Roots for future in an African 'cultural kingdom'
Anna Baral (Århus University)
In September 2009, Ugandan president Museveni's ban to some cultural activities organised by the Baganda ethnic group caused violent protests in Kampala. Ganda traditional institutions, abolished by Obote in the Sixties, were restored in 1993 but banned from politics and restricted to "cultural" functions. Since then, a cultural revival has enlivened Buganda, with Ganda roots glorified as source of cohesion against the state and other ethnic groups. The clans are fully restored as an administrative systems; labour, money and soldiers are assembled to guarantee Baganda's well-being and unity around their king. Can we consider "Ganda roots" as mere cultural attachment, when mob riots break out in their name? Are roots "traditional", when kingdom's structures at any level have been revisited to fit in the post-colony environment? Are Baganda being tribalist, or just responding to an uncomfortable national setting? The paper will try to disentangle the ambiguous relation between roots and future in an African kingdom.