British Protectorate, Nationalist Pressure
Milton Obote, independent Uganda, urban professionals, Ankole, legislative council
National demands for independence began with the formation of the Uganda National Congress (UNC) in 1952 by nationalists Ignatius Musazi and Abu Mayanja. Ganda Catholic chiefs and educated urban professionals formed the Democratic Party (DP) in 1954. In 1960 Milton Obote formed the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) by joining northern branches of the UNC and representatives, mainly from western Uganda, who had been elected to the legislative council in 1958. The DP and the UPC became the major national parties, each gaining influence by winning the support of local notable figures with rural ethnic followings in their home areas. Both parties opposed the Protestant Buganda establishment—the DP, because most of its members were Catholic, and the UPC (regarded as predominantly Protestant), because its members feared Buganda’s dominance after independence.
Buganda, for its part, felt increasingly threatened by the prospect of losing its special rights in an independent Uganda. In independence negotiations with Britain in 1961 and 1962, the Buganda administration secured further guarantees of its position. Notably, the Protestant-dominated Buganda local council was given the right to indirectly elect Buganda’s representatives to the national parliament, virtually eliminating any chance of the Catholic DP winning any seats in Buganda. Bunyoro, Ankole, and Toro received only ceremonial privileges, but that was still more than the districts that lay outside the four major kingdoms received. Most of these kingdoms and districts had an ethnic identity, so their competition to gain the privileges that Buganda carried into independence guaranteed that ethnicity would be central to postindependence disputes in Uganda.
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