24 Shs in direct tax alone, and his counterpart in Buganda paid 15Shs to Central Government , and unless they chose to do a month's unpaid labor on the roads, a further 10Shs to the native authority. It is clear that the sum which could be spent on imported goods by the average peasant was not large.

This peasant-based agricultural production enabled this part of the economy to withstand the onslaught of the Depression in years 1929-39, as we have noted. Production of cotton rose from 203,000 bales in 1929 with some decline in the middle, to 424,000 bales in 1938. This was in sharp contrast to the area under non-peasant cultivation, which declined from 20,000 acres in 1929 to 13,000 in 1938. Ehrlich concludes, 'These figures illustrate the comparative resilience of a peasant economy to the onslaught of depression.'

Thus there can be no doubt that the strategy of peasant smallholder, as opposed to capitalist plantation farmer of African semi-feudal landowner chief, was paying off to monopoly policy. Under small peasant production, Uganda became a leading cotton producer in the colonial dominion countries  and a significant coffee producer and exporter, thus adding greatly to the imperial economy of Great Britain. To the British colonialist  this was a record to be proud of, the establishment of a peasant based economy was evidence of its good intentions for the welfare of the colonial peoples.

By this same process, however, the colonial economy introduced new class contradictions in the countryside, brought about by the dominant mode of production through finance capital. Now the precapitalist relations on land began to give way to new ones based on capitalist commodity production in agriculture, as money became the main medium of exchange based on this commodity production. The old self-sufficient peasant through the mechanisms of tax and force now had to produce for the market. As a result, a new differential in class content emerged.

Wrigley pointed out this development in an important paper of February 1953. He correctly observed that at the end of WW2, emphasis in agriculture was shifted to encouragement of the big farmer, who would utilize tractors and fertilizers, as against the poor peasant. He attributed the change to the emergence of a 'sellers' market' in primary products in the inter-war years, during which there was a reversal of the previous situation; quality of products had become the major consideration instead of cost., It was a period in which the low-cost producer had lost 'his special advantage', resulting in a general revulsion against the 'ignorant man with the hoe.

"visible in the experiments with mechanization, in the encouragement of co-operatives and in the respect with which agricultural officers speak of the relatively large scale African farmers who now exist, in contrast to the growers of what they call back-yard coffee."

Although he regarded his estimations as 'tentative first impressions' based on a study particularly of Buddu county, he nevertheless observed a change in differentiation and in the 'size of exploitations'. On the one hand he pointed out there was a considerable number  of people., most but not all landowners,who cultivated an area very greatly in excess of the average, who had ceased to be peasants in the ordinary sense of the word' and had become substantial farmer employers; on the other hand there was a large number of people with 'small sub-standard holdings'. The structure of landholding had also changed, with a large proportion of the big estate having been broken up into fragments varying from 5 to 70 acres, the largest number being around the 20 acre mark.

The picture that emerged from all this was a great class differentiation in the countryside. First, there were the very large coffee growers who operated on a scale equal to that of 'non-native planters'. This was the capitalist farmer. Wrigley observed that although in the particular area under study there was only one such farmer, he estimated there could be quite a few in the whole of  Buganda. This class had some 165 acres under coffee, employes 50-60 men and sold about 200 tons of coffee which was about 5% of the entire production. They drove American cars and also operated 'a well-stocked shop'. They had installed pulping machinery and were the moving spirit behind the co-operative union, which had 'applied for the first coffee-curing licence to be offered to Africans.' The atmosphere around their homes was 'rather like what one imagines at the house of a great chief in the old days'. They constituted about 2% of the population.

Second, there was the rich peasantry whom Wrigley called the 'substantial farmers', who had 15-80 acres, sold 5 to 40 tons of coffee, employed 5-20 laborers. Few of them wielded the hoe themselves 'to any extent'. These were 18% of the  population.

Third was a section of cultivators which which we should for our purposes call 'middle peasant', and include together with another category, which Wrigley separates and calls 'middling peasant'. This group together sold about 100 pounds to 5 tons of coffee. They employed one or two porters 'fairly regularly' and one or two 'occasionally', but 'nearly always [did] at least some manual work himself' or did a semi-skilled such as carpentry or barkcloth in addition. They had a tiled roof, pictures on the wall, a table cloth on the table, and ate meat and sugar 'regularly'. Their wives were well-dressed and their children went to a primary school.

Fourth, below these was a mass of cultivators' and 'a class of people who were definitely poor'. These in our view were the poor peasants. They had small holdings on poor soil yielding an income of no more than 5British Pounds a year. They were not destitute, they had nearly enough to eat, 'but lived in hovels with sketchy clothing.' The majority were immigrants but with a sizable Baganda element. They constituted 60% of the population. Fifth, there was the 'numerous class of landless laborers - mostly migrant - who make the large exploitations possible'. These, the rural proletariat, constituted roughly 20% of the population.

The colonial state had calculated correctly. A new rich peasantry and capitalist farmer were emerging and with them other 'middle classes' who as the anti-colonial struggle sharpened, were to become the new force for 'indirect rule' under colonialism. We will say more on this later.


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