Assessment for Baganda in Uganda
|Publisher||Minorities at Risk Project|
|Publication Date||31 December 2003|
|Cite as||Minorities at Risk Project, Assessment for Baganda in Uganda, 31 December 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f3adfc.html [accessed 5 October 2015]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
While the Baganda have a long history of seeking greater autonomy, there is little evidence of this escalating into rebellion. The most important factor inhibiting rebellion is that the government has made some attempts at negotiation and reform, through constitutional channels. Should these attempts not materialize into concrete steps, the situation may change. Currently, the situation of the Baganda in Uganda is stable: they are not targeted for abuse by the government or rebel groups. They are unlikely to force the issue of autonomy, but it will remain one of their key concerns and may prove contentious in the future.
The Baganda are the largest single ethnic group in Uganda, comprising about 17% of the total population of the country. They reside in the southwest region of the country, known as Buganda, which borders Lake Victoria (GROUPCON = 3).
Under British colonial rule, the Baganda enjoyed a considerable degree of autonomy. Enjoying protectorate status under the British, the Baganda took advantage of the opportunities provided by European commerce and education. They even helped the British expand their colonial rule over other ethnic groups by acting as tax collectors and labor organizers. At independence in 1962, the Baganda had the highest standard of living and literacy rate in the country.
Since independence, the Baganda have consistently demanded a higher degree of autonomy and protection of their traditional customs. Buganda supported Museveni during his bush war against Obote and also favored his candidacy of President Museveni in the 1996 presidential elections. The Baganda have not faced political or economic discrimination in recent years (POLDIS03 = 0; ECDIS03 = 0).
In 1993, the position of the king, or kabaka, was restored. The Baganda, under the leadership of Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi, have asked for a federal system of governance for Baganda, a demand that has met with some opposition from other parts of the country.
Thus far, the agitation has been channeled into institutional mechanisms, and the leaders of the Baganda have asked the people to maintain a conciliatory approach to the situation. A Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) was established in 2001 to seek the views of citizens on adjustments to the constitution. In 2003, the Baganda submitted a list of demands, which included: a federal system of government for Buganda; the recognition of Kampala City as part of Buganda; the granting of privileges of immunity to the traditional leaders; and the return of the 9,000 square miles of land to the Kingdom. Of these, the demand for federal government is the most significant. It remains to be seen how the government of Uganda will respond to these demands.
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