A history of migrancy, nativism, and citizenship in Uganda, 1894-1995: a case of South and Western Uganda
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This historical study examines the relationship between migrations, identity formations and citizenship in Uganda, 1894-1995. A qualitative study, the research had three objectives namely, to explain why there was large-scale population movements between southwestern region and Bunyoro and Buganda regions, to explore the interactions between the migrants and native populations; and to examine the implications of migrations and interactions on citizenship consciousness. Using historical research methods which included analysis of documents, oral narratives and archival sources, the study established that, whereas migration had taken place in the region of pre-Uganda, colonial rule encouraged unprecedented internal migration in Uganda. The new socio-economic order brought about by the colonial state opened the way for free movement in the protectorate across ethnic boundaries. There were two main reasons for this accelerated migration: migrant labour and search for land. The migration of Banyankole and Bakiga from southwestern region of Uganda to Buganda in the 1930s, 1940s into 1960s was largely in response to the former while the migration of the Bakiga into Bunyoro and Toro regions during the 1950s and 1960s was in response to latter. The study also established that, there were complex interactions between the migrating communities and receiving communities. One major complexity lay in the attitude of nativism, expressed in subtle ways. Nativism gave rise to two kinds of citizenship consciousness: The Local Citizenship bestowed by membership to an ancestral community inhabiting a particular region and National Citizenship bestowed by the statutes of the Ugandan state. The findings of this study complement earlier studies by Mamdani and Richards, who studied colonialism and its impact on Ugandan communities along and within settlers and natives frameworks. In particular, anthropologist Richards, in studies in Buganda, found non-Baganda being assimilated into “Baganda” but also that migrant labourers from southwestern Uganda remained highly mobile due to the attitudes built during the interactions at workplaces. This study confirms Richards’ prediction of “tribal conflicts” expressed through attitudes of nativism.