A history of border-relations between the people of Ugnda and Kenya: the case of the Abasamia of the two countries 1902-1980.
This study discusses the nature of border-relations between the Abasamia of Uganda the ones of Kenya from an historical point of view. It is established that prior to the 1902 creation of the Uganda-Kenya border, the Abasamia of the two countries lived in a single ethnic territory known as Samia and they had developed progressive economic, political and social institutions. The arrival of British colonialism, led to the establishment of colonial borders that had no respect for African organizations and African ethnic groups. Through the introduction of the Uganda-Kenya border, some ethnic groups such as the Abasamia were split into two, while several others were compelled to belong to countries which had multi-ethnic compositions that did not share a common culture and or a common past. The study contends that the mere possession of borders is not a sufficient reason to qualify a country to be called a nation: There is need to identify the people who belong to it. Our submission is that the manner, in which colonial boundaries were established, was socially disruptive, intended to promote the policy of ‘divide and rule’ and did not, therefore, contribute to nation-building in Africa. It is further contended that despite colonial and post-colonial efforts to keep them divided, the Abasamia of Uganda and the ones of Kenya continued to undermine the border restrictions imposed on them. It is argued that the conduct of their cross-border ties since the creation of Uganda-Kenya border, points to the fact that they continued to identify with their common past. The study concludes by summarizing the findings as well as proposing workable solutions to t he plight of borderland ethnic groups between Uganda and Kenya, particularly, the plight of the Abasamia.