In my comments section when I was thinking about investing in Uganda, Tumwi said that the tribal hullabaloo in Uganda is exaggerated. I beg to differ. Because she admitted that she never got this memo . Nor this one.
Tribes and Tribal Kingdoms
I won’t pretend to know much about tribes or tribal relations in Uganda. I will admit feeling some bit of envy over the fact that Ugandans in general seem to have kept much of their cultural traditions long after colonialism. But unlike Kenya, Uganda was a protectorate as opposed to a full-fledged colony, so maybe that’s why. By cultural traditions, I mean tribal kingdoms that are fully recognized by everyone else, though largely ceremonial. Like a Kabaka (King of Buganda), Kyabazinga (King of Busoga) etc. It’s all beautiful.
But cracks start to appear when one kingdom starts to seek autonomy from the bigger one, and the Central government is accused of having a hand in it. In my opinion, the central government should steer clear of tribal affairs, and tribal representatives should remain that way. No King, elder or whatever designation, should be allowed to participate in central government appointments. Go be a king, be catered to and be happy. Central government should also steer clear of tribal kingdoms. That’s my opinion. But what do I know?
I know that the need for autonomy is the reason we have Ethiopia and Eritrea. I also know that tribal violence does not start on Election Day, or the day after. Or the day people decide to clear ‘cockroaches’, weeds, madoadoa, or Bafuruki out of the face of the country. If history is anything to go by, stereotypes exist and are embedded in society with time. Like the Baganda believing that they are more civilized because they interacted with white people first (driver telling me), or are more economically advanced (guide at Mengo's Kabaka palace telling me). Or the Banyankole are more blessed because they have godly names as opposed to Baganda, who give clan names (friend telling me), and are more hardworking that the Baganda (someone else telling me). At some point, they are linked to how these tribes are doing economically. Politicians then prey on peoples' misperceptions of others and before you know it, ethnic cleansing is well on its way. Especially around election time, at lease in Kenya.
The presidential election in Uganda is in 2011. You’ve been warned. By a Mufuruki.
On a lighter note, I’m looking to pair up with a fellow Mufuruki who is willing to be to be coronated the Ssebafuruki. Any takers?
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