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Journal for Development and Leadership

Volume 4, Number 2


Emerging debates on Buganda’s interaction with the colonial state: Was it beneficial?
Balunywa, M., Kyagulanyi, R., and Sekiwu, D.

This article explores the colonial state in Uganda, the origin and tradition of the pre-Buganda Kingdom and its political structures. It examines how Buganda Kingdom was centrally governed before it was transformed into a state by the colonial masters. It had been ruled by a king who ruled supremely over the clans, appointing chiefs in the administrative hierarchy. In postcolonial Buganda, the powers of the king were dramatically reduced. It has been argued, however, that the British administration strengthened and consolidated Buganda’s position politically and that the complex political structure of the past was incorporated into an agreement signed in 1900. Counter-arguments, however, condemned the colonial hierarchy as being destructive and dismissive of the former structures which had been based on the clan system and the preservation of the kingship structures. This article examines the opposing views, concluding that the colonial structures were focused on the subjugation of the kingship structures and the exploitation of the country.

Keywords: Colonial state; Buganda; political structure; kingship; clan system.