This second, single- issue volume, No.43 of 1996, features six important papers, five from the social sciences and the humanities side, and one from the biological science.
Dr Joseph Onyango Okla introduces, through a rigorous discussion of merits and demerits, the new Constitution of Uganda which was promulgated in October 1995. DR Onyango writes well, and with full command of his subject. Should some readers find grounds to disagree with him, it will be quite fine for us, as it will set in place the intellectual scrutiny and debate that we consider to be important on this matter.
By some coincidence, Prof.Apollo Nsibambi, then, take up an important aspect which the Constituent Assembly, which crafted that constitution, failed to resolve decisively, leaving it for the new Parliament that was to follow up after the promulgation of the constitution. This is the very controversial issue of land ownership and management. Controversial though it is, the issue of land is one about which many ordinary Ugandans remain fuzzy- headed. Nsibambi’s paper should, therefore, not only help to clear away some of the fuzziness that surrounds this matter, but also help generate some debate that parliament might find useful when it gets around to tackling the land issue.
In his contribution, Mr. John Ntambirweki tackles yet another spatial problem of Uganda, about which we have been even more ignorant than about the land question. In abroad sweep, he posits before us and examines critically Uganda’s position visa-vis the Nile ant the waters in its basin. It will, without any doubt, be an eye- opener to Ugandans, as they enter 21st Century, about their legitimate claims and rights in relation to this important river and its related resources. We have space for only half of it this time. But we hope to use the remaining other half next time.
Dr. David Schoenbrun’s contribution is a development of a lecture given to the Uganda Society in the course of the year. But it is only the most recent tailpiece in a sustained research endeavor that has been diverse in its scope. I leave it to readers to judge for themselves its contribution towards an understanding of the current imbroglio in our Great Lakes Region.
Professor Akiiki B. Mujaju’s piece was an articulate re-visitation of a topic from which Ugandans can hardly run away, as one of the books reviewed here demonstrates. While not subscribing necessarily to all of the points he makes, we considered that it was worthwhile being placed before a broader community
Last, but not least, we have, among regular articles, Dr Orach- Meza’s very knowledgeable and educative piece on the water hyacinth, that superficially beautiful but environmentally deadly weed that now covers so much of Lake Victoria and other waters of Uganda. We have as yet not quite got a viable and acceptable clue as to how to solve the environmental problems it poses. Dr. Orach Meza’s contribution is commendable for being the only one in this issue from the natural and biological science, as well as for presenting clearly and succinctly to readers and policy makers, in particular, a range of possible solutions to the problem of the weed.
The section on Notes is very much taken up by mater relating to Special Education. The general public does not, again, know enough about the very worthwhile endeavors taking place on this frontier. But even the world outside might usefully be informed through these notes of the developments taking place, especially since assistance and cooperation from outside is expected. The section also contains a short but eye – opening note and plea on the necessity for Uganda to conserve some of its architectural heritage. This again, is a matter which has so far not been sufficiently highlighted in our public thinking; the Note should, therefore, help set Ugandans thinking.
The book reviews cover a wide, but interesting diversity of publications ranging from the reminiscences of the erstwhile rulers of Uganda, the British administrative officers of the Protectorate years, through President Yoweri Museveni’s recent autobiography, to a Uganda- based novel by an upcoming Ugandan writer.
Then, we have Thomas P. Ofcansky’s Uganda Bibliography, 1985/87, dedicated to the late Professor Brian Langlands, and done along the lines that the late Professor has pioneered and perfected in the pages of this journal. We have had a problem finding somebody to step into Professor Langland’s shoes. But Mr Ofcansky now promises to keep this important feature of the journal alive in all forthcoming issues, something for which our appreciation and thanks are boundless.
A.G.G. Gingyera- Pincycwa,
December 23, 1996