The 'scramble for Africa' resulted in random and unlikely borders that remain today. These artificial borders, the colonial policy of divide and rule, and the resultant segmental cleavages in most post-colonial African states, may be blamed for the horizontal inequalities (unequal development of and inequitable social and political relations among salient identity groups) rampant since the formation of nations. It is also often blamed for the severe violent conflicts the continent has suffered in the past half a century. In Uganda, as in many other African countries, the most evident of such cleavages have been tribal or ethnic. One of the main features of politics and power in post-independence Uganda is that they institutionally enforce tension between ethnicities. Recently there have been calls for constitutional reform that would devolve power to the tribal regions and revive the idea of federalism. This book highlights the dynamics of ethnic politics and relevance of the debate on ethnic federalism in Uganda. Its thesis is based on the voices of samples of ordinary people in ten tribal areas of Uganda and their attitude towards federalism. Is their loyalty growing towards the centre or fading out towards traditional and cultural units? But while this book’s main thesis is the focus on grassroots perceptions of the relevance (or not) of ethnic political autonomy in Uganda, it is also partly a narration of the author's experiences growing up in an independent but turbulent Uganda.
REVIEWS “In this book Dr Ssali attempts to answer critical questions about democracy and authoritarianism by examining the case of Uganda, combined with his life story as an eyewitness account of modern Ugandan history. Readers will welcome this creative combination of sound scholarship and motivational, existential narrative.” Yoichi Mine, Professor, Graduate School of Global Studies, Doshisha University, Japan
“This book deals with one of the most persistent issues in postcolonial Africa—the politicization of ethnicity. The comparative approach is refreshingly innovative, as Ssali creatively combines autobiography and social analysis, with a style of writing that is free from excessive abstractions so common in much of academic writing today. This is an original contribution to the academic and policy debates on the role of ethnicity in African politics. And it is very timely!” Seifudein Adem, Professor, Graduate School of Global Studies, Doshisha University, Japan.
“This book is a political, social, and economic reflection on a nation that has missed its position for
greatness ... The book is arguably the best scholarly work that gives Uganda hope on how we can rise and meet the challenge of nation-building.” Ambassador Wasswa Birigwa, former envoy to Japan, and national chairman, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Vick Lukwago Ssali Vick Lukwago Ssali has a Ph.D. in Global Studies from Doshisha University, Japan. Vick, who currently teaches English and The Cultures of British Commonwealth Countries at Aichi Gakuin University in Japan, is the founding president of the Japan Society for Afrasian Studies (JSAS).