The new Editorial Board of The Uganda Journal is proud to present this last issue containing articles that tackle an interesting array of subjects. Our sincere thanks go to the previous Board headed by Nanny Carder who, with the assistance of Laura Tindimubona, ably steered the Journal to continue providing its international readers with well analyzed and well researched articles on issues of contemporary interest, both in humanities and in the science fields. There is no doubt that, through their hard work and dedication, these two people kept the journal alive and well focused on the objectives, that is to “publish information which could add to the knowledge of Uganda and to record for posterity that which in the course of time might be lost.” It is our intension to ensure that this tradition continues and to maintain the excellent quality of the journal.
The present issue opens with three topical subjects connected with the history of Buganda. Christopher Byaruhanga looks at Bishop Alfred Tucker, one of the icons of Uganda’s HISTORICAL ENCOUNER WITH Europe, and analyses Tucker’s contribution to the political events that shaped Uganda’s political history as it emerged as a young nation. Byaruhanga’s exposition of Tucker’s role in securing Uganda, as a protectorate of the British Empire is as illuminating as it is interesting. The reader will inevitably have to decide whether tucker was most likely a colonial agent or a democrat. The discussion of tucker’s pioneering role in the creation of Native Anglican Church in Uganda, despite its patronizing name, as well as his insistence that the European missionaries and the indigenous people have equal say in the running of that church, certainly point to a rare man of the time.
With our minds tuned into the affairs of Buganda’s history, we smoothly move into Holly Hanson’s study of Capt. Frederick LUGARD’S role in the resolution of violent conflict in Buganda in the 1890s. Her close scrutiny of the elements at play in this matter opens our eyes to yet more revelations about the role of a colonial figure in the events that shaped the history of Uganda. Holly Hanson challenges conventional conclusions by historians about the real forces behind the compromise that saw an end to the war between religious factions in Buganda at the time. She recasts, the role played by Lugard from that of the decisive factor behind the peace finally reached and suggests, with credible evidence, that he was, instead, a puppet used by Baganda chiefs who had a lot to gain from peace and a lot to lose from continued conflict.
Equally engaging is Mukiibi- Katende’s rich analysis of the merits and demerits of land tenure systems in pre- colonial and post- colonial Buganda. This is an important contribution because the question of land tenure continues to play a crucial role not only in present day Uganda but in many parts of Africa, making land a social, economic, political as well as development issue. With the vast majority of African people still earning their living directly from the land, prospects for sustainable development in Africa inge on equitable and progressive systems of land tenure. Mukiibi- Katende’s exposition, therefore, is a useful addition to the ongoing discussion about which land tenure system will best guarantee peace and justice while at the same time enabling the occupiers of the land to use for sustainable development.
Just as land tenure issues continue to call for social and economic justice as factors of development, Joy Kwesiga’s piece on the women’s movement in Uganda reminds us that issues of gender are equally explosive. Carefully tracing the growth of women groups in Uganda and their development into what can be considered a women’s movement, she identifies the hiccups and successes of the Uganda women’s struggle to organize themselves and acquire a united voice in order to fight for their rights.
Interestingly, the last entry in the journal’s Notes, the education of Merabu Nyinenzangi, seems to echo Kwesiga’s exposition of the hard road travelled by the Ugandan in the quest for self- advancement in a changing environment. Nyinenzangi’s personal narrative of her cultural and school education, with its graphic details of perseverance in the face of numerous obstacles, seems to set the background and tone for Kwesiga talks about in her essay. An entire generation apart, these two women are really talking about the same thing: one from a personal perspective, the other from a general glance.
The article on water stress tolerance in selected sweet potato varieties in Uganda by Charles K. Twesigye and G. Mutumba highlights the economic and social importance of sweet potatoe in the developing world in general and Uganda in particular. In their introduction, the authors clearly point out the importance of sweet potatoes in times of famine when other crps fail as was the case in the famine of 1928- 1929, when the conditions of food shortage were reported in this article is the significant variation in water stress tolerance found among the sweet potato varieties in Uganda. This is an indication that there is great potential in using these varieties in breeding programmes aimed at increasing water stress tolerance in sweet potatoes.
A multidisplinary approach for the management of the Lake Victoria Basin Wetlands( LVBW) is proposed by Charles K. Twesigye in his article which focuses on possible ways to explore and improve, in close collaboration with adjacent local communities, the contribution of wetlands in maintaining food security and supporting rural livelihoods in the Lake Victoria region. A Key element examined is the lack of interaction between local knowledge and government policies, which threatens to undermine sustainable use of the LVBW resources. The paper emphasizes the urgent need for innovative approach that brings together researchers from a range of disciplines in a multi- disciplinary research approach for a wider and holistic understanding of the various processes affecting wetland use and management. A triangulation of quantitative, qualitative and participatory methodologies is suggested in order to harness and document diverse local knowledge, practices and management strategies by local communities regarding wetland resources.
Wilson Byarugaba’s article on “Genes, sex and life” is essentially a conceptual framework of what the genes- sex- life scenario could be. It uses simple illustrations to convey important massages on the role of genes and sex in life.
The article on the genetic legacy of Uganda’s recent turbulent history by Vicent B. Muwanika and Wilson Byarugaba is a review of the application of molecular biotechnology approaches to unearth some aspects of Uganda’s recent political history. The author provides information that suggests that until 1972 Uganda’s national parks boasted large numbers of a variety of mammal aspects. However, following the breakdown of law and order between 1972 and 1985, large scale poaching led to a catastrophic decline in numbers of most large mammals. The genetic effects of these reductions were investigated in four mammalian species, the common warthog, Savannah elephant, buffalo and hippotamus in the major parks of Uganda. The results indicate substantial erosion of genetic diversity in the elephant and warthog while no such decrease was found for the buffalo and hippopotamus.. However, analysis of population structure showed that all 4 mammals were genetically subdivided probably as a result of random loss of genotypes that accompanied the drastic reduction in population size.
The contribution by Muyodi et al. on the water hyacinth is based on preliminary results of a study that was conducted in order to determine the influence of water hyacinth on the presence of pathogenic bacteria in the near shore waters of Lake Victoria in Mwanza. According to the results presented in this article, the water hyacinth root swab was observed to have the highest density of coliforms and contained more pathogenic bacterial species than the other samples tested. The article on some medicinal plants in Mukono district by Oryem- origa et al. presents results from a study undertaken in several areas of Mukono involving a number of individuals including medicine men, women and groups of people. The study aimed at obtaining information about the uses of wild plants. The authors report that the use of wild plants as source of remedies for various ailments is wide spread among the local communities in Mukono district. However, it is noted that a lot is still left to be done to have a fair knowledge about plant resources within the tropical and sub- tropical Africa.
Esezah Kyomugisha Kakudidi’s article describes how crafts making combines traditional skills and local materials to produce a range of articles for storage and processing of agricultural produce and for home use. Plants used vary from fast growing herbs, climbers to slow growing trees. The article also indicates that in recent years there has been an increasing interest in the contribution of forest as a source of local rural employment, income and general livelihood. This interest has been reinforced by the arguments that local forest use in terms of non- timber products is less destructive ecologically than other intensive forms of forest use. The fact that forests provide a wide range of products among which are materials for crafts is emphasized.
It is our hope that this selection of articles will provide interesting and informative reading for those interested in Uganda. We have presented aspects of history, social history and social interest issues, cementing these with scientific explanations of what are happening in the physical environment that supports the human activities discussed. We hope you will enjoy the issue. Happy New Year!
Christopher Byaruhanga, Hon. Editor
Hope Kivengere, Associate Editor
Charles K. Twesigye, Managingg Editor