Aspects Of British Colonialism In Uganda And Kenya History Essay

1728 words (7 pages) Essay in History

5/12/16 History Reference this

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Uganda and Kenya as British protectorates were founded in 1894. Colonization of Africa employed a number of methods. The main ones were the use of the gun the Bible or religion. Buganda was colonized by the gun, Bible and koran. The Bible and koran teachings became effective ways of establishing a fanatical following which eventually played a crucial role in the political landscape of buganda. By 1867 islam was established in buganda and Mutesa I was already observing the ramadhan and learning to read the koran. Mutesa I pages at his courts fully converted though Mutesa I never converted fully to islam. The Christian Missionary Society (CMS) arrived in buganda in June 1877. After two years the roman catholic white fathers arrived in buganda. The arrival of these two groups not only ignited a rivalry between them but confused the buganda (EnterUganda).

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Just as Uganda, Kenya had its share of missionary activity which sprang up from the coastal part of the region. Missionaries first landed at the coastal town which had been previously explored and dominated by the arab traders who came in with the koran. However the factional fights that were characteristic of the buganda were not with Kenya mainly because of the ethnic set up diversity that existed in Kenya. Later on the establishment of colonial boundaries would greatly affect these more than 40 different communities who were now brought together into one territory.

In the case of the buganda and on a broader scale there was rivalry between the French who were catholic inclined and the English who were protestant inclined. In this rivalry was also a scramble for products and cheap raw materials source. On the other hand the earliest foreign expeditions in Kenya were mainly missionary expeditions and were mainly to open up the inland for the sake of the gospel. The scramble for raw materials would however come later as a secondary factor.

The coming of the missionaries caused religion to spread rapidly throughout the entire east African region. For Kenya the spread advanced from the coastal region into the interior, whereas for Uganda the kabaka hosted the missionaries whose activities fanned out from the palace into the entire region.

The Imperial British East Africa chose to move in and establish British sphere influence. Sending FJ Jackson who spearheaded this mission. Jackson sought to sign a treaty with Mwanga who was enjoying catholic backing after Karl Peters a German favoured by the catholics arrived in buganda. The Germany influence and interest over buganda was curtailed by the signing of the Heligoland treaty of July 1890. In this treaty buganda was officially recognized as a British sphere of influence in return for Heligoland island in the north sea to the Germans (EnterUganda)

In Kenya it all began at the 1884 to 1885 Berlin Conference which was the basis on which was set the rules of colonial occupation. Combining with the 1886 Anglo-German Agreement and other inter- European territorial arrangements, the Berlin conference was instrumental in not only erecting artificial boundaries around Kenya but also in removing diplomatic initiative from Kenyan people. This was just a precursor of the demarcation of the Kenyan territory that would follow in the year 1894. Imperial British East Africa now had a firm grip on the two east African states Kenya and Uganda. However in order to further protect their interests in Uganda the Imperial British East Africa later send Captain Fredrick Lugard to counter the threat posed by Emin Kasha in Sudan who was planning to annex buganda and bunyoro to Turkey. Charles Stoke a missionary turned arms dealer who was also plotting to arm Kabalega needed to be dealt with because kabalega being unfriendly to the British would be a risk if he was armed.. Captain Lugard successfully forestalled their plans. However the coming of Captain Lugard was viewed by Mwanga and the catholic backed regime as a triumph for the protestant. Lugard signed a treaty with Mwanga and fought alongside him to defeat the muslim invasion. Captain Lugard also entered an agreement with Ntare V to stop arms from reaching Kabalega.

Inter religious hostilities flared once again and this time Captain Lugard armed the protestant faction. Mwanga fled to Budda but a kingdom without a kabaka was weakened so Lugard reinstated Mwanga in 1892 after signing a treaty.

Buganda land according to the agreement was divided among the religious factions with a total of 20 in number, 12 for the protestant, 8 for the catholic and 2 for the muslim. The catholic were less privileged politically. Mwanga again attempted an escape and a revolt. He chose to unite with the ankole, busoga and lango and kabalega but their resistance was subdued by the British. Both men were captured and exiled to the Seychelles (EnterUganda).

