Chiefs and the "Land Question" in Busoga District, Uganda, 1895-1936
Introduction: The control of land in precolonial Busoga was so central a factor that it had ramifications for almost all other aspects of that society. That is, an individual who was authorized to distribute land was not only granting a means of production, but he was conferring prestige and authority on the recipients. As the Basoga chiefs had previously been in control of the land, they were anxious that this land system be preserved when the British established a protectorate over Busoga in 1895. This paper focuses on the efforts of Basoga chiefs to retain their control over land and shows how, as a result, they had failed by 1936, thereby becoming salaried officials functionally divorced from land ownership and the production process. Their dependence on salaries was partly responsible for the economic problems into which the Basoga chiefs plunged after leaving the colonial civil service.