Political History

The geographical entity known as Uganda today did not exist as one administrative block until the beginning of the twentieth century. The area was, until then, occupied by several autonomous kingdoms, chiefdoms, and egalitarian states typical of the pre- colonial order in Africa. It was in the year 1900 when the British colonisers made an "agreement" (the Buganda Agreement) with Buganda (the dominant kingdom), which made Buganda a British "protectorate". With the help of Buganda, the neighbouring states were also annexed to the new British protectorate by means ranging from military conquest to diplomatic matrimony. It was in such an arrangement that the current boundaries of Uganda were drawn resulting into a colonial creation that inherited its name from the pre- colonial state of Buganda, some of whose structures exist even today.

For the next 6o years, this area was governed by the British as a colony until the year 1962 when the country was given self- rule and eventually recognised as an independent country. In spite of this independence status, many of the British colonial structures remained intact and as a result the official language, the education system, the military structures, the economic set- up, and the administrative structures remained British and colonial both in nature and outlook.

Because of some tribal and ethnical questions that the colonialists had had no interest in putting right during their days, and their successors never bothered to put right either, the independent Uganda found herself engulfed in endless internal struggles less than a decade after attaining independence. With in the next 20 years, the country witnessed two military coups, and a large-scale civil war that claimed many lives of innocent non-combatants and robbed the country of many years of development. This turmoil also tore the fabrics of the Ugandan society with so strong a force that it had to take so many years to heal.

It is during the last twenty years that the country has started to experience a new age of reform, though some dissidents in the northern parts of the country started to wage a war against the Kampala administration as soon as the reforms were embarked on. Recently however, the war has attracted regional and international attention, and countries such as Sudan and Congo have joined efforts to fight the rebels on the side of Uganda. This is, therefore, the right time for NGOs to come in and play a supportive role to help the government in its endeavour to heal the ills of the country. Its against this background that ACHEF chose to come out and make a contribution.