This paved way for the 1900 buganda agreement signed by the missionaries on behalf of Mwanga’s infant son. This agreement covered administrative structure, finance and recognition of the kabaka and his government on condition that their loyalty was to the British governor. The native courts were brought under the protectorate courts and kabaka was forbidden from maintaining an army. Buganda therefore lost her independence through this treaty. Kenya’s boundaries were demarcated without the consultation of Kenya’s people. It can be conceded that the colonial boundaries led to the establishment of a large territorial entity (Waweru)

The fact that the administrative and ethnic boundaries were coterminous nurtured negative ethnicity as different communities competed for colonial resources. Inter-ethnic competition would characterize the post-1945 nationalist struggles and post-colonial politics. British colonial economic policy in Kenya included the following the isolation of land for European settlers ,African taxation African migrant/forced labour and the development of a settler dominated and peasant agricultural commodity production, export production, rail and road transport, education and health (Waweru)

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Similarly Sir Harry Johnston was sent by Britain to Uganda to implement a plan for the new colony that included an overhaul of the monetary system and land tenure. The introduction of hut tax caused the kingdom to forfeit all traditional forms of exchange and work on the land, produce crop and share in taxes with the government. The new monetary system in place ensured that Ugandans would be able to use cash to buy imported goods.

Control was always established through signing of agreements that subordinated the kingdom areas of the buganda kingdom to British imperialism (EnterUganda). For Kenya the fact that the ethnic and administrative boundaries were coterminous gave rise to negative ethnicity because the different communities began to compete for colonial resources. This inter-ethnic competition would eventually lead to the post-1945 nationalist struggles and post-colonial politics. Some of the examples of these struggles included attempts by so-called minority Luyia, Kalenjin and coastal communities to establish quasi-federalism as a counterpoise to Kikuyu-Luo domination in independent Kenya.

In Kenya British indirect rule often led to recruitment of British collaborative agents and porters into leadership positions. Chiefs’ councils, native tribunals and local native councils were often used but were actually a mockery of democracy. These councils were often chaired by colonial district officers and acted as legal and administrative avenues that were to keep Africans in their subordinate positions.

The Europeans dominated these executive and legislative councils and unilaterally formulated policies and made budgets in Nairobi the Kenyan capital city with the approval of London. Africans were mostly excluded from these councils, which were chaired by the Governor until and after the Second World War.

In Kenya and Uganda the earliest schools were built by missionaries. Both colonial and post colonial education was not geared to impart productive skills and this affected the middle class. Whereas formal education was not in place until 1925 in Uganda prior to which schools were conspicuously factional with catholics and Protestants having their own schools Kenya was altogether different, settler schools were established and schooling was based on race with the best schools absorbing the European and the average ones for the African. In Uganda muslims had lost out in terms of sponsorship on schooling because of Turkey’s defeat in the world war and so they ended up taking less formal jobs compared to their counterparts in the protestant and catholic caliber. In Kenya colonial education fostered the emergence of semi skilled elites. They served the colonial state and economy.Some of them like Johana Owalo, Harry Thuku, Jomo Kenyatta, Dedan Kimathi, Oginga Odinga and Tom Mboya made attempts at establishing organized nationalism. This nationalism was based on primordial ethnicity and colonial administration. It was only after the establishment of the Kenya African Union that the nationalists attempted territory-wide mobilization of Kenyans. The colonial state carefully chose the leaders of the independent regime as it laid the grounds for neo-colonialism.

In Uganda political parties were born which were based on this factional approach with ideologies based on religious differences. Uganda and Kenya had similarities in the local government system which was based on tribal entities each being treated independently but under a common British governor. The separation of these districts here was meant to hinder national consciousness and the emergence of national political parties.

Colonial resistance took many forms in both Kenya and Uganda. In Uganda the nyangive- abaganda rebellion was one of the earliest of these by the bunyoro and ankole directed against the baganda chiefs who the colonialists deployed after the fall of kabalega. Later other resistance movements like the nyabingi cult which was trying to overturn the colonial administrative legacy was also started. Other resistance movements such as native civil servants association and the bataka movement were formed agitating for better conditions of service and regaining of land control respectively.

It was mostly the semi educated elites who came up with organizations to fight suppression, exploitation and discrimination by the colonialist. Other organizations agitated for markets for their food products whereas some agitated against Indian domination in the trade sector. For Kenya agitation of the 1950s was based on the land tenure, the mau mau uprising became the most formidable resistance against the british mounted by the Agikuyu community. Colonial military expeditions led to genocide and forced migrations of people among the Agikuyu, Abagusii, the Nandi, Ababukusu, Giriama and all the others who met colonial force with force.

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